Catherine's Palace, an 18th Century imperial residence, is located within Tsars village which is around 24km from the city of St. Petersburg. Tsars Village, or Tsarskoye Selo in Russian, was a popular summer residence among the Russian nobility who enjoyed escaping city life for the peace and tranquillity of the so-called village. It has immaculately maintained gardens and a number of small pavilions within the gardens. There are also many bridges over the river and many of these are in the beautiful chinoiserie style.
Construction work began on the palace in 1717 and it is named after Catherine I who was the wife of Peter the Great who is credited with founding the city of St. Petersburg. The pristine blue and white exterior facade with its opulent gold finish is stunning, especially against a perfect blue sky backdrop.
The exterior decorative features which you can see above in gold paint were originally decorated with over 100kg of real gold but were changed by Catherine II, or Catherine the Great as she is often referred to as, when she found out the cost of the gold. She viewed the extensive gold decorations as reckless extravagance and only allowed some gold finishing to remain.
The interior of Catherine’s Palace is even more lavish than the exterior and the Great Hall and the majority of the rooms have stunning golden façades. A tour of the inside of Catherine’s Palace is a must in order to see some amazing artwork and incredibly ornate ceilings and floors and to generally get a flavour for the flamboyant way of life in which Russian royalty lived.
If you do decide to take a tour of the interior of the Palace then you are given some rather fetching blue covers for your shoes to minimise any damage to the intricate wood floors in certain parts of the palace.
|Definitely one of my hottest looks...|
Once inside and fitted with your highly attractive shoes covers you are greeted with awe inspiring and intricate decor which you could easily spend hours admiring.
|Stunning gold facade in the Ballroom|
|Opulent table setting|
|Traditional Russian dress which Catherine the Great would have worn|
If you do decide to explore the interior of Catherine's Palace, which I highly recommend, then you are required to take a tour. Unless you organise this before arrival all tours are generally given in Russian so it's best to contact a tour company before you intend to visit.
Also inside Catherine's Palace is the world famous Amber Room which is created of amber panels which are backed with gold leaf and mirrors. It was created for Peter the Great in the early 18th Century with pieces from Berlin City Palace. It was then destroyed during World War II when the Germans invaded, after a failed attempt to hide it beneath ordinary wall coverings. It was taken to pieces by the Germans and transported away from St. Petersburg but the whereabouts of the pieces have never been discovered and there are many theories surrounding it.
Under orders from Vladimir Putin reconstruction of the Amber Room began in 1982 and it was finally re-opened to the public in 2003. There is an extra charge if you wish to visit the Amber Room, which has been called the eighth wonder of the world.