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Moscow Parks and Gardens: Biryulyovo Arboretum

An old bridge
Kid’s art

Biryulyovo Arboretum is located faily near to where I live: I only have to walk under the railway bridge, then take a bus, and in a few stops I will be near one of the best contemporary examples of park building.

Birch alley
A pond near the entrance

It all started in 1932, when the first attempt to convert the soil previously used for pasture had been made. It wasn’t successful: all new plants were swarmed by grass. A more serious undertaking was initiated in 1938 by V. Polozov. This time the focus was on cleaning the territory and preparing the soil. After this Polozov suggested to plant more tree seeds into a furrow than was initially recommended. Two results were thus achieved. One, trees were supporting one another, whilst growing. Two, they were continuously dug out and taken to be replanted elsewhere in Moscow city. Only “necessary” trees would stay in their furrows.

Another pond

The park itself was conceived as a combination of a landscape park and a regular park. As a result, what may seem to be an orderly entwining of different alleys is in fact a carefully constructed maze of over 220 tree species. The park constantly evolves, and maple trees change linden and birch trees to give way to pines and larches. Thanks to this, while providing shelter from extreme heat in summer, in autumn the Biryulyovo Arboretum is a feast for eyes, with all its autumnal palette.

Shades of green
Conifers tops

The Arboretum’s selection of conifers is the best one in Moscow, comparable only to the one in the Botanical Gardens. 40% of plants come from North America; another large group originally grows in the Far East, including China and Japan. Typically Russian plants are also well presented, coming from the European part, Siberia, Caucasus, and Central Asian mountains. Most of these plants easily accommodate themselves in the Moscow suburb, adding more decorative elements to the park.

Conifer trees tops: another look
Trees and shadows

  Naturally, the Arboretum in Biryulyovo attracts a lot of citizens who come here to enjoy Nature, solitude, fresh air, and lovely views. But this is also a unique schooling opportunity, and excursions to the Arboretum are regularly organised for pupils. This is the place where a child bonds with Nature and learns to appreciate its beauty, grace, and frailty.

As for me, I visited the Arboretum for the first time in my life a couple of months ago, just before the weather got really hot. One has to point out that, as with any other popular park, this place can get pretty crowded. Nonetheless, a walk up and down alleys, past changing tree species, is unforgettable, inspiring and kind of equivalent to a stroll along an embankment in a seaside town. The fresh air cleanses your head and emotions, the trees calm you down, and altogether this experience opens your eyes, and you quite literally begin to see both forest and its trees.


Author: Julia Shuvalova

Julia Shuvalova is the author of Los Cuadernos de Julia blog. She is an author of several books, a translator, and a Foreign Languages tutor. She lives and works in Moscow, Russia.

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