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Catherine Palace and Amber room

No trip to St. Petersburg, Russia is complete without a visit to at least one of the spectacular out-of-town imperial summer residences. The fabulous wealth of Imperial St. Petersburg is reflected in the magnificence of palaces in Tsarskoye Selo (= Pushkin).

Tsarskoye Selo, a town of Imperial palaces, is located 25 km south of St. Petersburg. The history of Tsarskoye Selo (literally translated as “the village of the tsars”) goes back to the early 18th century, when Peter 1 gave this land to his wife, future Empress Catherine 1. The first palace, known as the “stone mansion” was built and a park was laid out around it. The palaces in Tsarskoye Selo were built and redesigned throughout the last 200 years of Romanov rule.

The Catherine Palace, being the most famous attraction of this suburb, illustrates best the extravagance of the imperial court and the wealth of the empire’s natural resources. The palace itself is an outstanding example of Russian baroque architecture. By 1756 F.-B. Rastrelli created this architectural masterpiece, which delighted Empress Elizabeth and was named in honour of her mother Catherine 1, who was the 1st owner of the estate. Abundance of gold, lapis, malachite, marbles and other precious minerals decorate many of the rich palace interiors. Part of the fabulous gilded suite of rooms of the Catherine Palace is the legendary Amber Room, often referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World.

The palace park is landscaped and filled with follies and monuments.

One of the most unique, mysterious and even mystic things you can see in Russia is the Amber room. About 300 years separate us now from the times when it was created, 300 years of its history filled with extraordinary events and people, among them Prussian kings and Russian emperors, great artists, architects and craftsmen, leaders of the Third Reich and Soviet Union, and simple citizens.

In 1999 the Amber room was registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive artefact that disappeared in WWII.

In 2003 the recreated Amber room opened its doors in the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo, right in the days when 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg was celebrated. Since that moment on, the Catherine Palace has been one of the most popular museums to visit for millions of tourists travelling to Russia. We’ll be glad to share its beauty and mysterious stories with you.

Alexander Palace

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Besides the opulent Catherine Palace, the town of Pushkin (former Tsarskoye Selo) boasts of a number of other big and small museums. One of them is the Alexander Palace, commissioned by Catherine the Great for her favourite grandson, future Alexander 1.

This austere classical palace was the residence of Nicholas II and his family and is often referred to as “the last home of the last Romanov-tsars”

The palace nowadays is partially restored and houses an exhibition dedicated to the last Romanovs at power, their private life, interests and habits. The rooms contain authentic furniture, photos and personal belongings and allow to plunge in the atmosphere of the beginning of the 20th century, happy family life, hemophilia kept as a top secret, tragic events of the revolution and the mysterious figure of Rasputin looming over the imperial family.

The Alexander Palace

© 2015 I TravelSpb.