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Tsarskoye Selo

Tsarskoye Selo

Tsarskoye Selo ? the suburb of Petersburg ? was created as a country residence of the imperial family. In 1710 Tsarskoye Selo was given as a gift by Peter I to his future wife Marta Scavronskaya (Catherine I). In 1718-24 a two-storey stone palace and a garden with terraces and ponds were erected. Under the Empress Elizabeth Tsarskoye Selo was turned into the ensemble of palaces and parks.

In 1740-50-s old Catherine?s palace was reconstructed and in 1751-56 it was re-designed by B.Rastrelli who created a new palace in the style of Russian baroque. In 1755 the world-famous Amber Study was placed in Catherine?s palace.

At that time the regular garden was widened and was adorned with sculptures and pavilions. In 1770-s the New Landscape park (Alexander?s park) was laid out and in 1792-95 Alexander?s Palace was built here by G.Quarenghi. In 1811-1843 the Lyceum of Tsarskoye Selo where Alexander Pushkin learned worked in the wing of the Catherine?s palace. In 1905 Alexander?s palace became a main residence of the Emperor Nicolay II. In 1918 the palaces and parks of Tsarskoye Selo were handed over to the museums. During the Blockade of Leningrad the German forces occupied Tsarskoye Selo (that had a new name ? Pushkin) and destroyed, and damaged the ensemble of palaces and parks of Tsarskoye Selo. They also stole the Amber Chamber that was supposed to be the eighth wonder of the world. It was completely restored in 2003. In 1992 Tsarskoye Selo got a status of the culture preserve and nowadays it is guarded by the UNESCO.

The culture preserve Tsarskoye Selo consists of Great Catherine?s palace in the building of that B.Rastrelli, M.Zemtzov, S.Chevakinsky and Ch.Cameron took part, and Catherine?s park that is divided into the regular Old garden and the landscape English park with the Great pond and different pavilions (the Grotto, the Hermitage, the Admiralty and others), sculptures and the military memorials. Tarskoye Selo also included Alexander?s Park, divided into the regular New garden and the landscape park with 3 ponds and artificial mounds, and Alexander?s palace, built in the style of classicism.

The Large and Small Caprices
The Large and Small Caprices

At the entrance to Catherine?s Park stand the Great and the Little Caprices. They are the artificial embankments with the arch spans above the so called Undercaprice road. There is a legend, connected with the title of the Caprices. They said that the Empress Catherine II doubted in approving the budget of the building of the Caprices.


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Small Ponds
Small Ponds

The ponds are the integral part of Catherine?s Park. Dutch architects Y.Roosen and E.Vogt designed the regular park, located at the three terraces in front of the palace in the 20-s of the XVIII century. They placed the Smooth ponds at the third terrace. At the same time the other two ponds were created at the Vangaza river ?the Upper (Grand) and the Mill ponds (the future Lower ponds).


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The Fountain: Girl With a Pitcher (The Milkmaid)
The Fountain: Girl With a Pitcher (The Milkmaid)

The fountain Girl with a Pitcher or the Dairymaid is the sole statue, specially made for Catherine?s Park. The fountain is situated on the bank of the Great pond. The figure of a girl was placed in 1816. The sculpture was created by P.Sokolov on the basis of the fable of J.de La Fontaine ?The dairymaid and the pot of milk?.


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The Military Memorials
The Military Memorials

At the territory of Catherine?s Park there is a complex of the memorials, devoted to Russian-Turkish wars. The Moreya?s column was placed in 1771 by the order of Catherine II. It was devoted to the victory of Russian over Turks in the battle, happened near the Moreya peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea.


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The Grotto Pavilion
The Grotto Pavilion

The Grotto pavilion locates on the bank of the Great pond. It was built by the order of the Empress Elizabeth by the project of B.Rastrelli. It was the first building in the Catherine?s Park. Designed in the baroque style, the Grotto has the octahedral dome and relief walls. Masks of the patrons of water elements such as Neptune adorn the walls of the Grotto.


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The Tsarskoye Selo Liceum
The Tsarskoye Selo Liceum

The Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum worked in 1811-1843 in the Palace outhouse of Catherine?s Palace. The Emperor Alexander I ordered to create the Tsarskoye Selo Liceum as the institute of higher education of the children of the nobles. The syllabus was developed by M.Speransky and was oriented on the training of civil servants of the highest ranks.


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The Alexander Palace
The Alexander Palace

Alexander?s Palace or New Palace in Tsarskoye Selo was given as a gift to the future Emperor Alexander I by his grandmother, the Empress Catherine II. The palace was built by the project of G.Quarenghi in 1792-1796.


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The Cameron Gallery
The Cameron Gallery

Cameron?s Gallery was the project of Catherine II, reflecting her world-outlook. The gallery was designed by Ch.Cameron for walks and philosophical conversations. The building consists of 2 floors, expressing the allegory of the contrast of objective reality. The ground floor is made of stone, mined in the village Pudost, and serves as the foundation for the colonnade of the second floor.


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The Catherine Park
The Catherine Park

Catherine?s Park is divided into two parts: the Old Garden ? the regular park and the English park ? the landscape park. Peter the Great supposed to found the Dutch (Old) park. The legend said that Peter I planted the oak and plane trees with his own hands. The Old Garden was projected by the Dutch architects Y.Roosen and E.Vogt in the 1720-s. They placed the Old Garden at the three ledges in front of the palace.


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The Catherine Palace
The Catherine Palace

Catherine?s Palace is the reflection of the different epochs. It was built in 1717 by I.Braunstain as the summer residence of Catherine I. But the Empress Elizabeth decided that the palace was up-to-date and needed reconstructing. B.Rastrelli rebuilt the palace and it acquired its modern look: a sky-blue facade with white figures of caryatids, atlantes, lion masks and with gilt adornments.


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