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Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo). Click to enlarge
The Palace-and-Park ensemble of Tsarskoye Selo - a former country residence of Russian emperors - is a fascinating monument of the world's architectural and gardening arts of the XVIII-XX centuries. Its three parks occupy the area of 600 ha, on which over 100 architectural constructions rise: from magnificent palaces and grand monuments to intimate pavilions and park sculptures. The compositional center of the Tsarskoselsky ensemble is Catherine's Palace, containing exquisite decorative objects, furniture, Russian and Western-European paintings, unique collections of porcelain, amber, arms, decorative bronze, sculptures etc. Nowadays, the collection of the museum Tsarskoye Selo numbers about 20,000 items. The Tsarskoselsky Lyceum, an elite school established in Russia in the beginning of the XX century for noble families offspring which the great Russian poet A.S.Pushkin attended, is situated next to the palace. The exposition "Recollections in the Alexander's Palace" is open in the last residence of Russian emperors, architectural chef d'oeuvre of the XVIII century (architect G.Guarenghi). In its 12 halls, with authentic or partially reconstructed attire, artworks like paintings, graphics, decorative and applied art, costumes, personal belongings etc. are represented, related to the life of its crowned owners. Open : 10:00 - 17:00
Closed on TUE and on the last Mon of Every month.

This territory was a member of Old Russian State from time immemorial. In 12th century the territory was called "The Izhora land of Master Great Novgorod". In 17th century the "Izhora land" was occupied by Swede. Russia began to return this land in a result of victories in the beginning of the North War in 1702. On the site of future Tsarskoe Selo there was a small estate - Saris hoff, Saaris moisio (a country house on the height) and the set - expression "Saritskaya or Sarskaya country house" appeared in Russian. In 1710 -1720 on the site off the estate there was a country tsar residence. In 1719-1720 near the country house on the territory of a future town there was a sloboda of church servants and there were measures on its planing and constructing, and with the beginning of palace building the Sarskoe selo was renamed into the Tsarskoe selo.
During two centuries the Tsarskoe selo was the summer Parade Emperor residence; its creating dependent much on personal tastes and caprises of changing owners. Their ideas and projects were designed by hundreds talanted architects, artists, gardeners.
Since 1834 the Tsarskoe selo became "The Tsar" estate, belonged to the Tsar Monarch. Since that time it couldn't be willed, devided or given to somebody, it belonged to a new Tsar every time.
Here, in a cosy site, near the capital Saint-Petersburg, the Emperor family was not only a state family, whose life was a state politics, but also a numerous friendly family with all human interests and merriment's.

Amber room
The Reconstructed Amber Room. Photo by J. and M. Melhorn Imagine an entire room covered with panels of amber, glowing and catching the light - no wonder the Amber Room at Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin) was considered to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia presented the room as a diplomatic gift to Peter the Great in 1717. after Peter had admired it while a guest in Charlottenburg, Berlin.
About Amber room

The Alexander Palace
The Alexander Palace or the New Tsarskoselsky Palace was founded in 1792 by the order of the Empress Ekaterina II and given as a gift to the wedding of her favorite grandson, the Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich (the future Emperor Alexander I ) with the Great Duchess Elisaveta Alexeevna. In May 1796, in the last year of ruling of the Empress Ekaterina II, the palace building was finished and the great Duke Alexander Pavlovich with his wife moved to the New Palace on 12 June 1796.
The project of the Alexander Palace belonged to the famous Italian architect G.Quarneghi, the palace was built under the direction of the architect P.Nejolov. Such famous architects as L.Ruska, V.Stasov, A.Ton, D.Efimov, A.Stakenshneider, A.Vidor, S.Danini, R.Melzer took part in the decoration and rebuilding of the interiors of the Alexander palace.
The palace represents a long two-story building with two wings: in the centre of the main North facade there is a beautiful through colonnade, consisted of two rows of columns.
The interiors, designed by G.Quarenghi, corresponded to the classical canons, in forms of which the whole building is constructed. The Halls of the Parade suite were situated along the garden facade of the palace. In the centre of the suite there was a hall with semi-rotunda divided into three parts by wide arches. The middle part of the room got the name of Semi-Round hall, from the East there was a Portrait hall, from the West there was a Brilliant hall (or a Raspberry Hall).
The Emperor Nikolai I loved the Alexander palace very much and paid great attention to its improvement
For his grandson, the Great Duke Alexander Alexandrovich, the future Emperor Alexander III, the palace was his Grand Duke Residence. Today the Alexander palace is associated with the last page of the history of Russian Empire. In this palace the last Russian Tsar rules for 12 years; the family of Nikolai II moved to tragic Ekaterinburg final on 1 August 1917 from this palace.
The famous palace was closed for visitors until recent time; only few people knew that there were saved the interiors of the Parade suite and a part of the decoration of private apartments of the Emperor Nikolai II and the Empress Alexandra Fiodorovna.
The exposition "Recollections in the Alexander palace" was opened in August 1997 in the left wing of the palace, there were household and private things of the Emperor, his wife and their daughters - Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and the son - Tsarevich Alexey.

