Cultural Tourism Development Center “City-Museum”

Natalia Nikitina

Director-General

Cultural Tourism Development Center “City-Museum”

Russia, 140400, Kolomna, Vodovoznyi per., 9

www.gorodmuz.ru

Park for One Day

A small town in the vicinities of Moscowhellip;hellip; friendly peoplehellip; an old, abandonded park area with shady ponds in the very center of the townhellip; Locality, where a person lives, is significant, "a map" of this territory is always kept in mind, and changes in this map cause changing the person''s mind. Such approach makes it important the concept of cultural landscape. It is shaped by the historic events which took place in the region, by the prominent people who lived there, by the pieces of art and culture which were created in the area and devoted to it.... Voskresensk, a town located 100 km away from Moscow, is comparatevely young and it does not have a rich historic past. Anyhow, in the very center of the town there is Krivyakino historic estate surrounded by a big park. The estate is connected with the name of Ivan Lazhechnikov, a well-known Russian writer. The main house of the estate has unusual architecture with special position of its portico columns, belvedere, wings and a chapel. A regular park where it is still possible to see some traces of eight alleys of lime trees going from the center and where the specialists found locations of some already lost park elements - a grotto, a green cabinet, arbours, and a terraced slope that descended to the Moskva river. Krivyakino is a monument of the XVIII-th century landscape architecture of national importance. But it is evident only for some specialists, historians and landscape architects. Meanwhile, the people can see nothing but a destroyed house and a big abandoned park in the center of their town. Unfortunately, it is not so rare in Russia when many historic heritage monuments keep waiting... The only difference of this situation is in the project approach which has been used to deal with the cultural heritage problems. It was no mere chance that the project arose. From the beginning it was a try to find out possible ways to work with this complex piece of cultural heritage. After six-months work there for the first time was discussed an idea of a large-scaled project - "New Life of Old Park. The Voskresensk Renaissance" . It was a three-year project and it included four parts - restoration of the main house and the wing, restoration of the chapel, restoration works in the park and development of concepts to attract tourists and organize leisure activities for the town citizens. The last thing was not the least, the concepts had to be unique, distinctly different from those existing in the neighbouring areas, and it meant with the young town of Voskresensk that the concept should appear out of thin air.

The idea of the entire project was approved by the municipality but it seemed to be too costly, too labour-intensive, and too long a story. At that moment the park looked as a "blank sheet of paper" - the old was destroyed and new had not been yet created. The municipal authorities decided "to put the park in order", to make it a standard amusement park, and to put the cultural heritage aside for the time being - it appeared to be quicker, easier and cheaper.
In order to change this situation and to prevent the park from becoming an ordinary place it was necessary to present a picture of its possible "unique future" in a very short time. It was the time for a la"warm upra" project - Park for One Day, a public action and a one-day festival.
The grant funds for the project came from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Culture of the Moscow region, the Tolerance Institute, the Potanin Charitable Foundation. It gave an opportunity to invite artists to collaborate in the project which made it fine and more attractive. Based on the historic and archive research findings, the image of the XVIII-th century regular park was recreated at the existing unique territory of the Krivyakino estate. Nikolay Polissky, a well-known artist, created art-objects imitating architectural elements of the XVIII-th century park (pavillions, arches, garden benches, swing, green arena, etc.). There was also erecetd a Palace, an architectural construction - 30 meters long and 9 meters high with swings along its perimeter. The organizers developed a special programme with traditional Russian plays and amusements and educational activities (photo exposition, historic tours) as well as they conducted a public opinion survey about the future of the park.

The project has created unique image and atmosphere of the XVIII-th century park. It did not take enormous funds, it did not last long but its emotinal influence almost equal to that of the original, was enough to change people''s minds and attitudes towards the town and its historic heritage. The main aim of the project was to arouse the interest of local community towards their historic heritage, to restore historic memory, and to establish a platform for interaction and joining of efforts of different stakeholders taking into account the interests of all groups of local community. That day more than six thousand people visited the park, more than 50 people joined the project as volunteers, there were introduced more than twenty different kinds of forgotten amusements, including dog racing, ferry-boating, picnics at the riverside and others. The event was covered by more than 40 different media, including the national ones which was very unusual for the town. The majority of local people and visitors supported the idea of the historic restoration of the estate and the park, and expressed their will to participate in the decision-making process concerning the park''s future. As a result of the project the local authorities refused their idea to turn historic teritory into an ordinary amusement place. Spontaneous restoration works which had been started without any developed project, were stopped and Federal Cultural Heritage Legislation Agency put the estate and the park under its supervision and initiated professional restoration works. The municipal cultural institutions continue to work with the estate. In the framework of the project all schoolchildren of the town and of the area have watched "Mistery of Old Estate", a film about writer Ivan Lazhechnikov, their famous fellow-townsman. The citizens participate in historic quizes and family contests. Their attitudes towards the historic territory have changed, it becomes interesting and important for them. The park and the estate have made their appearance at the cultural map of the town.
 

*Historic Information: the Krivyakino estate (former Krasnoie Seltso) - a XVIII-th century monument of national importance. It is the birthplace of Ivan Lazhechnikov and it is the place where he wrote his well-known novel "Ice House". The estate complex includes a brick two-storeyed main house with an attic storey (baroque, around 1770-s with later renovations). There remained only the central part of the house with its stylish baroque deacute;cor and some early Classicism features. The facade is decorated with a white-stone portico of Corinthian order which joins the first floor and the attic storey. The exterior deacute;cor is of the XIX-th century, inner planning was considerably changed in the 1950-s. Brick chapel (1830), a small simple building with a square sanctuary, looks like a dwelling house. The park layout is devided into two parts - a regular (second half of the XVIII-the c.) and English landscape park. The English park was created in the middle of the XIX-th century with the inclusion of the old cascade of ponds. Numerous architectural elements of the park (a grotto, pavillions, fountains) are lost.