The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Crimean garden history

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iii. Gardening, as an Art of Design and Taste, in the Crimea Buckteserai, the Palatium of Strabo, is seated in a narrow valley, through which runs the stream of the Pchuruksu. Flat-roofed and tiled-covered houses are built in the bottom of the valley, and up the sides of the hills: in the midst of them is a most interesting object, viz. the Tartar palace. In some places the limestone rocks overhang the houses in a threatening attitude, and amongst them are gardens filled with fruit trees, over which rises the tall and graceful poplar. The palace, Alexander found, in 1829, in a state of decay. The apartments of the seraglio were painted with borders of flowers, and fitted up with curious inlaid presses for female attire, and the requisites for the toilette; beneath them were cool halls for the summer heats, in which marble fountains continually played; but the falling water had a melancholy sound in the deserted chambers. The gardens were latticed, and neatly laid out in parterres of flowers, with trelliswork for vines. The other apartments of the palace consisted of halls of audience, and sleeping apartments for the attendants. The former were lofty, with lancet windows, filled with stained glass, high moresque chimney-pieces, mirrors with gilt frames, glass cases filled with artificial flowers, landscapes and hunting scenes painted on the cornices, and divans covered with brocade. Taken as a whole, the palace of Buckteserai is a most interesting specimen of Tartaric magnificence, and a most desirable residence. No Russians are allowed to inhabit the town; and, in fact, the Crimea in general may be said to be given up to the Tartars and their goats. (Travels in the Crimea, vol. ii. p. 255.)