The Alexander park
The Alexander Park attached to the Ekaterina palace from the side of the Parade-ground has an area about 200 hectares. It is divided into the region with regular planning - the New Garden - and a landscape park. During the reign of Ekaterina I a piece of natural forest, situated behind the palace, was fenced and turned into a Menagerie where wild animals for Tsar hunting were kept.
In the middle of 18th century a Menagerie was fenced by a stone wall with bastions in the corners. In two of them there were entertainment pavilions. In the centre of a menagerie S.Chevakisnky erected a hunting pavilion "Monleigu", reconstructed and designed by the project of F.B.Rastrelli. Between the palace and a Menagerie a New garden was located, crossed by cross-coming alleys. The surrounding canal was named the Cross Canal. The author of the project of a New Garden was N.Girar, but the building was held without his participance; the works were directed by K.Shreider and M.Kondakov. By the late 1750's much of the planned in a New Garden stayed unstarted, and with loosing interest to regular gardens the first plan of its decoration was not realized.
In 1780's to the South of a New Garden the building of a Chinese village was started, and in1790's to the North of it the creating of the garden at the building of the Alexander Palace was also started. The garden in landscape style like English landscape parks that were in fashion in the last third of 18th century was created by I.Bush (the junior).
In 1810's the work at this garden was continued by P.Nejolov and D.Manners, and since 1817 were held by the architect A.Menelas who was asked to create a new huge park on the site of old Menagerie. A garden master built in a new park a whole complex of neogothic constructions - the Arsenal, a White Tower, Shapel, Pavilion lam, Pensioner Stable and other - for a very short period.
In the beginning of 20th century the North -East territory of the Alexander Park, stretched from the Alexander palace to the Egypt gate was built over. Here the Fjodorovsky town was erected.

The Ekaterina palace
The Ekaterina palace like a fairy castle towers on the top of the hill, that name to the future Tsar residence - Tsarskoe Selo. It adores and charms, its blue facades strikes by their grand sizes; the original peculiarity of Russian character was reflected in it - the emotional perception.
In winter gloomy doy and the rays of rare Saint-Petersburg sun, filed by expression and inner tension the walls of the palace radiate merry energy, charging the surroundings.
So happened that the Ekaterina (Big) palace had three women to thanks for its birth - the Empresses Ekaterina I, Elisaveta Petrovna and Ekaterina II, who owned the palace in 18th century and who paid great attention to its building. Their fantasy, projects and personal taste were developed by hundreds talanted architects, artists, gardeners.
The luxury halls of the Ekaterina palace all Russian monarchs lived, worked, gave audiences, made diplomatic receptions for foreign ambassadors and parade balls and masquerades. The Empress Elisaveta Petrovna, the daughter of Peter I and Ekaterina I, and later Ekaterina II spent there not only summer but also winter.
Since 1718 the palace was constructed by the architects I.Brownstein, M.Zemstov, A.Kvasov, S.Chevakinsky, F.B.Rastrelli, Ch.Kameron, D.Quarneghi, V.Stasov, I.Moigetti and others. F.B.Rastrelli had a leading role in erecting the palace: since 1748 he directed all building works. Rastrelli defined the parameters of the building, designed the basic elements of art decoration of the facades and numerous interiors. The constructing of a grand building 306 meters long was held from 1744 till 1756.
The architectural image of the Ekaterina palace, built on light effects and decorative contrasts, typical for the Baroque style, striked by its splendor. In its interiors different art styles, mainly Baroque and Classicism, were used. Some rooms reconstructed in the mid 19th century got the decoration in the historism style.
The Emperors and the members of the Romanov family spent time in this country residence with great pleasure. It is to be noted that each of new masters (including the last one - the Emperor Nikolai II) had the duty to change somehow the art decoration of the Tsar apartments and numerous rooms for Tsar's children, guests and servants.
There were special rooms for keeping sets, furniture, table-clothes and other household things. Numerous gof-furiers, tafeldekkers, cofeshenks and other court servants looked after the palace property.
The storage rooms were in official rooms of the palace and its wings - circumferences, surrounded the parade yard. There were kitchens, where the food for the Tsar was cooked.
The Halls for the parade receptions were on the second floor on the side of the parade yard were organized in line one by one. They made so-called Gold suite. The separate appartments were given for living rooms. They were called the Small suite. In the Small suite there were the private rooms of the Empress Maria Fjodorovna, a widow of Paul I, the Great Duke Alexander Pavlovich (the future Emperor Alexander I) and his brother Konstantin Pavlovich.
In the mid -19th century the Emperor Alexander II ordered to decorate the rooms for him in the low floor of Zubov wing, built in 1770's by the order of Ekaterina II. There his favourite Ekaterina Dolgorukaja lived with her children. In 1880 in one of the rooms of the Ekaterina palace there was their marriage.
Unfortunately, the private rooms of the Tsar family were not saved until nowadays. Part of them was reconstructed after the October revolution because of rearranging the palace into the Historic Life Museum; the great park was not restored after the Great Patriotic War.
Now the exposition of the museum consists of twenty-six restored halls including the Parade halls of the Golden Suite, designed by the architect Rastrelli, the private rooms of the son of Ekaterina II - the Great Duke Paul Petrovich and some interiors belonged to the Emperor Alexander I. The Before church (Stasovsky) Hall, created by order of Nikolai I, and the Parade Marble Staircase, decorated by the architect I.Monigetti during the reign of Alexander II, were restored the last.

