Kozelsk is one of the main spots of pilgrimage tourism not only for Russia but also for Orthodox Christians of the world. Famous monasteries of Optina Pustyn and Shamordino are situated in the area, along with many other amazing places such as the National Park Ugra, Chertovo Gorodishche, and Kozelsk Abatis. Recently a new tourist attraction appeared in the city, the Fairy-tale Manor Vihlyandia, one of a kind in Russia and abroad.
The Manor Vihlyandia is a museum of contemporary fantasy style landscape architecture and sculpture funded by a local businessman Vladimir Vikhlyantsev. The first architectural object in Vihlyandia came to life in 2011. But at the time no one would have dreamt of creating a whole fairyland.
“I just needed to build a fireplace and a bathhouse”, Vikhlyantsev recalls, “so I found the master, Vladimir Kolesnikov, Ukrainian architect with original style. At the time he was working on some sculptures for the Kozelsk children’s park “Three warriors”. Kolesnikov suggested to build a gazebo as well. I agreed. At every break during the gazebo construction, he was always drawing something enthusiastically. It turned out to be a treehouse design. I quite liked the idea of creating a fairy-tale house. After the gazebo and the fireplace, I didn’t want to stop.”
Little by little, many other art objects decorated with all kinds of animals, birds, fish, snakes, and insects appeared on the land of Vladimir Vikhlyantsev next to the bathhouse, the gazebo with a big rock which was erected nearby to become home to a red dragon and the fairy-tale tree-like house. The designs for all the art objects were developed by Kolesnikov. The lord of the manor allowed the artist to fully show his creative potential. Vikhlyantsev only made some small adjustments.
The fairyland has become the landmark of Kozelsk, attracting tourists to the small town with a population of slightly over 16 thousand people. The museum is especially popular among families with children. Both children and adults are curious to go into the House on the Beanstalk, inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tale, and the Pirate’s House, and to climb the stairs to the balconies. In the estate, you can walk freely everywhere, cross the bridge on the Klyutoma river, made in the form of two dragons, Katyusha and Vanyusha. The only thing not allowed is walking on the lawn and flower beds or entering the Tree House, as the owner of the Manor lives there.
By the way, the main building of Vihlyandia is decorated in the fairy tale style not just on the outside, but on the inside. It is filled with many items that could be a worthy part of any museum collection. Among them are the author’s ceramics by the artist Igor Papakin from Kaluga, lithographs by Alexander Rybkin and Oleg Mikhailov, paintings by the Belarusian abstract artist Oles Faley, and a collection of paintings by Soviet artists from the 50s to 70s. Vladimir Vikhlyantsev also plans to create a separate building for an art gallery. And there is more. Vladimir wants to go beyond the fortress walls of his kingdom and build an outdoor fantasy amphitheater to host concerts and plays. This means that Kozelsk has every chance to become a center of music tourism.