This text is from a collection by the invaluable William Brumfield, (Wikipedia), Professor of Slavic Research at Tulane College, New Orleans, USA.
Brumfield is the world’s main historian of Russian structure. He makes frequent journeys to Russia, usually to her distant areas, and data essentially the most uncommon examples of surviving structure with detailed, skilled images.
His most up-to-date e-book is an actual treasure, Structure At The Finish Of The Earth, Photographing The Russian North (2015). (Amazon). This really stunning e-book was made attainable by the help of a US philanthropist, and its true value is 3 instances its retail value, and we won’t suggest it extremely sufficient. Right here is our 2015 assessment of it.
Bravo to RBTH for making Brumfield’s work attainable, and offering such a terrific platform for his stunning images. We suggest visiting the RBTH web page, which has a slide present for every article with many extra photos than we will slot in right here.
Do not consider in miracles? Properly, we will guarantee you, Brumfield’s work is undoubtedly simply that. You will discover a few of his different articles on RI right here.
The Russian nation property has lengthy been related to literary classics. There are few nineteenth century writers who didn’t have some intimate reference to that milieu, from Leo Tolstoy’s beloved Yasnaya Polyana to the Dostoevsky household’s modest Darovoye. Amongst these writers have to be included Alexander Griboyedov (1795-1829), a detailed acquaintance of Alexander Pushkin and creator of the satiric comedy “Woe from Wit,” one of many timeless classics of Russian literature.
Certainly, the nation property, usadba in Russian, has performed a significant function in Russian historical past and tradition usually. With the cataclysms of the twentieth century lots of the property homes, giant and small, vanished, whether or not by way of outright destruction, vandalism or neglect. And the losses have continued to the current. But there are examples the place perseverance and dedication, ability and luck have led to the resurrection of an deserted property.
Such is the case of the Griboyedov household property of Khmelita, positioned some 20 miles north of Vyazma in Smolensk Area.
Owned by the princely Buinosov-Rostovsky household throughout the sixteenth century, the property was acquired on the finish of the seventeenth century by Semyon Griboyedov, a navy commander within the 1680s. In 1747, Khmelita handed into the fingers of Fyodor Griboyedov — additionally a navy officer — who started a significant reconstruction of the property in 1753.
The grand mansion is a uncommon surviving instance of the baroque fashion prevalent throughout the reign of Empress Elizabeth I (1709-1761), with stuccoed brick facades painted in a pastel colour with white trim. The facades are marked with paired connected columns, curved pediments, round and oval home windows. The primary flooring of the inside consisted of enfilades of state rooms, with a two-story corridor within the middle.
The park façade opens onto a central terrace with a sleek curving staircase descending on both aspect to the landscaped park. Along with the mansion, the expansive ensemble contains 4 connected service wings in addition to a church devoted to the Kazan Icon of the Virgin (1759).
At the start of the nineteenth century, Khmelita was owned by Alexei Fyodorovich Griboyedov, whose sister Anastasia had married Sergei Griboyedov, a retired military officer of little means. Anastasia Griboyedova positioned nice retailer within the authority of her rich brother, who apparently served as a surrogate father for her son Alexander, born in January 1795.
Thus the younger Alexander Griboyedov was a frequent visitor at Khmelita, notably in the summertime. Via his uncle’s place in Moscow society, Griboyedov was properly positioned to look at the manners and mores of the Russian the Aristocracy. Griboyedov utilized this data to deft satiric impact in his verse play Woe from Wit, accomplished in 1824 however revealed solely briefly fragments throughout his lifetime due to censorship.
Griboyedov didn’t spend a lot time at Khmelita as an grownup, nevertheless. After navy service throughout the struggle towards Napoleon, Griboyedov moved to St. Petersburg in 1815 and in the summertime of 1817 entered the diplomatic corps. In 1818, he was provided a diplomatic posting to america. He as a substitute accepted a place with the mission to Persia, whose tense relations with Russia finally led to struggle.
At the start of 1823, Griboyedov took a depart from diplomatic service and moved to the Moscow space, the place he contined work on Woe from Wit. He returned to the diplomatic corps in 1825 and performed an essential function in diplomatic negotiations throughout the Russo-Persian Warfare (1826-1828), which concluded with the Turkmenchay Treaty.
In January 1829 Griboyedov returned to Persia as the top of the Russian mission, which was based mostly at Tabriz, however he made the deadly choice to accompanied a diplomatic group to Tehran, the place passions had been nonetheless infected by the phrases of the treaty. On Jan. 30, the Russian mission was stormed by an enraged mob. All however one of many 38 Russians perished. Griboyedov was killed throughout the preventing and apparently thrown from a window.
Griboyedov’s reminiscence lives on at Khmelita, nevertheless.
In the course of the latter a part of the nineteenth century, the grand Khmelita manor entered a interval of decline till 1894, when the property was bought by Rely Peter Geiden, a distinguished nobleman of liberal political opinions. He not solely rigorously restored the mansion and its furnishings but additionally added an intensive assortment of European work.
After the 1917 revolution, the property was nationalized and the contents of the mansion dispersed. Remarkably, the architectural ensemble survived not solely the turbulent years of revolutionary battle, but additionally the horrible battles within the Vyazma space throughout World Warfare II. For a lot of this time between Fall 1941 and Spring 1943, the mansion served as German workers headquarters.
After the struggle, a collection of careless missteps resulted in a significant fireplace and the property barely averted being utterly demolished. Luckily, the famous restoration specialist Petr Baranovsky (1892-1984) introduced an finish to the outright destruction of the property within the late Sixties.
Nevertheless, the lengthy means of restoration started solely with the involvement of Victor Kulakov, a former mechanic who by happenstance grew to become acquainted with Baranovsky and the Khmelita undertaking. Via ceaseless efforts throughout the Nineties, the resurrection of the mansion and property ensemble took its course beneath the route of Kulakov.
The mansion has now been beautifully restored and serves as a museum devoted to Alexander Griboyedov. The place attainable, authentic ornamental detailing has been preserved on the inside, and the rooms on the primary flooring have been elegantly refurnished within the fashion of the early nineteenth century. The mansion’s park façade as soon as once more opens onto an interesting panorama park. Reconstruction work continues on the ensemble’s service buildings and the Church of the Kazan Icon of the Virgin.
One of many close by service buildings has been transformed to a museum dedicated to Admiral Pavel Nakhimov (1802-55), identified above all for his heroic efforts within the protection of Sevastapol throughout the Crimean Warfare. Nakhimov was born on the neighboring property of Gorodok, which, like most nation estates, didn’t survive the turbulence of the twentieth century.
Superbly located and accessible over good roads, Khmelita welcomes all guests within the wealthy cultural historical past of the Russian nation property.