The name of the palace comes from the Russian
pronunciation of "Paul" or "Pavel". It story starts in 1777 then prince Paul
(Pavel) Petrovich received 977 acres (395 ha) of land from empress Catherine
II the Great. The gift was made in honor of the first born son prince
Alexander. Many historians argue that Catherine, who openly disliked her son Pavel, and in fact planned to pass the crown to her grandson Alexander.
Pavlovsk in this case would become a golden cage in this scenario. However
Pavel did become an emperor only to get assassinated 5 years after ascension
to the throne. His widow Maria Feodorovna chose to live here and after her
death the palace passed to descendants of her second son Konstantin known as
History of Pavlovsk
Pavlovsk was designated as a royal residence in 1777 by Russian
Empress Catherine the Great. She bought 977 acres or 395 ha
along Slavyanka River and set them aside for her estranged son
Paul or Pavel. She also named the future palace and surrounding
settlement after her son she didn't particularly like.
Pavlovskoye village was designed by Scottish architect Charles
Cameron. He managed to keep the natural feel of the park along
with aesthetic beauty of planned landscaping. Trees, shrubs and
flowers were planted to look like a painting when seen from the
windows of the Central palace as well as other small houses and
pavilions spread around the royal complex.
After death of Emperor Pavel I (Paul I) her widow Maria
Feodorovna settled here. Over the next several decades many rich
and influential people constructed their private summer houses
around the park. Many famous artists, writers and composers
lived here and walked the paved walkways of the Pavlovsk Park.
This included Sergey Glinka, Ivan Krylov, Nikolay Karamzin,
Alexander Brullov and many others. Dostoyevsky set parts of his
novel The Idiot here.
In the early 20th century Pavlovsk became the birthplace of a
Russian Scouting movement. On April 30, 1909 Colonel Pantyukhov
organized first scout union that became known as Beavers. It was
even visited a year later by General Baden- Powell, the original
founder of the Scout Movement while on his visit to Russian
Emperor Nicholas II and his family in Tsarskoye Selo nearby.
Most of graduates and participants in the Scout Movement joined
the White Army or the White Guard during Russian Civil War. They
fought against the Communist Red Army, but after their final
defeat the Scout movement was closed along with Scout School.
Ironically they found another organization that became known as
Pioneers, but it wasn't re- established on these grounds.
During World War II the German Wermacht army occupied Pavlovsk
Palace along with other suburbs of besieged Leningrad (today
known as Saint- Petersburg). They stole or destroyed most of the
items that were not evacuated by the Soviet government. At their
retreat they burned down the palace and cut down most of the
trees in the park. After the conclusion of the war most of the
trees and shrubs had to be replaced using the original plans
from the 18th century. Today the palace is open to the public.
Along with other palaces and royal residences in Leningrad
Oblast it is listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The English park around Slavyanka river was established
along with the Grand Palace in 1782. It was designed with great attention to
overall composition. Plants and trees were planted and replanted if they
didn't fit the esthetics of the view. Along with several minor structures,
ponds, statues and bridges it is one of the best parks in Russia and Europe.
It is prohibited to take any flowers or plants.