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Russian Cities Attractions: Japanese Garden in Moscow
May 30, 2007 21:03

The exposition Japanese Garden, situated on the territory of the Main Botanical Garden of Academy of Sciences in Moscow, opened to visitors on 10 June 1987. The garden was created according to a project of the outstanding Japanese landscape architect Ken Nakajima with assistance from the architect Adachi Takeo who designed all the pavilions and bridges. The Japanese Garden in Moscow is often a place for exhibitions and tea ceremonies, and it is also a source of inspiration for some artists.

250 tons of stones of various sizes were brought to Moscow from Western Ukraine to form the garden’s landscape – they became the organic background linking all parts of the garden. Boulders of the Moscow Region were unsuitable as round shapes of madder-coloured granite stones were untypical for landscapes of Japan. According to a Japanese saying, “a garden starts with picking stones similar in character”, this is why the Moscow Japanese Garden obtained a traditional look only when all stones had been collocated in the proper order.

The first architectural construction of the garden was bamboo gates, according to the main rule enjoining to start creation of a garden with choosing a sacred place and constructing the entrance. When the relief formation and building of the pavilions had been finished, a 13-stepped stone pagoda brought from Japan was set in the garden; now the pagoda is the compositional centre of the project and is nearly 200 years old.

Creation of the Japanese Garden in Moscow turned into a huge scientific and social experiment. The Russians were doing something they had never done before, and the Japanese later confessed that it was the hardest project in their practice, and therefore, their favourite one. As a result, a wonderful landscape so untypical for Russia was created on a territory of 2.7 hectares. It is known that Japanese gardens are different from all other gardens by having a great number of symbolic elements. Cascades of small waterfalls, ponds with mini-islands, pavilions done in traditional Japanese architectural style, a stone pagoda, and stone lanterns help visitors to believe in existence of harmony between nature and human activity.

The exposition includes more than 100 species of plants many of which were brought from Hokkaido Island in Japan: amongst them – the sakura, David’s elm-tree, Japanese rhododendron, maple mono, and many other. As it was meant to be, all seasons make the garden charming in this or that way. In winter it looks deserted and whitened. In spring visitors can enjoy the view of sakura blossom, which, however, lasts 3-4 days, same as in Japan. Apricots and rhododendrons are also spring plants. Iris blossom symbolizes the beginning of summer, along with silver lavender and spiraea. Autumn is an incredibly beautiful time in the Japanese Garden: visitors can see red maple leaves and dark-purple leaves of rhododendrons.

The exposition is available from May till mid-October, 12am-6pm daily except Monday and Thursday, and 12am-20pm on Saturday and Sunday.


Natalya Lavrentyeva

Tags: Russian tourism Moscow attractions Moscow Moscow gardens  

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