Excursion to Catherine's Palace with Amber Room
This excursion lasts for 5 hours. You will visit the Catherine's Palace with Amber Room. Tickets, driver with car and English speaking guide are included.
The Catherine Palace
The Catherine Palace (Russian: Екатерининский дворец, Yekaterininskiy dvorets) is a Rococo palace located in the town of Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), 30 km south of St. Petersburg, Russia. It was the summer residence of the Russian tsars.
The residence originated in 1717, when Catherine I of Russia hired German architect Johann-Friedrich Braunstein to construct a summer palace for her pleasure. In 1733, Empress Elizabeth commissioned Mikhail Zemtsov and Andrei Kvasov to expand the Catherine Palace. Empress Elizabeth, however, found her mother's residence outdated and incommodious and in May 1752 asked her court architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli to demolish the old structure and replace it with a much grander edifice in a flamboyant Rococo style. Construction lasted for four years, and on 30 July 1756 the architect presented the brand-new 325-meter-long palace to the Empress, her dazed courtiers, and stupefied foreign ambassadors.
More than 100 kilograms of gold were used to gild the sophisticated stucco façade and numerous statues erected on the roof. In front of the palace a great formal garden was laid out. It centres on the azure-and-white Hermitage Pavilion near the lake, designed by Mikhail Zemtsov in 1744, remodelled by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1749 and formerly crowned by a grand-gilded sculpture representing The Rape of Persephone. The interior of the pavilion featured dining tables with dumbwaiter mechanisms.
The grand entrance to the palace is flanked by two massive "circumferences", also in the Rococo style. A delicate cast-iron grille separates the complex from the town of Tsarskoe Selo. Although the palace is popularly associated with Catherine the Great, she actually regarded its "whipped cream" architecture as old-fashioned.
When she ascended to the throne, a number of statues in the park were being covered with gold, in accordance with the last wish of Empress Elizabeth, yet the new monarch had all the works suspended upon being informed about the expense. In her memoirs she censured her predecessor's reckless extravagance: "The palace was then being built, but it was the work of Penelope: what was done today, was destroyed tomorrow. That house has been pulled down six times to the foundation, then built up again till it was brought to its present state. The sum of a million six hundred thousand rubles was spent on the construction. Accounts exist to prove it; but besides this sum the Empress spent much money out of her own pocket on it, without ever counting".
To gratify her passion for antique and Neoclassical art, Catherine employed the Scottish architect Charles Cameron, who not only refurbished the interior of one wing in the Neo-Palladian style then in vogue, but also constructed the personal apartments of the Empress, a rather modest Greek Revival structure known as the Agate Rooms and situated to the left of the grand palace. Noted for their elaborate jasper decor, the rooms were designed so as to be connected to the Hanging Gardens, the Cold Baths, and the Cameron Gallery (still housing a collection of bronze statuary)—three Neoclassical edifices constructed to Cameron's designs. According to Catherine's wishes, many remarkable structures were erected for her amusement in the Catherine Park. These include the Dutch Admiralty, Creaking Pagoda, Chesme Column, Rumyantsev Obelisk, and Marble Bridge.
Upon Catherine's death in 1796, the palace was abandoned in favour of Pavlovsk Palace. Subsequent monarchs preferred to reside in the nearby Alexander Palace and, with only two exceptions, refrained from making new additions to the Catherine Palace, regarding it as a splendid monument to Elizabeth's wealth and Catherine II's glory. After the Great Fire of 1820, Alexander I engaged Vasily Stasov to refurbish some interiors of his grandmother's residence in the Empire style. Twenty years later, the magnificent Stasov Staircase was constructed to replace the old circular staircase leading to the Palace house church (ru:Церковь Екатерининского дворца). Unfortunately, most of Stasov's interiors—specifically those dating from the reign of Nicholas I—have not been restored after the destruction caused by the Germans during World War II.
When the German forces retreated after the siege of Leningrad, they intentionally destroyed the residence. leaving only the hollow shell of the palace behind. Prior to World War II, Soviet archivists managed to document a fair amount of the interior, which proved of great importance in reconstructing the palace.
Although the largest part of the reconstruction was completed in time for the Tercentenary of St. Petersburg in 2003, much work is still required to restore the palace to its former glory. To raise funds, the palace's administration has leased the Grand Hall for such high-profile events as Elton John's concert for an elite audience in 2001 and an exclusive party in 2005 featuring the likes of Bill Clinton, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Naomi Campbell, and Sting.
The Amber Room
The Amber Room or Yantarnaya Komnata (Russian: Янтарная комната, German: Bernsteinzimmer, Polish: Bursztynowa komnata) is a world-famous chamber decorated in amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors, located in the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo near Saint Petersburg. Originally constructed in the 18th century in Prussia, the Amber Room disappeared during World War II and was recreated in 2003. Before the room was lost, it was considered an "Eighth Wonder of the World".
Construction of the Amber Room first took place around 1701 in Prussia. The room was designed by German baroque sculptor Andreas Schlüter and Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram. Schlüter and Wolfram worked on the room until 1707, when work was continued by amber masters Gottfried Turau and Ernst Schacht from Danzig. The amber cabinet remained in the Berlin City Palace until 1716 when it was given by the Prussian King Frederick William I to his then ally, Tsar Peter the Great of the Russian Empire. In Russia, the room was expanded and after several renovations, it covered more than 55 square metres (590 sq ft) and contained over 6 tonnes (13,000 lb) of amber.
The Amber Room was looted during World War II by Army Group North of Nazi Germany and brought to Königsberg for reconstruction and display. Its current whereabouts remain a mystery. In 1979, efforts were undertaken to rebuild the Amber Room at Tsarskoye Selo. In 2003, after decades of work by Russian craftsmen and donations from Germany, the reconstructed Amber Room was inaugurated at the Catherine Palace near Saint Petersburg.
Excursions in St. Petersburg
All prices are given in USD, included transport with driver, guide speaking a European language, entrance tickets.
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|Petergoff - Park and Summer Palace||5||145USD||176/88||204/68||236/59||250/50|
|Petergoff - Park with fountains||4||110USD||126/62||144/48||156/39||170/34|
|Catherine's Palace with Amber Room (Tsarskoe Selo)||5||150USD||170/85||192/64||216/54||235/47|
|Catherine's Palace and Pavlovsk Palace||6||170USD||206/103||240/80||280/70||315/63|
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