Pushkin city (The Tsarskoye selo)

Catherine Palace & Catherine Park

Beautiful, very cozy and green, this city in the suburban district of Saint Petersburg was named after Alexander Pushkin in 1937. The poet studied there at the Lyceum of Tsarskoye Selo. Interestingly, for about two centuries this town was a summer residential area of the Russian Royal Family.

Catherine Palace twilights

At the beginning of the Northern War, when Peter I won the Novgorod lands from the Swedes, in 1702 Russian troops commanded by Apraksin routed the Swedes. As a zealous owner, who associated grandiose plans with the Neva shores, Peter I strictly forbade burning and destroying anything from “the Sarskaya manor to the Duderhof main manor”. From this Sarskaya Manor (the word “saaris” in Finnish means elevation, that is, in this case, “The manor on the hill”) and Sarskoe or, as Tsarskoye Selo soon began to call it, the new name prompted the consonance of words: from 1710, the Manor belonged Peter’s wife, Ekaterina Alekseevna, and later their daughter Elizabeth, who turned it into her out-of-town residence. During the first 100 years of its existence, Tsarskoye Selo became a true treasury of art, the center of perfect creations of human thoughts and hands. and the parks smashed the best gardeners, its palaces and pavilions were erected by the most talented architects and decorated by the largest Russian and foreign sculptors, painters, decorative art masters. Lined up in two floors, had 15 sazhen length, 9 widths and contained 16 rooms on both floors, this is the current main staircase and the closest rooms to it. Hardly came to the throne, Elizabeth was the first to decide to turn them into her main summer residence and commissioned her to draw up a project of restructuring and enlargement of the palace. For 10 years, the palace was rebuilt and expanded, and in 1752, by the highest order, new works began on the construction of the palace according to the drawings of Rastrelli. Architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli is one of the greatest architects of the 18th century. Though he was born abroad, he spent his youth in Russia, and worked a lot in St. Petersburg and Moscow, so he can rightly be considered a Russian builder. In the period 1752-56, Rastrelli rebuilt the entire Great Catherine Palace. That is how it appears before us today. The palace received its name after its first owner, Catherine Alekseevna.

Catherine Park in Pushkin city

The three-story Palace now ran in an almost unbroken line for over 300 meters. 80 huge French windows were set in a row decorated with balconies and separated by Giants supporting the columns. The building was painted in blue and white with moldings and Giants in gold. The facade was decorated with 217 different types of Stucco molding. Along the roofline ran gilded balustrade crowned by statuary. 100 kilos of gold was used to decorate the palace. Even Catherine II who reigned after Elizabeth found it impossible to maintain such splendor and the gilt was eventually replaced by a sober bronze wash. But in Elizabeth’s time the effect must have been stunning. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the palace was converted into a museum. The museum was opened in June 1918 and was visited by a million people every year. During the World War II the Nazi invaded the town. Trains loaded with the treasures were sent to distant part of the country. Thus, many unique paintings, statues, objects of applied art and documents saved. The Nazi occupied Pushkin in September 1941. The Catherine Palace became the Army headquarters, partly used as soldiers barracks and the chapel as a garage for cars and motorcycles. In summer 1944 after the liberation of the town works were started in the ruins, fragments collected and sorted out. The restores used them together with the pieces of decoration saved in evacuation. Nowadays, half a century after the war ended, restoring and reconstructing processes which began in the 1950s can be undoubtedly depicted as unique in the world’s practice. The specialists are still working on the recreation of the invaluable former legacy applying conventional methods of the 18th and 19th centuries, by studying the documentary data to identify the knowledge of craftsmen of the past.


Amber Room

In the past, one of the richest and the most known chambers of the Catherine palace. As the story goes early in the 18th century the Prussian King Frederick the first ordered an ember study for his wife’s Palace Litzenberg. The architect Eozander end the jeweler Tusseau were called in to create it. The Amber story was finalized in 1709. Its walls of 550 square feet in all were lined with panels, which looked magnificent. In 1716 Peter the first visited Prussia and was presented with the Amber story by Friedrich Wilhelm 1, the son of Friedrich the first. Peter greatly appreciated the gift, and gave in exchange for the 22 Amber panels 248 sturdy soldiers for the Prussian Kings guard as well as a lathe and a wine cup which he had made himself. Peter’s daughter Elizabeth was the one to order panels’ installation to decorate the palace.

Catherine Palace Lake

During the World War II, the Nazi specialists took the amber panels and moved them to Königsberg. The Amber Room was presented to the Königsberg Museum (item no. 200 in the Gift Book). The panels and amber doors were a part of exposition. Alfred Rohde, the museum’s director, then noticed that the Amber Room came back home. Actually that’s the last location where the amber masterpieces were shown. In 1944 the German army retreated, and the panel were again taken off and transported to the spot no one knows about. So the track of the Amber Room was lost, and all the searches did not bring any result.

It was in 1979 when the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR decided to recreate the amber panels. The actual work started in 1983 and was led by the architect Alexander Kedrinsky. The recreation took 24 years and finished in 2003 (300th jubilee of Saint Petersburg).

The Catherine Park

The Catherine Park Admiralty

It includes the Regular Park (the Old Garden) and the Landscape Park. The Old Garden was formed in the 1720s by Jan Roosen and Johann Vocht, master gardeners from the Netherlands, opposite to the imperial palace. In mid 18th century, the garden was extended, remodeled; many beautiful pavilions and sculptures appeared. Among them Hermitage and Grotto, Admiralty and Bathhouses. In the period of Catherine II reign, the Landscape Park was adorned with numerous monuments dedicated to wins Russian Army and Navy. These are the Tower Ruin, the Chesme, Morea and Crimean Columns, the Kagul Obelisk, the Turkish Kiosk and Red or Turkish Cascade. The fine taste of the Empress is seen in the Cold Bath pavilion with the Agate Rooms, the Cameron Gallery, the Concert Hall and some other classical buildings.


Schedule

All year
Monday*
10.00 - 18.00
Tuesdayday off
Wednesday10.00 - 18.00
Thursday10.00 - 18.00
Friday10.00 - 18.00
Sunday10.00 - 18.00
Saturday10.00 - 18.00
*Last monday of the month is day off.
**Entrance until16:45

Public Transport

Address
Pushkin, Sadovaya ulitsa, 7
How to get to Pushkin city by public transport
From Vitebsky railway terminal or Kupchino railway station of St Petersburg:
Suburban train to Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin) railway station,
then bus 371 or 382 or minibus (marshrutka) K-371 or K-377 or K-382, to the Catherine Palace and Park

From Moskovskaya metro station of St Petersburg:
Minibus (marshrutka) K-342 or K-545 to the Catherine Palace and Park;
Or, bus 187, or minibus (marshrutka) K-286 or K-287 or K-347, to Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin) railway station, then bus 371 or 382, or minibus (marshrutka) K-371 or K-377 or K-382, to the Catherine Palace and Park

From Kupchino Metro Station of St Petersburg:
Bus 186, or minibus (marshrutka) K-286 or K-342 or K-545, to the Catherine Palace and Park"


Tour

Pushkin City is a part of my private tours:

Also, you can customize a tour or book inside excursion.


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