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Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin)

Image of Tsarskoye Selo

 

 

Location: 26 km (16 mi) South of St. Petersburg  Map

 

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Description of Travel Destinations in Tsarskoye Selo

Tsarskoye Selo is the largest of the Russian palace located 26 km (16 mi) South of St. Petersburg in Russia.

 

Catherine (Great) Palace of Tsarskoye Selo

Construction of Catherine (Great) Palace owes its layout and internal appearance to three Russian Empresses who overlooked its construction in the duration of the 18th century: Catherine I (last wife of Emperor Peter I the Great), Elizabeth and Catherine II. The leading role in architectural design was given to a prominent Russian- Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. He determined the size of the building (306 meters in total length), its layout and internal as well as external appearance of the building. The main building began its construction in 1744 until 1756.

 

 

The architectural appearance of the Catherine Palace is based on the lighting effects and decorative contrasts, typical of the Baroque architectural style popular in the 18th century. The interiors of the palace reflected different artistic styles, mainly Baroque and Classicism. Several rooms, converted in the middle of the XIX century, received a finish in the style of the era of historicism. Beautiful halls for ceremonial receptions were on the second floor on the side of the front yard in chain one following the other. These rooms were known as the Golden Enfilade (French architectural term for suite of rooms that are aligned in chain). Some apartments were allocated for residential rooms. They were called the Minor Enfilade.

Unfortunately, the private chambers of the royal family did not have survive to modern times. Some of them were converted immediately after the October Revolution of 1917 after Tsarskoye Selo Grand Palace was transformed into a museum.

 

During the Second World War Tsarskoye Selo was occupied by the German forces. Few weeks before their arrival museum keepers managed to make a detailed inventory of all furniture, wall murals and other interior details. They anticipated the loss of the Catherine Palace and did it to reconstruct palace interior after a victory over Hitler's army. During German occupation the palace interiors were destroyed. Whatever wasn't evacuated before the German arrival, was stolen, destroyed or simply stolen. The most important loss from this period is the legendary Amber Room that disappeared shortly after the Nazi forces overtook over Catherine Palace. Its whereabouts are still largely unknown. In Catherine Palace was reopened for visitors in 1948 after a major reconstruction project was completed. Complete detailed record of the interiors were used to make an exact copy of the Palace.

Amber Room

Image of Amber Room 


 

Catherine Park (Tsarskoye Selo)

Central Tsarskoe Selo park known as a Catherine Park is just as interesting is the interior of the palace. It consists of two parts: the regular old garden and landscape "English garden". Old garden was laid out on the three steps in front of the palace in the 1720s by garden masters J. Roozenom and I. Vogt. Mirror Pond was added at the same time on the third ledge of Tsarskoye Selo Palace park. Empress Elizabeth increase the size of the park and added marble sculptures made by Venetian sculptors of the early 18th century. F.B. Rastrelli also designed and constructed two pavilions around this time: garden "Hermitage" and "Grot".

By the end of the XVIII century the interest in regular park landscaping disappears. And in the 1770s the Royal Family orders construction of the so- called English Landscaping Garden situated just south of the Old Park. Major work on its construction were carried out in 1770s and 1780s. Catherine Garden was filled with all sorts of architectural buildings, monuments and works of sculpture, testifying to the greatness of the reign of Empress Catherine II.

 

Hermitage Pavilion

Image of Tsarskoye Selo

Tower Ruin

Image of Tsarskoye Selo

The Pavilion "Grot"

Image of Tsarskoye Selo

Chinese Village

Image of Tsarskoye Selo

The Pyramid

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Alexander's Palace (Александровский Дворец) (Tsarskoye Selo)

Image of Alexander's Palace   Image of Alexander's Palace SS Burial

Alexander's Palace was constructed in 1792 by orders of Empress Catherine the Great as a gift for the weeding of her oldest grandson Grand Duke (and future Emperor) Alexander Pavlovich with Grand Duchess Elizabeth Alekseevna. The project of the new estate belonged to another Russian- Italian architect G. Quarenghi with a cooperation with P. Neelov. In May 1796 the last year of the reign of Empress Catherine II the palace construction was completed and on 12 June 1796 Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich and his wife moved into the new residence. Being smaller and cozier than the main palace, Alexander's Palace became a favorite with the Imperial Family.
 
