Strelna is another suburb of St. Petersburg, which is located about 6km east of the more popular Peterhof. Although Strelna isn’t as popular with the tourist groups, it is most definitely worth a visit to see the Presidential Palace, which is used to host official delegations for example the G8 summit and the G20 summit.
The palace has an interesting history, and even though it first started to be constructed in the 18th century, it wasn’t really finished until 2003! Peter the Great originally wanted Strelna to be the location of his summer residence, but after the death of his first architect and the discovery that fountains would be difficult to construct on such ground, he focused his attention on Peterhof.
Elizabeth wanted to realise her father’s original plans and so asked the royal architect, Rastrelli, to expand the current design. However, he was overwhelmed with projects at Tsarskoe Selo and Peterhof, that he never got round to completing Elizabeth’s wishes. Emperor Paul I gave the unfinished palace to his son, who completed it in 1807.
During the Soviet period, it was first used as a children’s camp, and then a secondary school. The palace was devastated in World War II and it was only in 2001 that Putin decided to restore the palace in time for the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg. It was completed following the original designs and was opened in 2003.
The rooms are grand, just like all the other suburban palaces. Noteworthy rooms are the Blue Room, Marble Room and the Wine Cellar, which stores more than 13,000 bottles of elite wine!