Catherine Palace and Park
Catherine Palace is the former countryside royal residence of the Russian Imperial family. The palace is famous for its 18th century interiors, an astounding Amber Room and picturesque garden. Feel the atmosphere of the epoch of two Great Russian empresses – Elizabeth and Catherine II, both of them ruled in the 18th century.
During the walk in the Catherine Park you will enjoy picturesque views of both regular formal French garden and English Landscape Park, see various pavilions and structures, which history is connected with the time of the empresses Elizabeth and Catherine the Great and other Russian monarchs.
The Catherine Palace is a former tsar residence named after Catherine I, the wife of Saint Petersburg’s founder - Peter the Great. Their daughter Elizabeth completely rebuilt the palace after ascending to the throne in 1741 and hired the architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who turned the palace into a luxurious specimen of Russian baroque. A recreational palace for hunting, masquerades and balls – such was the intended purpose of the residence. Furthermore, this was the official residence of the emperor, where meetings were held with ambassadors from many different countries, and the fate of nations was decided. The empress spared no expense in decorating the palace. Both the exquisite exterior and dazzling interior of this palace will surely make an impression on you.
You will see the famous Amber Room – one of the main attractions of the palace and the place often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. The walls of this room, whose area makes up 100 square meters, are almost wholly covered in amber panels. Amber is a semiprecious stone with the color of honey, but is not a genuine stone, rather a solidified resin from ancient oak trees. Amber is harvested on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The first amber panels were a diplomatic gift to Peter the Great from a Prussian king, and Peter’s daughter Elizabeth used these amber panels to decorate her fantastically luxurious Catherine Palace.
After the events of the revolution of 1917 and the Soviets’ rise to power, the palace was transformed into a museum, while its furniture, garnish, paintings, and other art pieces were kept intact. During World War II, the Catherine Palace came under occupation by fascists and suffered losses, but was later restored and opened to the public once again. Many of its valuable items were preserved because the museum’s workers took precautions at the start of the war, packing the items into crates and shipping them by railroad to the most remote regions of the country, where no fighting was taking place.
After the war, the evacuated valuables were returned to the palace, and it took nearly twenty years for the palace to be restored to its former glory after the enemy occupation and destruction of war.
During the tour, you will also take a stroll through the Catherine Park, which is considered by many to be no less spectacular than the palace, and which serves as an extension of sorts to the palace. The park consists of two parts: a French Formal Garden, which was highly fashionable in the time of Elizabeth (the mid-18th century) and an English Landscape Park, which the empress Catherine II preferred and which was fashionable from the late 18th century to the early 19th century. The park’s spectacular terraces, Italian marble statues, artificial and natural ponds, columns and obelisks, and numerous pavilions stylized in gothic, antique, and oriental styles give it a special charm.
Please contact me and we will discuss the details.
Duration 4-5 hours.
The cost of my guiding services is 20 US $ (19 Euro) per hour for a group of up to 10 people.