Pushkin – Tsarskoye Selo


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25 kilometres south from Petersburg, lies village Pushkin, former summer residence of Tsars. The village, former called Tsarskoye Selo (Tsr's Village), was a gift from Peter the Great to his wife Catherine. She built here a church, and first palace, but her daughter Elisabeth destroyed it, as she needed something more splendid.

Present day Catherine Palace is 325-meter long rococo building, designed by Rastrelli, Elisabeth's court architect. The facade was previously gilded with more than hundred kilograms of gold, but Catherine II replaced pure gold with a paint. She also changed some interiors into neoclassical, and extended the building with Cameron Gallery (from the name of Scottish architect). The most amazing feature of the Palace is Amber Room, containing over six tonnes of amber. Original one was lost during the Second World War, but was reconstructed in 2003.
The palace is surrounded by park, both in the French style, and the English landscape garden. Successive rulers added many buildings and monuments, such as Hermitage Pavillon, Creaking Pagoda, Marble bridge or Chesme Column.
Gardens connect Catherine Palace, with smaller Alexander Palace. Catherine II built it for grandson – Grand Duke Alexander, as a wedding gift. Finished in 1796, is considered as a masterpiece of Neoclassical architecture. This Palace was the residence of last Russian Tsar – Nicolas II, and the place of imprisoning Romanov family after revolution.

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