St. Petersburg. Russia.

  1. Gatchina Imperial Palace is the only one 'palace-castle' in the suburbs of St. Petersburg
  2. State rooms of the palace ,exquisite by architectural design,are a perfect example of the style of Russian classicism at the turn of XVIII - XIX centuries.
  3. At various times the owners of the castle were: a favorite of Catherine II - Grigory Orlov, the members of the imperial family from Paul I to Nicholas II
  4. There is an open underground passage leading from the chambers of the palace to Silver Lake.

            There is a monumental building, built of Pudost limestone, at the highest point of the hill on the shore of Silver Lake in Gatchina . But, despite the fact that the architectural look of the palace gives rise to associations with medieval castles, it is a distinctive product of Russian architecture, created by several generations of artists - outstanding architect and designer Antonio Rinaldi, Vincenzo Brenna, Andreian Zakharov, Nikolay Lvov, Andrey Voronikhin, Andrey Stakenschneider. Jacob Mettenleyter,a court painter who painted the ceiling, portraits, landscapes lived in Gatchina.

            The architectural look of the palace corresponded to the artistic style of classicism, popular at the time. Rinaldi has achieved the unity of the strict majestic building with park landscape.

            Construction of the palace was completed in 1781. Grigory Orlov, as a very rich man, turned it into a luxurious residence; to decorate it, works of art, statues, paintings, furniture, books, weapons were acquired. After the death of Count Orlov, Catherine II bought the Gatchina estate and gave it to her son, Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich, the future Emperor Paul I. Paul I remoulded Gatchina according to his own ideas and taste: the city has come to resemble a military camp, the palace has undergone changes as well.

            In 1851, a monument to Emperor Paul I was set up in the square in front of the palace, the sculptor was Vitaly.

            In May 19, 1918 the palace became a state museum, where artistic values of global significance were focused: the exposition and funds totaled about 54 thousand items. On September 9, 1941 Gatchina was occupied by Nazi troops. The Nazis burned the palace during their retreat in 1944.

            The palace was occupied by the Naval Academy until 1976, then - by Scientific Research Institute "Elektronstandart", closed military-industrial complex of the USSR. In May 1976, the liberation of the building for complex scientific restoration and museumfication was started . Three halls of the gala suite were open on May 8, 1985.

            Currently, the guided tour of the palace includes a suite of state rooms of the XVIII century. You can visit numerous permanent and temporary exhibitions.


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