Russia's Main Botanical Garden
Muscovites look forward to the beginning of the new season at the largest botanical garden in Europe. This museum of living nature, which occupies over 300 hectares, will open up for visitors for the 65th time by the end of April.
The main botanical garden of the Russian Academy of Sciences is situated in an ancient forest. Some of the old trees in the forest can be seen even today. This territory was referred to in a chronicle from 1584 as a place where Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, the farther of Peter the Great, liked to hunt. The Shemetev dynasty took the possession of the estate in the 18th century. Some time later, an English park that preserved the natural landscape was laid out by an English gardener on the territory.
The botanical garden was founded on the territory only on the 14th of April 1945 to mark the 220th anniversary of the Academy of Sciences, says the deputy director of the main botanical garden, Zinovy Kuzmin:
"The decision to lay out the garden was taken on the 21st of January 1945 by the Council of People's Commissars," says Zinovy Kuzmin. "At that time, the Second World War was still raging on Soviet territory. Even so, people thought about how the country will live after the war and decided to create institutions and facilities where people could rest," Zinovy Kuzmin said.
At present the botanical garden has a rich collection of plants. It contains flora specimens from all the continents and climatic zones of the world. There are about 16 thousand species and varieties of plants, including unusual bushes, trees and flowers.
When walking in the garden, one can imagine that he or she is thousands of kilometers away from Moscow. For example, the Japanese Garden is truly a remarkable place! It is especially beautiful in the spring when Sakura breaks into blossom. This part of the botanical garden has even waterfalls and odd-shaped stones, as well as characteristic Japanese-style summer houses. The fans of Russian nature have great opportunities. A large part of the botanical garden is occupied by a real forest containing oak, maple as well as lime trees as well as guelder-rose and honeysuckle bushes.
Visitors pay special attention to rare plants which are listed in the Red Book of Russia. Among these are silver fir that grows only on 22 hectares of land in Kamchatka, European yew that has beautiful texture and Maximovich birch, a rare tree found only on the Kuril Islands.