Palace of Science
The land presently occupied by the Palace of Science was inhabited long
ago. There are a number of architectural monuments here that are the
contemporaries and witnesses of remote past. Different centuries live
here together. Like sun is reflected in a drop of water, the important
events of Russia's history are mirrored in this piece of Moscow:
change of economic models, change of people's way of life.
In XVI century and later the today's territory of the Palace of
Science was situated in Bolshaya Konyushennaya Sloboda At the edge of
XVII and XIX centuries Prechistenka Street with its alleys was an
embodiment of feudal Moscow where the nobility ruled resting on its
economical power and political authority.
In late XVIII early XIX the estate that was on the site of the present
Palace of Science belonged to Moscow's Military Governor Ivan
Petrovitch Arkharov. In 1818 the house was bought by a senator Ivan
Alexandrovitch Naryshkin. Later the house was owned by duke Gagarina,
and then by dukes the Trubetskoy.
The history of the Palace of Science is also connected with
Decembrists. Here in the house of Musin-Pushkin Mikhail Mikhailovich
Naryshkin was visited by Nikolay Vasilyevitch Gogol who worked at that
time on the second volume of Dead Souls and was interested in the
activity of Decembrists wishing to describe the exile of Tentetnikov to
Siberia and removal of Ulenka to him.
In 1865 the estate passed from @prince Trubetskoy to the Konshins. The
Konshins bought the estate of Trubetskoy in 1865 and reconstructed it.
The manufactory and usurious transactions made Ivan Nikolayevitch a
very rich man. He had no children and before his death in 1898 he left
all his fortune of more than 10 million rubles to his 65-year-old wife.
A logical question arises why Alexandra Ivanovna Konshina being in
declining years (she was 77) decided to reconstruct this luxurious
building. The house reconstructed with great luxury. Especially
remarkable was the winter garden -- the today's dining-hall. The
interior the marble was brought from Italy, and the bronze decoration
and marble sculpturesfrom Paris. A huge piece of glass was ordered in
Italy. It was transported to Russia in a specially equipped carriage.
The Palace of Science was opened in Prechistenka Street in 1922,
Prechistenka and the neighboring streets (Pirogovskaya Street,
Volkhonka Street) accommodated a lot of the scientific institutes,high
schools, Academy of Arts, Moscow University's departments of the
humanities, the Russian State Library, and numerous museums.
The Palace of Science has been active 75 years already. It was started
by the leading Moscow scientists S.A. Chaplygin, E.A. Chudakov, M.V.
Kirpichev, I.I. Badin, V.N. Obraztsov, N.D. Zelinsky, B.D. Grekov, I.I.
Mints, V.A. Engelgardt, B.A. Rybakov, and others. The first Chairman of
the Palace of Science was the RSFSR People's Commissar of Public
Health Nikolay Alexandrovitch Semashko, a public figure and scientist.
Also he was a leader of a medical society of the Palace.
The industrial and technical society was organized in 1933 on the
initiative of the Academician S.A. Chaplygin, Professor N.S. Dyurbaum,
and other scientists. It took the key position in the scientific
activity of the Palace of Science. Later these groups became
independent societies within the Palace of Science.
The agricultural society was established soon after the Palaces of
Sciences was opened. A.N. Lebedyantsev, the honored scientist, was its
first leader. The Society comprised the following groups: economy and
organization of agriculture, mechanization of agriculture, animal
breeding, crop production, agricultural chemistry, and soil science.
After the October Revolution the territory of the Palace remained the
same but the luxury of interior decoration and furniture gradually
deteriorated. The building fell into decay, and in 1990 it was decided
to close the Palace of Science for major repair. Under social and
economic conditions of that time it meant that the Palace would be
closed forever. But in 1991, due to some staff transfer, and
performance of a huge amount of renovation and restoration work, the
Palace got a new life and today it appears to look just like it looked
in the past century.