Welcome to Moscow State University’s Botanic Garden (the “Apothecary Garden”) – a site of historical and cultural interest, Russia’s oldest botanic garden, and the most well-groomed, photogenic, convenient, accessible, informative and cosy garden in Moscow!
In 1706, by decree of Peter the Great, a garden was founded beyond the Sukharev Tower in what was then the northern outskirts of Moscow, to grow medicinal herbs. That garden is now known as Moscow State University’s Apothecary Garden. It was originally owned by the Apothecary Board, before passing to the Moscow Infirmary and, towards the end of the 18th century, the Medical Surgical Academy. The plants grown here were used not only to make medicine, but also to train medical students and future doctors in botany.
Like many other medicinal gardens in Europe, by the beginning of the 19th century the Garden had collected hundreds of species of plants whose value lay not so much in their medicinal properties – both proven and hypothetical – as in their importance for studying and teaching botany. It was for that reason that Moscow University settled on this site when moving its original botanic garden from Mokhovaya Street in the city centre: the Garden was purchased by the University in 1805 and still belongs to it today.
Over the years, many famous scientists have worked here, making invaluable contributions to the development of Russian natural history. In this Garden, thousands of students and school pupils have penetrated the secrets of the plant kingdom, and countless visitors have come here to relax in the shade of the old park, to admire the manicured flower beds and to marvel at our hothouse collection of exotic plants from distant lands.
In the three centuries since it was established, the Apothecary Garden, like Russia as a whole, has lived through times both good and bad. Yet still today it continues to fulfil its noble mission to inform people about the amazing world of plants and its importance for the Earth and its inhabitants.