Tverdysh Island, in the northern part of which the Monrepos Park Reserve Museum is located, was previously known as Castle Island (Slottsholmen in Swedish, Linnansaari in Finnish). When Vyborg was a part of the Kingdom of Sweden, the land of the island belonged to the treasury and was managed by the governor of Vyborg Castle. In the middle of the 16th century, an agricultural homestead called Lill Ladugård was established here; in Swedish, it means “a small farmyard”. In the past, the site of today's park was used for pasture and had wells.
Shortly after the end of the Great Northern War and the inclusion of Vyborg in the Russian Empire, the construction of Russian fortifications Sankt-Annen-Crown began in the former center of Lill Ladugård. Lill Ladugård was among the lands granted to the builder of the fortifications, engineer A. de Coulomb, who was the chief commandant of Vyborg fr om 1732. The owner received income fr om the abandoned state land in the form of rent paid by the magistrate for the use of the area for grazing and vegetable gardens.
Peter Alexeyevich Stupishin, the chief commander of Vyborg who received the land in 1760, was the first to turn Lill Ladugård into a residential estate. Near the hamlet of Old Vyborg, Stupishin had a house built and a park laid out, the latter receiving the name Sharlottental in honor of his wife.
After Stupishin's death, Lill Ladugård was transferred to a new owner. That was a brother-in-law of Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich, Friedrich Wilhelm Carl Duke of Württemberg, who was appointed to the position of Governor General of Vyborg by Catherine II. The Duke of Württemberg called his country residence in Lill Ladugård Monrepos, from French mon repos, my leisure place. He built a new house there and extended the park towards the coast. The Duke of Württemberg's park was planned as a landscape park with winding paths, with places wh ere one can climb to the scenic viewponts on the tops of the coastal cliffs.
In late 1786, after a conflict with Catherine II, the Duke of Württemberg had to leave Russia. Two years later, Monrepos was purchased by the secretary of the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna (sister of the Duke of Württemberg), Baron Ludwig Heinrich von Nicolai, a German poet and writer, one of the tutors of the Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich.
In the times of Nicolai, the residential house was reconstructed by the Italian painter Giuseppe Antonio Martinelli, and the library flanker was built to form an ensemble with the house. The landscape park was expanded to its present size; over two decades, lanes were laid out, the banks were reinforced and the embankments constructed, the pavilions were built and grottoes created, and the sculptures were located in the park. By the beginning of the nineteenth century the park had acquired the appearance which later made it one of the most famous private parks in Europe. Nicolai presented the concept of the park in his poem «Mon Repos estate in Finland.»
In 1801, Emperor Alexander I granted Monrepos to Ludwig Heinrich von Nicolai in perpetual and hereditary possession, and Nicolai passed the estate to his only son, Paul von Nicolai, a Russian diplomat. Paul used his father's unfulfilled projects, but implemented them according to his own taste, and Monrepos park was given some contemporary features. Almost all of the monuments that have survived in the park till the present day were created in the time of Paul von Nicolai: an obelisk in the memory of brothers de Broglie who perished in the Napoleonic wars, the pavilion at Narcissus Spring, a sculpture of Vainamoinen, the hero of the Finnish runes, a pseudo-Gothic entrance gate and Ludwigsburg Chapel, erected by Paul in memory of his father.
In 1834, Monrepos, pursuant to von Nicolai's petition, became an unsaleable reserved baronial estate of Nicolai, with primogeniture inheritance. The next two heirs of Monrepos did not change the park: they only replaced the Vainamoinen statue broken by vandals with a new one in 1873.
In October 1917, after the revolution in Russia, Finland became independent, and Nicolai's family remained in Monrepos. At that time, the territory of the estate was significantly reduced because the owners gave a lot of the land to the town of Vyborg for its growing settlements.
After the Second World War, the territory wh ere Vyborg is located became the part of the Soviet Union. In the early postwar period, the territory of the former Monrepos estate was used as a holiday resort for the military. In 1952, the main manor house and the Library Flanker were given the status of an architectural monument. A kindergarten was placed in the main house, while the flanker was converted into an apartment building. Monrepos was transformed into a recreation park (Central Park) named after Mikhail Kalinin. By the early 1960s, all the wooden park pavilions and sculptures, including monuments in the family cemetery, were lost. In 1960, the complex of manor buildings, the park and the adjacent forest received the status of a historical and cultural monument of republican importance. After the kindergarten was moved to another place, restoration works began.
The initiative group of Vyborg public activists, concerned about the state of the park, enlisted the support of Academician D.S. Likhachev and successfully insisted on obtaining the status of a museum-reserve for Monrepos. Monrepos Park State History, Architecture and Nature Reserve Museum was founded by Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR in 1988.
Источник фотографий: Russia.Travel