Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve "Fazenda Popova" It is located in the northern part of the outbuilding of a beautiful palace complex, slightly reminiscent of the Vorontsov castle in Crimea. The city received its name in honor of Vasily Popov, a major general of the tsarist army, who in 1784 received from Catherine II the colorful lands along the Karachekrak river. The economy organized by him here soon became famous as one of the best in the south of Ukraine.
The buildings erected under Vasily Popov were partially preserved. Remained the house of the landowner, built in 1790 and several small outbuildings. In the period from 1864-84, the grandson of Vasily Popov built a beautiful palace complex in the estate. Melitopol architect A.N. Ageenko, who led the construction work, designed a hacienda plan similar to the Vorontsov Palace.
For twenty years, a hacienda has been developing, a place for which was chosen next to the railway, which had just appeared in those parts. From the castle to the Dnieper River, the lands of the estate were set aside for the breakdown of a colorful park and a beautiful garden. In the castle, in addition to the festive halls, there are 15 ethnographic rooms. The scenery was held in unique genres: Turkish, Chinese, Indian and other styles. There was also a knight's hall in the castle, where collections of various weapons and knightly armor were located. Popov was an educated man, he was very proud of his observatory, which was a five-inch telescope. Also in the estate was an extensive library.
The palace gained wide popularity due to the outlandish design of the building in the Baroque style, as well as with the use of Gothic and Romanesque styles. In addition to books, paintings by the best artists of Europe, porcelain collections, there was also a mechanical room that amazed guests with moving dolls made in human height, dressed in local national costumes. The large dance hall had a marble floor, which was lit with gold chandeliers, and an aquarium with many exotic fish was placed in the mirror room.
The estate of Popov, located on a high hill, was surrounded by an exquisite fence, built in the style of the castle itself. From the side, it resembled a fortification. The fence consisted of an observation tower, outbuildings and a stable, which deserves a separate discussion.
Having a purely economic purpose, this building is a structure resembling the urban planning of Northern Italy of the Middle Ages. It is believed that the construction took place under the leadership of the Russian architect Nikolai Benoit. This genre of construction is inherent in yet another architectural monument of Eastern Europe - the Moscow Kremlin.
The events that took place at the beginning of the twentieth century did not contribute to the preservation of the hacienda architectural structures. Now this architectural monument is in extremely poor condition. On the territory, in addition to the museum-reserve, there is a private residential building, as well as a boarding school. The only thing that has survived to this day is a castle-style hunting lodge and a corner tower.
Manor Popov is located in a picturesque place of Vasilyevka, which is a delightful hunting ground, on which game and fish abounded. When visiting the observation deck of the tower, a panoramic view of the river and the picturesque park is visible.
According to Moscow experts, the Popov Observation Tower is recognized as the most valuable construction of the complex, rated as "urban development of world significance." Modern experts who conducted the survey were amazed at the accuracy and skill of the laid brickwork, brought to perfection. The outer interval between the bricks is 4 mm, and in the lancet arches of the tower, the interval does not exceed 1 mm at all. Now the state of the tower is very sad from the fact that during the years of Soviet power it could not find more worthy use than using it as a barn or pigsty.
The hacienda survived during the change of power from 1917 to 1921, but during the industrialization of the 1930s it was destroyed. The ceilings, marble stairs, and tile slabs that went to the construction of the Vasilievsky House of Culture were removed. In World War II, the Nazi invaders used palace buildings for defensive structures. After the war, brick was used for the construction of the Dnieper. Active local residents also often used materials from the estate for their needs. Later, as the Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve "Popov's Estate" began to be made on the territory of hacienda, the destruction was stopped. In order to restore the former beauty of the architectural structure, it is necessary to do a tremendous job requiring tremendous financial investments.