The Palace-and-Park ensemble of Tsarskoye Selo - a former country residence of Russian emperors - is a fascinating monument of the world's architectural and gardening arts of the XVIII-XX centuries. Its three parks occupy the area of 600 ha, on which over 100 architectural constructions rise: from magnificent palaces and grand monuments to intimate pavilions and park sculptures. The compositional center of the Tsarskoselsky ensemble is Catherine's Palace, containing exquisite decorative objects, furniture, Russian and Western-European paintings, unique collections of porcelain, amber, arms, decorative bronze, sculptures etc. Nowadays, the collection of the museum Tsarskoye Selo numbers about 20,000 items. The Tsarskoselsky Lyceum, an elite school established in Russia in the beginning of the XX century for noble families offspring which the great Russian poet A.S.Pushkin attended, is situated next to the palace. The exposition "Recollections in the Alexander's Palace" is open in the last residence of Russian emperors, architectural chef d'oeuvre of the XVIII century (architect G.Guarenghi). In its 12 halls, with authentic or partially reconstructed attire, artworks like paintings, graphics, decorative and applied art, costumes, personal belongings etc. are represented, related to the life of its crowned owners.
Open : 10:00 - 17:00|
Closed on TUE and on the last Mon of Every month.
territory was a member of Old Russian State from time immemorial.
In 12th century the territory was called "The Izhora land
of Master Great Novgorod". In 17th century the "Izhora
land" was occupied by Swede. Russia began to return this
land in a result of victories in the beginning of the North
War in 1702. On the site of future Tsarskoe Selo there was a
small estate - Saris hoff, Saaris moisio (a country house on
the height) and the set - expression "Saritskaya or Sarskaya
country house" appeared in Russian. In 1710 -1720 on the
site off the estate there was a country tsar residence. In 1719-1720
near the country house on the territory of a future town there
was a sloboda of church servants and there were measures on
its planing and constructing, and with the beginning of palace
building the Sarskoe selo was renamed into the Tsarskoe selo.
During two centuries the Tsarskoe selo was the summer Parade
Emperor residence; its creating dependent much on personal tastes
and caprises of changing owners. Their ideas and projects were
designed by hundreds talanted architects, artists, gardeners.
Since 1834 the Tsarskoe selo became "The Tsar" estate,
belonged to the Tsar Monarch. Since that time it couldn't be
willed, devided or given to somebody, it belonged to a new Tsar
Here, in a cosy site, near the capital Saint-Petersburg, the
Emperor family was not only a state family, whose life was a
state politics, but also a numerous friendly family with all
human interests and merriment's.
Imagine an entire room covered with panels of amber, glowing and catching the light - no wonder the Amber Room at Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin) was considered to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. King Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia presented the room as a diplomatic gift to Peter the Great in 1717. after Peter had admired it while a guest in Charlottenburg, Berlin.
About Amber room
The Alexander Palace
Alexander Palace or the New Tsarskoselsky Palace was founded
in 1792 by the order of the Empress Ekaterina II and given
as a gift to the wedding of her favorite grandson, the Grand
Duke Alexander Pavlovich (the future Emperor Alexander I )
with the Great Duchess Elisaveta Alexeevna. In May 1796, in
the last year of ruling of the Empress Ekaterina II, the palace
building was finished and the great Duke Alexander Pavlovich
with his wife moved to the New Palace on 12 June 1796.
The project of the Alexander Palace belonged to the famous
Italian architect G.Quarneghi, the palace was built under
the direction of the architect P.Nejolov. Such famous architects
as L.Ruska, V.Stasov, A.Ton, D.Efimov, A.Stakenshneider, A.Vidor,
S.Danini, R.Melzer took part in the decoration and rebuilding
of the interiors of the Alexander palace.
The palace represents a long two-story building with two wings:
in the centre of the main North facade there is a beautiful
through colonnade, consisted of two rows of columns.
The interiors, designed by G.Quarenghi, corresponded to the
classical canons, in forms of which the whole building is
constructed. The Halls of the Parade suite were situated along
the garden facade of the palace. In the centre of the suite
there was a hall with semi-rotunda divided into three parts
by wide arches. The middle part of the room got the name of
Semi-Round hall, from the East there was a Portrait hall,
from the West there was a Brilliant hall (or a Raspberry Hall).
