The estate of S.N. Khudekov
Ryazan region, Korablinsky district, Yerlino village, ul. Administrativny Center, 5
Phones: +7 (49143) 9-32-10
Web site: https://museum-khudekov.rzn.muzkult.ru
Plants from all over the world – all in the 19th century manorA unique arboretum was created by the outstanding cultural figure Sergei Khudekov in his estate in Ryazan province at the end of the 19th century. The achievements of Sergei Khudekov in horticulture were recognized by the Imperial Prize and the Gold Medal of the World Exhibition in Paris.
The S. N. Khudekov Museum is located in a residential wing, built in 1830. The exposition consists of 7 rooms and describes different milestones in Sergei Nikolayevich’s life: his military service, studies, life in Yerlino and his contribution to the study of choreography and the history of dance. The museum complex includes 4 areas: the manor house and church, the tree farm, a park, greenhouses and vegetable gardens. The old alleys, viewing platforms, the boat dock, the bridge and the cascades of ponds have been restored. The oldest plants in the park are over 150 years old. There are 88 kinds of trees and shrubs growing here now: they come not only from central Russia, but also from North America, Western Europe, the Far East, and Central Asia. The museum-preserve hosts exhibitions, lectures, poetry events and music festivals. Tourists can either use an audio guide or listen to professional guides.
The creator of the Yerlinsky Arboretum, Sergey Nikolaevich Khudekov, is a Russian playwright, librettist, art critic and publisher. In the 1870s, he bought the Yerlino estate of the Skopinsky district (today the Korablinsky district). During the reign of Catherine II, it was owned by the Ivinsky landowners, who built a wooden manor house and the stone church of Michael Archangel. They arranged an “English” landscape park with alleys and a cascade of ponds and planted an orchard. However, later on they were forced to mortgage the estate to the State Noblemen Land Bank. It then passed into the ownership of Khudekov. He built a new two-story brick house with two wings, installed a water supply system, and ordered pedigree cattle and poultry from Europe. Thus, by the end of the 19th century, Yerlino became a prosperous farm. But the most remarkable thing was a unique 60 hectares arboretum, where Khudekov collected plants brought from all over the world. He ordered them from catalogs, brought them from his travels, and his friends brought him plants too. Coniferous alleys grew, while a greenhouses with apricots, peaches and lemons and a rose garden appeared in Yerlinsky park. Khudekov grew fruit trees in his tree farm and sold up to 20,000 seedlings in the central provinces of Russia every year. The unusual estate gained popularity all over the world: in 1900 Khudekov was awarded the gold medal of the World Exhibition in Paris for gardening and agriculture exploits. In Russia he was awarded the Order of St. Anna, II degree, and was elected the county Leader of the Nobility. In 1917 a crowd of peasants smashed the manor house, and the mansion was later pulled down to its foundations. The estate gradually fell into disrepair. Some of the plantings did not survive the frosts, and many trees were cut down. Only at the beginning of the 21st century was a federal museum-preserve created in its place. The park was cleared, new plants were planted, the ponds were cleaned, the foundations were excavated and a museum was opened.
There were many famous personalities among Khudekov’s acquaintances: Chekhov, Leskov, Polonsky, Chalyapin, to name but a few.. Many of them came to visit Yerlino. It was at the Yerlinsky estate that Anton Chekhov’s romantic liaison with Lidiya Avilova started. After the Russian-Turkish war, Alexander III approached Khudekov with an idea to create a similar park on the Black Sea coast, and he founded the famous Sochi arboretum. He also built a dacha there, naming it Nadezhda (Hope) in honor of his beloved wife. Sergei Nikolayevich married his wife Nadezhda secretly. As the story goes, Khudekov gave her a ring, and the girl promised that she would never part with neither the ring nor him. But one day, having arrived in Yerlino, Nadezhda was feeding swans from the bridge. The ring slipped off her finger and fell into the pond where it remained. There is also a legend about the underground passages from the temple to the manor house. According to the villagers’ recollections, one of them was used by the Khudekovs to hide from the rioters in 1917. However, none of these passages have been discovered so far.