Forestry Academy Park in early summer
This park surrounds one of the higher education institutions and dates back to the beginning of the 19th century and is located in one of the northern districts of my city. In the nineteenth century this area was not an urban area, it was a suburb. There were villages, dairy farms and summer houses surrounded by forests and fields. It was exactly the kind of terrain that was required for the Forest Institute.
Formerly the Forest Institute was located at Tsarskoe Selo and developed under the patronage of the Emperor. The site at Tsarskoye Selo was close to the imperial residence, but at a distance from the forest lands. It was not the most convenient location for training future forest engineers, and in the early 19th century the Institute moved from the southern suburbs to the northern suburbs.
The buildings of the old dairy farm were used for the move. Some of the old farm buildings were replaced with new classrooms, while other buildings continued to be used as classrooms or outbuildings, gradually being rebuilt and adapted to meet new needs. Houses were also built for teaching staff, living quarters and canteens for students. A park was formed around the buildings.
The park was conceived as a training ground for forestry specialists, and a large number of tree species were planted. A part of the area was taken up by a botanical garden with greenhouses and exotic plants. This botanical garden has so far served as a training ground for students, but the area is closed to the general public and there are no guided tours. The park is, however, open to the public and is a pleasant place for walks.
During the following years the development of the Institute continued, curricula were changed, new faculties were established, new buildings were built for new specialties. As a result, the territory of the Forestry Academy is a very complexly organized space. Apart from the main buildings, whose dates of construction are known, as well as the names of their architects, you can see small houses whose history is lost somewhere in the past.
I started my walk in the western part of the park. This part of the territory is now part of the common space of the Forestry Academy, but until the end of the 19th century it was a private property next to the Institute. The buildings were built at the end of the 19th century to house an orphanage and a hospital. Prior to that it was a dilapidated wooden dacha. The main and service buildings, a cellar and a barn were built.
But further plans were not realized. The buildings remained empty for a few years and then were given to the Forest Institute. The buildings were rebuilt and used for new purposes. For example, the glacier was converted into a boiler house - a bit ironic, but very practical. The neighbouring building has been rebuilt several times, but again stands waiting to be converted. Only one facade of this building still retains its historic appearance; on the opposite side you'd see a concrete wall with rectangular windows.
In the central part of the park there are still a few old wooden houses. They don't look like architectural monuments, but my imagination is captured by their history. They were built for teachers and students in the early 19th century, and then rebuilt several times. Perhaps these houses (or some details of these houses) remember not only the 19th but also the 18th century? Perhaps they were rebuilt from the structures of an old dairy farm?
All of these houses are still old wooden cottages, although you can see that some of the walls have been reinforced with brick and concrete. Some of the houses serve administrative purposes, but the rest appear to be used as flats. There are flowerbeds with a variety of flowers next to the houses, and a ginger cat strolls leisurely along the path.
|Smartphone||Google Pixel 3a|
|Location||Saint Petersburg, Russia|