The Emperor Nikolai I loved the Alexander palace very much
and paid great attention to its improvement
For his grandson, the Great Duke Alexander Alexandrovich,
the future Emperor Alexander III, the palace was his Grand
Duke Residence. Today the Alexander palace is associated with
the last page of the history of Russian Empire. In this palace
the last Russian Tsar rules for 12 years; the family of Nikolai
II moved to tragic Ekaterinburg final on 1 August 1917 from
The famous palace was closed for visitors until recent time;
only few people knew that there were saved the interiors of
the Parade suite and a part of the decoration of private apartments
of the Emperor Nikolai II and the Empress Alexandra Fiodorovna.
The exposition "Recollections in the Alexander palace"
was opened in August 1997 in the left wing of the palace,
there were household and private things of the Emperor, his
wife and their daughters - Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia
and the son - Tsarevich Alexey.
The Alexander park
Alexander Park attached to the Ekaterina palace from the side
of the Parade-ground has an area about 200 hectares. It is
divided into the region with regular planning - the New Garden
- and a landscape park. During the reign of Ekaterina I a
piece of natural forest, situated behind the palace, was fenced
and turned into a Menagerie where wild animals for Tsar hunting
In the middle of 18th century a Menagerie was fenced by a
stone wall with bastions in the corners. In two of them there
were entertainment pavilions. In the centre of a menagerie
S.Chevakisnky erected a hunting pavilion "Monleigu",
reconstructed and designed by the project of F.B.Rastrelli.
Between the palace and a Menagerie a New garden was located,
crossed by cross-coming alleys. The surrounding canal was
named the Cross Canal. The author of the project of a New
Garden was N.Girar, but the building was held without his
participance; the works were directed by K.Shreider and M.Kondakov.
By the late 1750's much of the planned in a New Garden stayed
unstarted, and with loosing interest to regular gardens the
first plan of its decoration was not realized.
In 1780's to the South of a New Garden the building of a Chinese
village was started, and in1790's to the North of it the creating
of the garden at the building of the Alexander Palace was
also started. The garden in landscape style like English landscape
parks that were in fashion in the last third of 18th century
was created by I.Bush (the junior).
In 1810's the work at this garden was continued by P.Nejolov
and D.Manners, and since 1817 were held by the architect A.Menelas
who was asked to create a new huge park on the site of old
Menagerie. A garden master built in a new park a whole complex
of neogothic constructions - the Arsenal, a White Tower, Shapel,
Pavilion lam, Pensioner Stable and other - for a very short
In the beginning of 20th century the North -East territory
of the Alexander Park, stretched from the Alexander palace
to the Egypt gate was built over. Here the Fjodorovsky town
The Ekaterina palace
Ekaterina palace like a fairy castle towers on the top of
the hill, that name to the future Tsar residence - Tsarskoe
Selo. It adores and charms, its blue facades strikes by their
grand sizes; the original peculiarity of Russian character
was reflected in it - the emotional perception.
In winter gloomy doy and the rays of rare Saint-Petersburg
sun, filed by expression and inner tension the walls of the
palace radiate merry energy, charging the surroundings.
So happened that the Ekaterina (Big) palace had three women
to thanks for its birth - the Empresses Ekaterina I, Elisaveta
Petrovna and Ekaterina II, who owned the palace in 18th century
and who paid great attention to its building. Their fantasy,
projects and personal taste were developed by hundreds talanted
architects, artists, gardeners.
The luxury halls of the Ekaterina palace all Russian monarchs
lived, worked, gave audiences, made diplomatic receptions
for foreign ambassadors and parade balls and masquerades.
The Empress Elisaveta Petrovna, the daughter of Peter I and
Ekaterina I, and later Ekaterina II spent there not only summer
but also winter.
Since 1718 the palace was constructed by the architects I.Brownstein,
M.Zemstov, A.Kvasov, S.Chevakinsky, F.B.Rastrelli, Ch.Kameron,
D.Quarneghi, V.Stasov, I.Moigetti and others. F.B.Rastrelli
had a leading role in erecting the palace: since 1748 he directed
all building works. Rastrelli defined the parameters of the
building, designed the basic elements of art decoration of
the facades and numerous interiors. The constructing of a
grand building 306 meters long was held from 1744 till 1756.
The architectural image of the Ekaterina palace, built on
light effects and decorative contrasts, typical for the Baroque
style, striked by its splendor. In its interiors different
art styles, mainly Baroque and Classicism, were used. Some
rooms reconstructed in the mid 19th century got the decoration
in the historism style.
The Emperors and the members of the Romanov family spent time
in this country residence with great pleasure. It is to be
noted that each of new masters (including the last one - the
Emperor Nikolai II) had the duty to change somehow the art
decoration of the Tsar apartments and numerous rooms for Tsar's
children, guests and servants.
