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CATHERINE PALACE - TSARSKOYE SELO

 
 

 
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Here we present photographs taken during visits to the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo south of St Petersburg, Russia in 2003 We now have new photography from our visit in 2005.
Peter gave the estate to his second wife, Catherine I in 1710. They decided to creatge a summer home there in 1717. They soon added a whole village for the workmen and servants with a wooden church and formal gardens. But it was Empress Elizabeth Petrovna who vastly expanded the original with two colonnaded galleries and stone pavilions extending on either side of the original, and named in honor of her mother, Catherine I. But the name might be confused with Catherine II since the later empress lived here and commissioned major building projects. In 1752 Elizabeth hired Bartolomeo Rastrelli to expand the works and also added more buildings, including the Hermitage, Grotto and Monbijou pavilion. In the 1770's Catherine II added more luxury. She moved the Grand staircase and enlarged the pavilions. In 1779 she hired Charles Cameron to redecorate the interior.

 
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The Alexander palace at Tsarskoye Selo, given by Catherine II to her grandson, future Emperor Alexander I. It is located a few blocks from the Catherine Palace.

 
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Another view of the Alexander palace at Tsarskoye Selo, given by Catherine II to her grandson, future Emperor Alexander I.

 
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A sign board with map of the palace grounds.

 
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Close up detail of section of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Tselo. This was designed by Rastrelli in 1752 for Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. She named it in honor of her mother, Catherine I.

 
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Another detail of the facade of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo. The 980 foot long facade is highlighted with a line of atlantes (70 figures of Atlas holding the heavens) , columns and pilasters.

 
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Catherine Palace - the royal chapel under the 5 golden domes was built by Chevakinski in the 1740's

 
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Catherine Palace, the royal chapel

 
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Catherine Palace at Tsarksoye Selo - detail of one facade

 
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Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo - center section of the 980 foot long main facade. The great staircase is in the section behind the white columns. The palace was designed by Rastrelli for Empress Elisabeth Petrovna in 1752. She named it for her mother, Catherine I. Later, Empress Catherine II had Charles Cameron redesign the interiors. In the foreground is part of the formal French gardens.

 
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Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo - another view of the royal chapel and the corner of the palace that contains the Blue Drawing room

 
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Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo designed by Rastrelli for Empress Elizabeth Petrovna in 1752. This is about half of the 980 foot long main facade, from the center with grand staircase to the royal chapel. In this section are the Small Enfilade, the picture gallery, the Green dining room, the Amber room and the Blue Drawing room.

 
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View of main facade from the garden side.

 
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View of the corner of the Catherine Palace with crosses of the private chapel above..

 
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The buildings that form the sides of the inner courtyard opposite the main palace facade.

 
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Central section of the palace facade on the courtyard side.

 
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Central section of palace facade. The first floor contains administrative and sales offices. The public rooms are on the second floor. The 3rd level of windows are upper windows for the main level.

 
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Detail of the decorations surrounding palace window.

 
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Musicians welcoming tourists to the palace. They quickly identify the nationality of the group and switch into the appropriate national anthem.

 
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Energetic musicians serenade tourist with their national anthem.

 
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A second band greets tourists as they line up to enter the palace.

 
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A section of the formal, French-style gardens near the palace viewed from a palace window.

 
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Statue of girl with pitcher by Pavel Sokolov in 1816 located on a rock overlooking the north side of the great pond. Pushkin wrote his poem, "Fountain at Tsarskoye Selo" about this statue.

 
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Wing of the palace with the crosses above the private church above the corner. This is the gate through which tourists are admitted into the court yard preparatory to entering the main palace. They line up hours early.

 
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Bust of Rastrelli, the principal architect of the palace. Unfortunately on this rainy day it was back-lighted.

 
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The lengthy palace facade on its rear side from the courtyard. The tourist visitor entrance is on this side

 
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View further along the palace facade from the courtyard side.

 
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Malachite decorations in the Green Pilaster Room

 
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Typical guilded ornamentation - note the large tile stove in the corner. Of course there was no central heating.

