Izmaylovo

Alexander Zelikov / TASS
This is the former family nest of the Romanov boyar family, built in the 16th century, during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. In the days of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich, the estate was surrounded by water from the dammed river Serebryanka, and became popularly known as Izmaylovsky Island. The central building was the Monarchic court, and next to it stood the Temple of Protection of the Mother of God at Izmaylovo and the Church of Tsarevich Ioasaph, which was demolished in 1936.

Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich hunted in the local woods, and his wife Natalya Naryshkina had organized one of Russia's first home theatres here. Their son, future Emperor Peter the Great, after discovering his grandfather's English small boat in a barn, used it to establish the Russian fleet.

The estate's glass factory made dishware, while Izmaylovo greenhouses were used to grow foreign flowers and fruit. After the capital was moved to Petersburg, the palace stood in half-desolation until the early 19th century, and in 1812 it suffered further damage from Napoleon's army. After the island was reconstructed, its greater part was given over to Izmaylovo Nikolayevskaya military asylum designed by architects Mikhail Bykovsky and Konstantin Ton.

After the revolution of 1917, the island's grandeur had faded: the church was taken apart, the temple was plundered, and the splendid imperial estate was replaced with a workers' settlement. If you visit Izmaylovsky Island today, you can see the Temple of Protection, which was given back to the church and refurnished, a bridge tower, which houses a museum, and the 17th century fortress walls, the front and back gates of the Monarchic court, asylum buildings from the 19th century, and cast-iron arch and a fountain from the era of Tsar Nicholas I. The island hosts public and church celebrations, and during the organized tours of the state visitors can learn about pre-revolutionary life.