There were special rooms for keeping sets, furniture, table-clothes
and other household things. Numerous gof-furiers, tafeldekkers,
cofeshenks and other court servants looked after the palace
The storage rooms were in official rooms of the palace and
its wings - circumferences, surrounded the parade yard. There
were kitchens, where the food for the Tsar was cooked.
The Halls for the parade receptions were on the second floor
on the side of the parade yard were organized in line one
by one. They made so-called Gold suite. The separate appartments
were given for living rooms. They were called the Small suite.
In the Small suite there were the private rooms of the Empress
Maria Fjodorovna, a widow of Paul I, the Great Duke Alexander
Pavlovich (the future Emperor Alexander I) and his brother
In the mid -19th century the Emperor Alexander II ordered
to decorate the rooms for him in the low floor of Zubov wing,
built in 1770's by the order of Ekaterina II. There his favourite
Ekaterina Dolgorukaja lived with her children. In 1880 in
one of the rooms of the Ekaterina palace there was their marriage.
Unfortunately, the private rooms of the Tsar family were not
saved until nowadays. Part of them was reconstructed after
the October revolution because of rearranging the palace into
the Historic Life Museum; the great park was not restored
after the Great Patriotic War.
Now the exposition of the museum consists of twenty-six restored
halls including the Parade halls of the Golden Suite, designed
by the architect Rastrelli, the private rooms of the son of
Ekaterina II - the Great Duke Paul Petrovich and some interiors
belonged to the Emperor Alexander I. The Before church (Stasovsky)
Hall, created by order of Nikolai I, and the Parade Marble
Staircase, decorated by the architect I.Monigetti during the
reign of Alexander II, were restored the last.
The Ekaterina Park
Ekaterina Park consists of two parts; the regular old garden
and the landscape "English Park".
The old garden was planned on three ledges in front of the
palace in 1720's by gardeners Ja.Roosen and I.Foht. At the
same time the Mirrors ponds appeared on the third ledge.
During the reign of Elisaveta Petrovna, when Tsarskoe Selo
was turned into a great country residence, the garden was
enlarged, replanned and decorated by marble sculptures, mainly
by Venice sculptors of the early 18th century - P.Baratta,
A.Tarksia, D.Bonazzo and others, brought to Petersburg during
the reign of Peter I. The clipped spinneys and laced stalls
were set up in front of the palace. F.B.Rastrelli designed
the pavilions "The Hermitage" and "Grotto"
in the garden.
In 1770's the architects V. and I.Nejolov built "The
Admiralty" complex, the Hermitage kitchen, Upper and
By the end of the 18th century the interest the regular park
disappeared, and in 1770's to the South of the Old park the
landscape or "English" garden was started to form.
It was created like English landscape parks. Main works were
held in 1770-1780's. The first plan of the Landscape Park
was designed by the architect V.Nejolov. But the basic plan
of its creation was designed by G.Bush - the experienced landscape
master, which directed the building since 1771. The garden
created in a new style was filled by various architectural
constructions, monuments to Glory and sculptures proved the
great reign of the Empress Ekaterina II.
The architectural ensemble of Charles Kameron
ensemble, created in 1780-1794 by the architect Ch.Kameron,
attaches to the South Wing of the Ekaterina palace, on the
first floor of which in 1790's the favourite of EkaterinaII
Platon Zubov lived; that is why the wing was called "Zubovsky".
The architectural ensemble of Ch.Kameron includes some buildings
of different use, joined by common art design: the Kameron
gallery, Cold baths with Agate rooms, Handing and Colour gardens
and the Ramp.
Even in the beginning of 1770's the Empress Ekaterina II had
an idea to build an architectural construction in Greek and
Rome style in the Ekaterina Park. She wrote to the sculptor
E.Falkone: "I wold like to have a project of an ancient
house planned as in Ancient time: I am able to build such
Greek and Rome rhapsody in my Tsarskoselskiy garden".
Many famous masters were attracted by the possibility of creating
such construction in the residence of Ekaterina the Great.
The French Sh. De Vayi suggested to erect the building devoted
to sciences and art their patroness Minerva. The greatness
expert of antiquity Sh. Klerino suggested to build "ancient
house", based on composition of Diokletian's terms, Which
in its siges supprassed the Ekaterina palace and that is why
was not accepted by the Empress. Her wish to have "An
ancient house" was performed by Ch.Kameron, invited to
Tsarskoe selo from Scotland. He created a wonderful construction,
which is often called "terms of Ch.Kameron".
During the Second World War the ensemble was badly damaged.
In 1948 it was opened for visitors again.
Address: Puhskin (Tsarskoe Selo), suburb of St.Petersburg