Travel Tips / Europe / Russia / St. Petersburg
Former Imperial residences
Posted by Jul - junekr[at]yahoo dot com
Country: Russia
Region: St. Petersburg
Cost: Palace - $10, Park - $6
Date: 26th May 2003
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Location: One has drive there by car, better with a guide. It's also possible to go by bus. There are numerous from Avtovo and Moskovskaya underground stations

1) Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin) Originally, these lands belonged to Peter 1's wife Catherine I. A modest palace was put up for her at the beginning of the 18th century (named Catherine's Palace after her), which was later redecorated by F.-B. Rastrelli for Elizabeth I in the baroque style. Later it was the favorite summer residence of Catherine the Great (ruled 1762 - 1796), redecorated for her by the Scottish architect Charles Cameron in the classical style. Still, the palace retained its baroque exterior and that is one of the most beautiful palaces in the world! One won't be able to find palaces of this kind anywhere outside Russia. Inside, both pompous baroque and elegant classical interiors are to be found. Examples of both styles of the great empresses - Elizabeth and Catherine - can be observed in the palace. And - haven't you heard of the "stolen Amber Room"?! 2) Peterhof Everybody knows a lot about Versailles in France, but have you ever heard of the Russian Versailles? It is no less famous and even more fantastic. The main attraction in Peterhof is its beautiful Lower Park with 150 fountains and four cascades. The main and the most amazing cascade called the Great Cascade is situated in front of the Great Imperial Palace which was the gala summer imperial residence for 200 years - from 1714 up until the October Revolution when the whole estate was nationalized by a special decree issued by Vladimir Lenin. The Great Cascade consists of several fountains. The central and the most luxuriant one is "Samson, tearing apart the jaws of the lion". The Great Cascade is decorated with gilded statues of ancient Greek and Roman gods and heroes, which all are allegories of different events of the Northern War. When the sun is shining, visitors are astonished at the site of the Great Cascade with its gilded figures glistening in the sun, springs of sparkling water and the whole glamour that is felt in everything. This you will not be able to find anywhere in the world, not even in Versailles.

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