The picturesque Dubrovitsy estate is not far from Podolsk, 20 kilometers to the south from Moscow. At the place where the Pakhra river joins the Desna river you can stroll at a picturesque park, as well as see the most beautiful Znamenskaya church built in the style of Catholic baroque and decorated with sculptures and stone carving.
A boyar Ivan Morozov was the owner of these lands in the first half of 17 century. But in 1656 he took the vows and bequeathed the estate to his daughter Xenia who was married to Prince Ivan Golitsyn. Since that time the Golitsyn had owned Dubrovitsy for over a hundred years.
It was in the time of the Golitsyn that there was built a palace and laid down a large lime park there. In 1690 Boris Golitsyn, who was then the tutor of the young Tsar Peter I, decided to build there an Orthodox church of the Sign of the Holy Virgin but in the baroque style, which was uncharacteristic of Russia. An Italian architect was invited to build it.
Tsar Peter had often been to the Golitsyn’s estate and observed the construction of the church. In 1697 the church was finished but Patriarch Adrian refused to consecrate the church with a tsar’s crown instead of a dome. Only after his death in 1704 the church was consecrated in the presence of Peter the Great and was given the name of the Church of the Sign of the Holy Virgin.
In 1781 Prince Sergei Golitsyn run into debt for a large sum of money and was forced to sell Dubrovitsy to Grigory Potemkin, the favorite of Empress Catherine II. But in 1788 Catherine II bought it out from him and gave it to her new favorite Matvey Mamonov. But the following year he asked Catherine II to permit him to marry her maid of honor, Princess Daria Scherbatova. Catherine II forgave him this «betrayal», but the newlyweds had to leave Petersburg on the following day after the marriage. And so they went to Dubrovitsy. The Mamonov owned the estate to the revolution of 1917 when it was nationalized.