Alexander's Palace is an elongated two-story building with two wings on either side. The center of the main facade is dominated by colonnade consisting of two rows of columns. The interior of the palace is designed by G. Quarenghi. Halls of Grand Enfilade (architectural term for rooms formed into a chain) line the interior garden facade of the palace. The center of this enfilade is taken by a semi- rotunda divided into three parts by wide arches.
 
In 1905 last Russian emperor Nicholas II made it his main residence and lived here for the last 12 years of his reign till Russian Revolution of 1917. Until recently, the famous palace was closed to the public, and very few people knew that it preserved the interiors of the front suite and personal finishes Emperor Nicholas' apartments and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Rasputin visited the palace several times on his visit to czar's son Alexei who had hemophilia. After the February Revolution Czar along with his family were kept here under house arrest and it was from here they were shipped to Siberia on their last voyage.
 
Alexander Park, adjacent to the Catherine Palace, covers an area of ‚Äč‚Äčabout 200 hectares. Before the construction of Alexander's Palace Empress Catherine, I kept this area fenced up. Here she kept wild animals for Royal hunts. In the middle of the XVIII century menagerie was surrounded by a stone wall with bastions at the corners, two of which held entertainment pavilions inside. Between the palace and the menagerie, a New Garden was established with crossed alleys.
 
During World War II German who occupied the palace kept it as local Gestapo Headquarter. Basements of the former czar's residence were turned to prison cells and torture chambers for unfortunate victims. Area in front of the palace was converted to a cemetery for the fallen SS troops.

 

Fedorovsky Czar's Cathedral (Федоровский Государев собор) (Tsarskoye Selo)

Image of Fedorovsky Czar's Cathedral

Location: Academic Prospect

Fedorovsky Czar's Cathedral was constructed in 1912 under supervision of architect V.A. Pokrovsky. It was dedicated to the miraculous icon of Our Lady of Theodore. First tsar of the Romanov dynasty Michael Fedorovich was blessed by it in 1613 during his stay in Kostroma. The place for the new church was chosen by Nicholas II, the last emperor of the Romanov dynasty. He also instructed an architect to copy features of Russian medieval architecture.

 

Initially the church was built for the three regiments of the Imperial Guard stationed in Tsarskoye Selo. Their barracks were located close to the place of residence of the Royal family- the Alexander Palace. Fedorovsky cathedral was originally planned with two churches. The idea of the construction of the lower "cave" church originated in the process of construction that lasted between 1909 and 1912. This cave chapel was dedicated to Saint Seraphim of Sarov greatly venerated by the Royal family. It was commonly used during winter months of the year.

 

Fedorovsky Czar's Cathedral became a favorite church of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II with his wife Aleksandra. In addition to a royal family the church was opened to imperial guard and their families.

 

Fedorovsky Czar's Cathedral was turned into a parish church after the Royal family was exiled to Siberia and later executed by the Communists. Part of the church property was looted by the revolutionary soldiers and sailors. Fedorovsky Czar's Cathedral was later closed in 1933 by the Soviet atheist government as most of churches at the time. The Upper Church was transformed into a movie theater. During World War II the building of the church was badly damaged.

 

Only in 1991 Fedorovsky Czar's Cathedral was reconstructed and returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. After damages it received from the Bolsheviks and German bombings it was a titanic work that succeeded as you can tell. During reconstruction of the church archeologists discovered a copy of icon of Our Lady of Theodore that was apparently taken out of the church and hidden by an unknown parishioner or a former priest who served here. It was returned back to the church. The services resumed in 1992 in the lower church and in 1996 in the upper church. On July 16, 1993 (75th anniversary of the execution of the Royal Family) a bronze bust of Nicholas II was placed next to Fedorovsky Czar's Cathedral. The place for the statue was not chosen accidentally. It was here according to a legend that the last emperor planted five oaks in 1913 by the number of his children (Tatyana, Olga, Maria, Anastasia and son Alexy).

 

Czar's Train Station (Царский вокзал) (Tsarskoye Selo)

  Image of Czar's Train Station   Image of Czar's Train Station

The first wooden structure of the Imperial Train Station was initially constructed here in 1895. However it was severely damaged during a fire, thus another building had to replace the existing one. In 1912 V.A. Pokrovsky designed a new structure keeping up with the architecture of the medieval Russia that was increasingly popular at the time. It lost its importance after German invasion that damaged the building. Currently plans for renovations are underway.

 

 

 

 


 

Transportation

 

 

Hotels, motels and where to sleep

 

 

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

 

 

Cultural (and not so cultural) events

 

 

Interesting information and useful tips

 

 

 

 

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