Palaces and Parks

The Russian tsars and empresses spent winters in the Winter Palace (now the main building of the State Hermitage Museum), while during summer they lived in their summer residences with magnificent palaces, surrounded by beautiful large parks. The very wealthy Russian noble families like the Yusupov wanted to show everyone that the splendour of their private palaces can compete with the palaces of the Tsars - follow the Russian tsars and Russia's richest aristocrats in the following guided tours and excursions:

Winter Palace (see Hermitage) * Catherine Palace and Park with Amber Chamber * Peterhof, the Capital of Fountains * Pavlovsk, a Private Imperial Palace * Yusupov Palace, a Palace of the Russian Nobility

Catherine Palace and Park with Amber Chamber (Tsarskoe Selo, The City of Pushkin)

Catherine Park. Pavillion Grotto at the Great Lake

Catherine Palace

The Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo (or City of Pushkin), which was founded as a summer residence for the wife of Peter the Great, Catherine I, is a popular attraction for guests of St. Petersburg who want to see the Amber Chamber, the "Eighth Wonder of the World", with their own eyes. The Amber Room is, however, only one of the many highlights in the Catherine Palace and Park - no wonder that Tsarskoe Selo became the favourite summer residence of Catherine the Great. Masterpieces of different architects and architectural styles are combined in the ensemble of this marvellous summer residence of the Russian tsars. The magnificent Bright Gallery, with 800 square meters the largest hall of the Catherine Palace, as well as Rastrelli’s Golden Enfilade make the guests of the residence admire the splendour of baroque style rooms richly decorated with gilded carvings, while the classical exteriors that follow, create the atmosphere of calm and thoughtfulness. The 100-hectare Catherine Park that includes many small pavilions, sculptures and picturesque ponds is also has two parts and consists of the regular French baroque garden and a shady English landscape park.Amber Chamber

The tour to the Catherine Palace takes about 4-5 hours to complete and can also be conducted on your departure day, if you're departing in the afternoon from St. Petersburg Pulkovo airport, as the Catherine Palace is just a short 20-30 minute drive from the airport.

The tour to the Catherine Palace goes particularly well with an excursion of the nearby Summer Residence of Tsar Paul I in Pavlovsk, as the two residences are only about 6 km apart. The combined trip takes about 7 hours. You may, alternatively, want to combine your visit to the Catherine Palace and Park with a Walk in Peterhof’s Lower Park, in a day trip of about 9 hours. Lunch in Russia´s most authentic Russian restaurant “Coach House” is very suitable for these tours.

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Peterhof, the "Russian Versailles"

Peterhof. Great Palace und Great Cascade

Peterhof, the former Tsar residence, lies about 25 miles southwest of St. Petersburg and belongs the most beautiful palace and park ensembles in Europe. The Great Peterhof Palace sprays the golden glow of the era of the magnificent baroque style of the Empress Elisabeth, while hosting the elegance of classicism from the time of Catherine the Great and commemorating the simple beauty of the oak cabinet of Peter the Great that highlights the character of St. Petersburg’s and Peterhof’s founder, who preferred simple houses to the magnificence of the palaces. This is witnessed by the modesty of his Travel Palace, which can be visited on the way to Peterhof in the Town of Strelna. Roman FountainFrom this wooden Travel Palace, the Tsar Peter I led the construction works in Peterhof, which was to become known as "Russian Versailles" and a magnificent "capital of fountains”. In the Upper Garden and the Lower Park that surround the Great Palace of Peterhof and cover over 120 hectares, one will enjoy the view of nearly 150 fountains and cascades, including the famous joking fountains, that are fun for children as well as adults.

The tour to Peterhof takes about 5-6 hours. The residence can be reached either by car or by hydrofoil from St. Petersburg. The Travel Palace of Peter I. in Strelna is only accessible by car. When travelling by car the excursion to enjoy the fountains in Peterhof’s Lower Park can be combined with a tour of the Catherine Palace and Park and would jointly take about 9 hours.

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Pavlovsk, the Private Palace of the Tsar Paul I

BedroomPaul I received the land for his Summer Residence in Pavlovsk from his mother Catherine the Great, near her favourite residence Tsarskoe Selo, on the occasion of the birth of his first son in 1777. Such architects as Cameron, Brenna, Quarengi, Woronochin and Rossi worked on the establishment of the Pavlovsk residence that resulted in an outstanding palace and park ensemble from 18-19th century. The Pavlovsk Park, with 600 hectares, belongs to the largest landscape parks in Europe and is home to over 50 different attractions, such as numerous pavilions, monuments, bridges, ponds, streams and the river Slavyanka with its high banks where the Great Palace of Pavlovsk was built.

PavlovskThe Great Palace of Pavlovsk houses a number of valuable artefacts, objects that belonged to the Palace’s owners, Paul and Mary, who brought them from their European tour. These artefacts include porcelain, carpets, bronze and furniture, made by the best European masters. Originally intended as a private residence of Paul, his wife Mary and their 10 children, Pavlovsk becomes representative gala palace when Paul becomes the Russian Tsar, Pavlovsk. Parkwhile also maintaining a very special private character, expressed in the special atmosphere of the pleasant cosiness, comfort and peace that fill the rooms of the palace.

The tour to Pavlovsk takes about 4 hours to complete; this excursion goes particularly well with a visit to the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace nearby, as these two imperial residences are only about 6 km apart. The combined trip takes about 7 hours. Lunch in Russia´s most authentic Russian restaurant “Coach House” is very suitable for this tour.

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Yusupov Palace, a Palace of Russia’s Richest Noble Family

Yusupov PalaceThe Yusupov Palace on the River Moyka is the most visited non-imperial in St. Petersburg. It belonged to the extremely rich aristocratic family Yusupov who possessed several palaces in St. Petersburg and even more around Russia. The luxurious decoration of the gala rooms almost allows the Yusupov Palace to compete with the palaces of the Russian tsars. It also houses a "small" private theatre for nearly 200 spectators. But the palace not only shows the visitors the life of one of the richest families in Russia, but also tells the fascinating and mysterious story of the murder of the monk Grigory Rasputin, the adviser of the last Russian tsar family of Nicolas II. Rasputin was killed by Prince Felix Yusupov among others in the Yusupov Palace on Moyka river on 17th December 1916. The wax figure exhibition in the Yusupov Palace describes this event very vividly.

The tour to the Yusupov Palace takes about 2.5 hours to complete; this excursion goes well with the City Tour or a Boat Trip, as well as with the visit of the Vodka Museum and/or St. Isaac’s Cathedral.

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