For those who don’t know, I visited Russia when I was 16 and stayed in St. Petersburg for a week. This place has so much to offer with its dreamy canals, iconic architecture and History, it’s a must for any History lover. One place always sticks in my mind, and it was only recently when speaking to CurvyGirlThin that I remembered all the treasured memories I have of this place. If you visit St. Petersburg I recommend one place to you, Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin. Yes, the Winter Palace is BEAUTIFUL and absolutely incredible but Catherine’s ‘Summer Palace’ is a sea of gold, silver and blue. A little gem on the outskirts that is overlooked but just as sweet.
Catherine’s Palace is in Tsarskoye Selo also known as the Tsar’s Village. It was the town that the imperial family took residency in and now forms modern day Pushkin. I don’t think you’d be surprised to hear it forms one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites collectively designated to the Russian City of St. Petersburg (Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments)- catchy.
It was originally commissioned in 1717 by Catherine I of Russia and expanded in 1733 by Empress Elizabeth. In 1752, faced with the old look of the palace and little she could do to jazz it up, she asked architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli to demolish the residence and building a new, grander, Rococo style building which is what we see today. This building no doubt glorifies the wealth of Empress Elizabeth and would have dazzled visitors then as it does today.
If you’re a fan of gold, you’d like to hear that more than 100 kgs of gold were used on the façade and to make the scheme just that bit grander a large elegant garden surrounds the building.
Take note when you visit to look up to the golden figurines much like those seen in Greece or Rome, with Michaelangeloesque bodies supporting the façade. There are certainly some hot totties here.
The most famous room within this building is the Amber Room (Yantarnmaya Komnata), which is a room covered in amber panels and gold leaf along with mirrors, a baroque dream. Unfortunately we now see the reconstruction as the room was looted in World War II and recreated in 2003. Some consider it an Eighth Wonder of the World.
If I’ve enticed you enough to want to visit Catherine’s Palace it is pretty easy to get to. If you’re in St. Petersburg you can visit this palace as its only 30km away. I’d recommend making the most out of this and going on a tour to gain insight into every element of architecture and hidden treasure (especially those within the ballroom). But if you’re wanting to do the trip yourself, then you can get the Metro to Moskovskaya station and use the local bus (called Marshruthka) to Pushkin. Entry is open 10am to 6pm with the last entry at 5pm.
It’s a little like visiting the Palace of Versailles if you’re in Paris. Well worth the detour so take the ride out.
Have you thought about visiting Pushkin? Read more travel posts here.