Tsaritsyno Palace is not just any ordinary palace. It is a palace that is transformed into a museum, making it one of the most prominent palace museum in all of Russia. It was founded when Catherine the Great, Russia's greatest leader, saw the surrounding land of the palace. She bought the estate and turned it into a place that she could use for her family. Now, the Palace is a museum, housing artefacts and decorations from Catherine s time and is also a place for one to lounge around.
The Traveller's Guide to Russian Leisure: The Tsaritsyno Palace Complex
The Tsaritsyno Park
While the major attraction of the complex is the palace itself, that does not mean the park is not beautiful. When on its own, the park is in a different league than the other parks in Russia. There are many patches of flowers to behold and you can even have some foods over there. However, the place is not a designated tourist spot, so expect to see the menu all in Russian. It can be a bit crowded at times if you visit the place in summer, however. In the winter, the place can get pretty barren, so you can feel that you own the park for yourself. There is nothing to see in the winter, though.
The Musical Fountain
You heard it right, folks. The palace complex got its own musical fountain. While the other seasons might not see the musical fountain live to its fullest potential, the summer is where the fun begins. If you want to see the best of this fountain, visit the place in Summer.
The Tsaritsyno lake
There are people who enjoy rowing a boat over a tranquil lake, and if you are one of those people, you would be happy to know that there is a lake in the area where you can do just that. Be mindful that you can only do so in the summer when the water of the lake is not frozen. In the winter, the lake is pretty much frozen to the bone, meaning no row boats for you. If you are one to do some ice skating or skiing, you can do those in the winter-coated lake, though. All in all, a great place to visit both in the summer or in the winter. You can even see swans in the summer if you are lucky.
The complex's picnic spots
If you are one for the picnics, then you can rejoice because the Tsaritsyno is also a good place for a picnic. The air is clear around the area, so you must not be afraid of taking in dangerous chemicals when you are lounging with your picnic basket. This, obviously, is only applicable if summer is around. If it is winter, there is no way you can go on a picnic. Unless you like your picnic freezing, go on a picnic when it is in another season than winter.
The opera house
Tsaritsyno also got its own opera house, in which you can see operas and orchestral performance in it. If you want to enjoy what Russia has to offer in terms of the orchestral show, then you can visit this place. Fun fact: the opera house was not built to be an opera house back then. Before it was an opera house, it was built with the intention of being a medium-sized palace. Because palaces are out of touch in this modern era, it was turned into an opera house.
The palace museum itself
If you are somewhere close to those five attractions mentioned above, why not give the museum palace itself a brief visit? In here, you can learn a lot about Catherine the Great and about her children and grandchildren as well. There are many relics belonging to Catherine and there are also relics added by the Soviet Union government. The palace used to be in ruins thanks to a halt in production after Catherine died, but the government has taken an incentive to finish the palace and turns it into a museum for everybody to enjoy. The palace is quite huge, but many people have said that there is too little decoration for a palace that big, so some sections can get pretty bare at times. Still, the palace's own architecture is worth a seeing. It would never beat the Kremlin or the Red Square, but it is a place that you should visit when you are in Moscow.
How to Get Tickets?
The park itself is free, but the museum is not. The price is low for a museum of such quality, sitting only at 400 rubles per visitor.
How To Get Around?
There is no other alternative but to go on foot. To enjoy what this complex has to offer, you need to walk around and absorb everything slowly. The place is also quiet, meaning that bringing a vehicle would only ruin the peace.
What Should I Wear?
Clothes that fit the season they are in. If you visit it in the summer, you can safely wear clothes that are a bit more 'open' to prevent heatstroke. If the winter is your preferred season to visit, wear clothes that are more protective because Russian winter is very cold. Just do not go on a streak if you want to be seen as a normal person, okay?
Best Time to Visit
There is one bad spot on the museum, and it is the fact that the museum can open and can close at different times each day. It all depends on the sections needing maintenance, and because of it the museum does not have a consistent opening schedule. The park and the fountain open at night, however, and those are the times when you should be visiting the place. Their beauty is significantly raised during that time of the day.
Will I Need a Guide?
How To Get There?
If you want to make life easier for you, you can just book a Moscow tour and the tour guide will take you from the meeting point into the Tsaritsyno on foot. If you do not want to book a tour, you can take the green line and stop at Tsaritsyno or Orekhovo. From those two stations, it is a ten-minute walk.
The museum is a nice place to visit, but you need to be mindful that it was once a ruin before it was rebuilt a decade ago. For this reason, the museum might lose its old charm, replaced by a more modern construction.