Outside St. Petersburg

Peterhof (Petrodvorets)

The world-famous "capital of fountains" or "Russian Versailles" was founded by Peter I. In 1918 the main summer residence of the Russian emperors became state property and by 1941 ten museums of art and history had been opened on its premises. During the war of 1941-45, Peterhof was razed to the ground by the Nazis. Restoration work began in as early as 1944, after the Nazis were expelled from the town, and, for the most part, the ensemble was returned to its former splendour. » Continue reading


In 1777, work began on an estate by the banks of the Slavianka, given by Catherine II to her son, the future Emperor Paul I. Originally, only two modest wooden cottages were built. Later, in 1782-86, Charles Cameron erected a palace and laid out a park. The harmonious ensemble of Pavlovsk was created within a period of 50 years. » Continue reading

Pushkin (Tsarskoe Selo)

Work on the palace and park in Tsarskoye Selo was started in the early 8th century at a site called Saari Mois ("elevated land") by the local Finnic inhabitants. The place was eventually transformed into the Russian tsarskoye ), or "Tsar's village". A small stone ace (1717-23, architect Johann Friedrich Braunstein) was first built Peter I's wife, Empress Catherine I. » Continue reading


The village Strelna and the Konstantinovsky Palace located inside it, can, without a doubt, be called one of the most interesting sites in the Leningrad region. The history of this suburb is unique: during the past three centuries it belonged to the imperial family, but none of its owners lived in it for a long time. First, Peter I wanted to construct a country residence for himself in Strelna, but construction went on for a very long time and ended only when the Empress Elizabeth ascended the Russian throne. » Continue reading


This suburb of St. Petersburg is much older than the city itself. In 1499 it was just a small village called Hotchino and its inhabitants were people from Novgorod. Then it was occupied by Livonia and then by Sweden. In 1721, after the war between Russia and Sweden, Gatchina became a Russian settlement again. The Empress Catherine II gave it to her favorite Orlov, for whom the palace was built under the direction of architect Rinaldi. » Continue reading

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