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Taming the cast-iron lions. The restoration of protectors of Kushelev-Bezborodko's dacha


The famous lions from Kushelev-Bezborodko's dacha are enjoying a well-deserved rest. The restoration work has been going on for more than a month. There is a lot of work - sculptures are expected to return to their place not earlier than into years. By that time, the mansion on Sverdlovskaya embankment will also be renovated. Tatyana Bazhenova observed the restoration works


This lion’s crest is being made shiny. The client is happy, and even produces a barely noticeable smile. At this workshop, restoration workers have been renovating the legendary lions from Kushelev-Bezborodko’s dacha at Sverdlovskaya embankment. 29 sculptures were removed from the fence at the end of March

Pavel Polishuk, restoration worker: “Now we are sanding those – the upper layer is quite easy to remove, but the orange one demands special attention and care”

From the top, lions are covered with the usual paint, but the second layer is called “Surik”. This is the anti-corrosion solution. All these layers are taken off, to get to the original material – cast-iron. These lions were turned into protectors of the mansion back in 1780s, after it was built. The sculptor created the predators not in an equal way

Vladislav Yakovskiy, CEO of restoration company: “The right at least two styles of these lions. We can see it by their ears, their hair, and their tails. So they used two blueprints to make them. That's what we see now. Maybe will find even more differences

- Guys, this city has more lions than residents!

The sculptures were made famous by the “Adventures of Italians in Russia” movie. Although, in the Soviet years the sculptures looked much better - now they have lost their shine. Not only time brought damage to those, but people as well

Tatyana Bazhenova, reporter: “One lion from the sculpture ensemble was lost back in the 1970s. The police did not find the perpetrators. They had to completely resurrect the sculpture, but made it of a different material - called silumin. It's a mixture of aluminum and silicon”

But restoration workers will not engage with this one – the material it's made of is too hard to handle. The 29th lion will be made anew. That is a lot of work – re-creating the lost elements, broken paws and tails. It’s all still ahead. According to investors, the lions will be able to return to their place not earlier than in two years. By that time, the mansion itself on Sverdlovskaya embankment will also be renovated