 
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Portrait of Elizabeth Petrovna by Heinrich Buchholtz in the Portrait Hall (between the Green Pilaster room and the Amber Room.

 
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The reconstructed famous Amber room, restored and opened in May 2003. It was a gift to Peter I by King Frederick William of Prussia in 1716.

 
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The Amber room is constructed from thouands of specially prepared pieces of amber all fitted into artistic patterns. During World War II it was taken by the Germans and subsequently lost. Now it has taken since 1979 to restore it.

 
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It is quite dark in the Amber room. One faces a problem, either get a very dark photo or get a overexposure from the flash.

 
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The rebuilt Amber room - a highlight of the Catherine Palace.

 
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The Amber room - again the flash spoils part of the photograph.

 
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The Picture Hall with a typical tile stove in the foreground. The walls have about 130 paintings of which 114 are originals of Franch, Flemish, German and Italian masters.

 
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Portrait of Alexander I in the Alexander I drawing room.

 
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The Green Dining room in Northern wing. This is one of the rooms created in the 1780's with a Classical style by Cameron for Paul and Maria Fyodrovna. The decorations were made by Ivan Martos.

 
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The facade on the side facing the formal gardens.

 
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The central part of the facade on the garden side.

 
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Parish church, Church of the Sign (Znameeniya), built in 1734 only a few yards outside the Catherine Palace grounds at Tsarskoye Selo.

 
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Parish church of the Sign outside the palace grounds.

 
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Statue of Pushkin by Robert Bach in 1900, near the Catherine Palace. He studied at the palace school near here.

 
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The palace wing with the family chapel viewed from the rear side.

 
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The Agate Room - Cameron Gallery wing that extends at right angles to the main palace on the park side. These were designed by Charles Cameron, favourite architect of Catherine II. The Agate Room was a summer pavilon that contained examples of Russia's mineral wealth, not only agate, but also malachite, lapis lazuli, porphyry and alabaster. Now there are special exhibitions in the lower level.

 
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The Cameron gallery added as a wing to the Catherine Palace viewed from the far end.

 
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The Grotto designed by Rastrelli in 1749 on the north side of the great pond. The Baroque exterior is decorated with fish, sea monsters, and dolphins.

 
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The Hermitage, located directly opposite the main palace down a long mall. The Baroque style is by Rastrelli in 1756 for Elizabeth. She liked to entertain small groups of guests here. It is in poor condition now. Inside there was a special mechanism for lifting the dining table and guests to the upper floor for dinner, after which the table was lowered and the room converted into a ball room.

 
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This gate is an exit to the grounds of the Catherine Palace. A multitude of vendors have set up shops on the far side to sell all manner of souvineers for tourists. In Elizabeth's and Catherine's eras this was the kitchen for the Hermitage located nearby. It was constructed in 1775 beside the French garden.

 
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The main ballroom in the Catherine palace. Note the elaborate wood floor. This was designed by Rastrelli and is 154 feet long by 59 feet wide. The ceiling painted by Giuseppe Valeriani in 1755 depicts "Russia's Triumph". It is a series of allegorical scenes glorifying Russian victories and achievements.

 
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Room with a typical stove and desk. of Tsar Alexander I - photo from Denna Buckner.

 
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Detail of ceiling in the Hall of Portraits - courtesy of Denna Buckner.

 
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Gallery with paintings of famous Russian naval victory at Chesma.

 
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Dining room with table of Order of St. George- with usual stove in corner. - photo courtesy of Denna Buckner

 
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The famous Amber room - reconstruction completed in May 2003.

 
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The Amber room - detail of one wall.

 
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Painting of Russian naval victory at Chesma.

 
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Painting of Russian naval victory at Chesma.

 
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Grand ballroom.

 
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Portrait of Catherine II in uniform of the Preobrazhenski Guards Regiment above throne. This is the same painting by Vigilius Erichsen as the one that hangs in the throne room at Peterhof, but the throne is different.

 
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Detail of wall with mirrors and gilt decorations.

 
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Portrait of Catherine II.

 
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Large vase

 
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