The estate Bolshiye Vyazemy is near the old Smolensk road by which the troops of Napoleon moved to Moscow in 19 century. The estate has a very long history. A palace of the Golitsyns was built there in the second half of 18 century. It was near the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Saviour and a palace built by Boris Godunov at the end of 16 century.
In 1584 Tsar Fyodor I Ivanovich gave these lands to Boris Godunov who began active construction works there. He diked the Vyazemka river and created a beautiful park on the shore of the pond. A palace and the Church of the Holy Trinity were built at the park.
In the Time of Trouble False Dmitry I and Marina Mnishek lived in the palace at the Vyazemy estate of Boris Godunov. He arranged there the so-called «funny battles». The palace was severely damaged during the battles. After the expulsion of False Dmitry the palace was burnt. The Church of the Holy Trinity was rebuilt and consecrated as the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Saviour. It remained intact to our days, together with an architectural masterpiece - a three-tier bell tower. In our days the palace of Boris Godunov was restored and is now occupied by a museum.
In 1684 Peter I gave the estate to his mentor B. А. Golitsyn. But he rarely came to Vyazemy preferring to live at the Dubrovitsy estate (near Podolsk). At the end of 17 century at the estate a palace was built, which was twice visited by Peter I, in 1701 and 1705. It is likely that the palace was wooden and so it didn’t survive to our days. The descendants of Boris Golitsyn permanently lived at the Bolshiye Vyazemy. They built there a big beautiful palace in 1784.
A museum featuring the interiors of a nobility mansion of 19 century was opened in the palace. Of a special interest is the library of Golitsyn. It is there that Field Marshal Kutuzov stayed overnight, when the Russian army retreated to Moscow after the Battle of Borodino. And three day later French Emperor Napoleon slept on the same sofa.
There are several monuments at the Vyazemy park: the commemorative token in memory of the stay of the Russian and French armies at the estate, and the bust of Dmitry Vladimirovich Golitsyn, the hero of the war of 1812 and the owner of the Vyazemy from 1813 through 1844.
Also, in the lime alleys of the regular park one can see the bust of a great Russian poet Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin. The estate of his grandmother was several kilometers from the Bolshiye Vyazemy in the village Zakharovo. They often came there to the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Saviour. Near the church a younger brother of А. S. Pushkin, Nikolai, was also buried.
The Pushkins were frequent guests at the Bolshiye Vyazemy. And according to the contemporaries of the poet, many of its inhabitants became the prototypes of the characters of his future works. For example, Boris Golitsyn could be the prototype of Vladimir Lensky from his verse novel «Eugene Onegin». The hostess of the estate Natalia Petrovna Golitsyna was so fond of card games that she became the prototype of a countess from the short story «The Queen of Spades».
However, to do her justice, it must be noted that, being a maid of honour, Natalia Golitsyna spent most part of her life in St. Petersburg. She had a house on Malaya Morskaya street. And it is just that house that is more like the one described in the short story of Pushkin. It is there that the old woman lived from whom Herman wanted to know how to win in card games. Now the house is called the «House of the Queen of Spades», and the intersection of Malaya Morskaya and Gorokhovaya street was called the «Intersection of Spades».