The Ekaterina Park
The Ekaterina Park consists of two parts; the regular old garden and the landscape "English Park".
The old garden was planned on three ledges in front of the palace in 1720's by gardeners Ja.Roosen and I.Foht. At the same time the Mirrors ponds appeared on the third ledge.
During the reign of Elisaveta Petrovna, when Tsarskoe Selo was turned into a great country residence, the garden was enlarged, replanned and decorated by marble sculptures, mainly by Venice sculptors of the early 18th century - P.Baratta, A.Tarksia, D.Bonazzo and others, brought to Petersburg during the reign of Peter I. The clipped spinneys and laced stalls were set up in front of the palace. F.B.Rastrelli designed the pavilions "The Hermitage" and "Grotto" in the garden.
In 1770's the architects V. and I.Nejolov built "The Admiralty" complex, the Hermitage kitchen, Upper and Lower bathes.
By the end of the 18th century the interest the regular park disappeared, and in 1770's to the South of the Old park the landscape or "English" garden was started to form. It was created like English landscape parks. Main works were held in 1770-1780's. The first plan of the Landscape Park was designed by the architect V.Nejolov. But the basic plan of its creation was designed by G.Bush - the experienced landscape master, which directed the building since 1771. The garden created in a new style was filled by various architectural constructions, monuments to Glory and sculptures proved the great reign of the Empress Ekaterina II.

The architectural ensemble of Charles Kameron
The ensemble, created in 1780-1794 by the architect Ch.Kameron, attaches to the South Wing of the Ekaterina palace, on the first floor of which in 1790's the favourite of EkaterinaII Platon Zubov lived; that is why the wing was called "Zubovsky".
The architectural ensemble of Ch.Kameron includes some buildings of different use, joined by common art design: the Kameron gallery, Cold baths with Agate rooms, Handing and Colour gardens and the Ramp.
Even in the beginning of 1770's the Empress Ekaterina II had an idea to build an architectural construction in Greek and Rome style in the Ekaterina Park. She wrote to the sculptor E.Falkone: "I wold like to have a project of an ancient house planned as in Ancient time: I am able to build such Greek and Rome rhapsody in my Tsarskoselskiy garden".
Many famous masters were attracted by the possibility of creating such construction in the residence of Ekaterina the Great. The French Sh. De Vayi suggested to erect the building devoted to sciences and art their patroness Minerva. The greatness expert of antiquity Sh. Klerino suggested to build "ancient house", based on composition of Diokletian's terms, Which in its siges supprassed the Ekaterina palace and that is why was not accepted by the Empress. Her wish to have "An ancient house" was performed by Ch.Kameron, invited to Tsarskoe selo from Scotland. He created a wonderful construction, which is often called "terms of Ch.Kameron".
During the Second World War the ensemble was badly damaged. In 1948 it was opened for visitors again.

Address: Puhskin (Tsarskoe Selo), suburb of St.Petersburg

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