The breathtaking Catherine’s Palace is about 16 miles south from St Petersburg and better known in Russian as ‘Tsarskoye Selo’ (now Pushkin) or the ‘Tsar’s Village’. I mentioned this exquisite spot in my ’48 Hours to St Petersburg’ post however because it is well worth a visit for at least half a day, I wanted to create a separate post so you can all admire the beauty with me!
The palace was named and designed for Catherine II, otherwise known as Catherine the Great, by Rastrelli in the Rococo style. Catherine was a German princess who married a Russian prince.
Born in Prussia in 1729 Catherine the Great married into the Russian royal family in 1745. After her husband ascended to the throne as Peter III, Catherine orchestrated a coup to become Empress of Russia in 1762 and one of the most powerful women in the world.
She is remembered for her intelligence, determination and modelled herself on her grandfather-in-law Peter The Great who sought to expand Russian territories and to
Catherine was also shockingly extravagant, who never wore a dress twice and would order over 1,000 bottles of French champagne (!!!!) for a dinner event! There are truly few women in history more fascinating than Catherine the Great and visiting this palace was awe-inspiring.
Originally it was given to Catherine I, Peter the Great’s wife. It was then her daughter Empress Elizabeth who spent a fortune on it and named it in her honour. It was the favorite residence of the second Catherine (“the Great”) who spent much of her time here and added neoclassical additions to the original Baroque structure.
The exquisite white main staircase leads you to the staterooms, drawing rooms and chapel. Among the magnificent staterooms is the Grand Hall (as seen below) lined with enormous mirrors and windows creating an illusion of space, carved gilded wood
However the jewel in the palace and the 8th wonder of the world is the Amber Room, which as the name suggests is floor to ceiling decorated in amber. We weren’t allowed to take photos but this website has some right here. This unique interior displays over 6 tonnes of amber boards and panels creating a
The expansive grounds of the palace (as seen below) include the landscaped gardens commissioned by Catherine the Great so don’t forget to leave some time to stroll through these beautiful gardens. You’ll find pavilions, sculptures and the Great Pond. One of the most beautiful neoclassical buildings in Russia is the Cameron Gallery where Catherine would hold formal dinners.
Thank you so much for all the interest, all the support and all the love I have had for my Russian travels series with Volga Dream and Cox and Kings. For me, visiting Russia was beyond anything I could have imagined. It’s a country I have longed to visit ever since I was a child and I’m just so happy and blessed to have shared that journey with you.
I felt completely and utterly overwhelmed by the beauty of Catherine’s Palace. It’s, without
As mentioned above, Catherine’s Palace is about 16 miles outside of St Petersburg but in my opinion a must-have thing to do if you’re staying in the city. I traveled with Volga Dream through Cox and Kings for my Russian adventures and couldn’t recommend them more for a truly perfect itinerary. We were actually based longer in beautiful St Petersburg for a few days and hence were able to have the joy of experiencing this spot for half a day, which I would recommend to any other budding visitors.
If you’ve just stumbled across this post, you can recap the whole of my Russian travels right here that I took with Volga Dream. The first stop was the magnificent St. Petersburg. then we set sail for Rural Russia with the first stop the charming Svirstroy, then the otherworldy Kizhi Island, the fascinating Goritsy the beauty of
If you loved Catherine’s Palace chances are you will love the next post I have for you: the magnificent Peterhof!