Oranienbaum was one of the country residences of the royal house. It was given as a gift by Peter I to his minion ? the prince A.Menshikov. The prince began building of the ensemble of the palace and park in 1710. He called the country estate ? Oranienbaum that meant ?Orange tree?. At that time Great Menshikov?s palace was created.
It divided the ensemble into to parts: the regular Lower Garden and the landscape Upper Park with the Lower Pond. The palace and the Lower garden were the examples of the baroque art of the XVIII century. In 1727 Menshikov fell into disgrace and the country mansion was handed over to the Office of the buildings. In 1737 a naval hospital was established in Great Menshikov?s palace.
In 1743-62 the mansion became the residence of the grand duke Peter Fyodorovich ? the future Emperor Pater III. For him the ?poteshnaya? (funny) fortress Peterstadt was created in the Upper Park. In 1762 Catherine II came to the throne and she ordered to build Her Majesty?s Own Datcha in the Upper park of Oranienbaum. The pavilion of the Gangway Hill and the Chinese palace were a part of the ensemble of Her Majesty?s Own Datcha and they were sole buildings in Russia, designed in the Rococo style. In 1796 Oranienbaum was the residence of the future Emperor Alexander I and in 1831 the grand duke Michael Petrovich lived here.
After the Revolution the ensemble of Oranienbaum was transformed into museum. It is interesting that Oranienbaum is the only suburb that didn?t suffered from the German occupation during Second World War. The UNESCO gave Oranienbaum a status of the world heritage because the ensemble is the original monument of the decoration of the XVIII century.
Her Majesty's Own Dacha
Her Majesty?s Own Datcha is the architectural composition of the Pavilion of the Gangway Hill and the Chinese palace. The whole of the composition was designed by A.Rinaldi for the future Empress Catherine II in 1760-1770-s. The Upper park, laid out by G.Bush, also attributes to Her Majesty?s Own Datcha.
In 1762 the ?Poteshnaya? (funny) fortress was created by the order of Peter III. It satisfied the requirements of the fortification of those times. The fortress was built of wood in the shape of star with 12 ends. The fortress was encircled with a moat and was banked. In the fortress there were 4 bastions with 12 cannons, the arsenal, quarters, the houses of officers, the Lutheran church and the other buildings.
The Great Menshikov Palace
From the construction of the Great Menshkov?s palace began the construction of Oranienbaum. The palace was built for A.Menshikov in 1710-1725 by J.Schedel and G.Fontana. In 1762-1770 the architect A.Rinaldi rebuilt the palace. From the construction of the Great Menshkov?s palace began the construction of Oranienbaum.