Here’s an interesting topic: old country manors of nobles and merchants past. There happen to be a great many of them around Russia. For example, just in the Moscow Region, or Óblast, which surrounds the capital, there are several hundred of them. Studying and then publishing details of the histories of these places is a most curiously interesting pastime. And there are folks who devote much of their lives to such a pursuit: they check out the country piles themselves and run excursions for curious tourists. One such keen studier of mansions is Vadim Razumov, who, in 15 years studying them as a hobby, has visited a full several thousand (!) of them all around the country. For all about his findings, including some mind-blowing historical tales, check out his fascinating blog.
Last weekend, a group of friends and I were taken on a short ethnographical expedition led by him to one of the prerevolutionary Moscow Oblast mansions. It’s situated some 80km from Moscow in the direction of Minsk (i.e., westward), and it goes by the name of Usadba Lyubvino (Lyubvino country estate) ->
Alas, many of the prerevolutionary mansions of Russia long ago fell into states of disrepair, this one included, as you can see. Doesn’t make them or their stories any less interesting!…