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Suburbs of St.Petersburg - Gatchina

Originally these lands located 45 kilometers from St.Petersburg, known as a village Khotchino, were the property of Peter the Great’s sister Natalia Alexeyevna. In the middle of 18th century those lands went to Catherine the Great’s favoutite – count Grigory Orlov, who planned to create a park ensemble in early neoclassicism style. In 1766 the famous architect Antonio Rinaldi started the construction of a three-storey castle with two octagonal towers – The Signal tower and the Clock tower, with arched one-storey wings, connecting the main part with outbuildings. In 1781 the building was riveted with limestone and the Palace, looking like a medieval English castle, was finished. At the same time the Gatchina Park was laid out in the course of time: picturesque White and Silver lakes, Carpiev and other ponds were crossed by numerous bridges, the park was adorned with spectacular terraces and staircases, like the Eagle Pavilion, the Venus Pavilion, the Birch and Admiralty Gates, the Forest Hothouse by architect Brenna, the Aviary by architect Andrean Zakharov, the Prior's Palace by Nikolai Lvov, the original Birch House by artist A.F.Viollier. In couple of years after Orlov’s death the residence was purchased by Catherine the Great, and later she presented it to het son – future emperor Paul I. According to his taste the Palace was redecorated by architect Vincenzo Brenna and for the next hundred years it was a summer residence of Russian emperors.

During the Nazi occupation the palace and many other buildings were completely destroyed, but the reconstruction in 1970s returned the Gatchina Palace its original appearance and recovered the interiors and rich collections of the residence. Nowadays one can not only enjoy the Anteroom, the Marble Dining-Room, the Throne, White and Picture Halls, adorned with superb parquetry designs, painted ceilings, stuccowork, bronzes, furniture, but also a unique art collection. A passionate hunter, who built the Gatchina palace foremost as a hunting lodge, Grigory Orlov started the collection of firearms. During the times of future owners the collection was increasing and nowadays more than 1000 weapons from 14 European countries and best armory centers are kept in Gathcina palace. Based on Grigory Orlov’s portrait gallery, and completed by imperial masters, the collection numbers 635 portraits by the beginning of the 20th century and there was no larger collection in Russia. 

NB! We can organise an individual tour to Gatchina for you! Please, contact us!

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