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About the locality

Legend has it that the founder of Gryzino was Andrew the Apostle himself. He erected a cross on the bank of the River Volkhov; later, a church to honour Andrew the First-Called was built at the site.

According to other versions, Gruzino was owned by Novgorod boyar Ofonasy Gruz and was named after him, or after the sundry cargo transported across the river (gruz means cargo in Russian).

The village rose to prominence in the late 18th century, when in 1796 Emperor Paul I of Russia granted the village to Quartermaster-General and then Count Alexei Arakcheyev.

The new owner began a major construction drive in the village. A hill was built on the bank of the River Volkhov to host the manor house with a view on Arakcheyev’s domain. The best architects were invited from St Petersburg to build the palace and gardens, among them Vasily Stasov, creator of the Stock Exchange Jean-Francois Thomas de Thomon, Fyodor Demertsev, Ivan Martos, sculptor Samuil Galberg, Vasily Yekimov and others. Near the estate, a church, household outbuildings and entertainment pavilions were built. Gruzino was also home to a picturesque landscape park admired by many in its day.