Named the for the widow of Peter the Great, Catherine Palace is in Tsarkoe Selo, about an hour inland from St. Petersburg. The original palace was built in 1717, but the current building was designed by Bartholomeo Rastrelli , architect of St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace, at the request of Empress Elizabeth .The palace was gutted during World War II. Fortunately, many of the art works and furnishings had been removed before the invasion.All of the terra cotta colored figures above would have been gilded with over 100 kilograms of gold applied to the facade.
The photo above gives an idea of the scale and decor. The famous Amber Room has been recreated by an amazing workshop on the grounds but photos are not allowed. (The original was removed during the war and has never been found.)
The adjacent park was full of families enjoying one of the last weekends before winter.
Loved seeing this bridal party, as well as the fashion trend of crowns made with leaves below.
Lastly, if you are heading to Tsarkoe Selo, take time to visit the exquisite Church of the Birth of St. John the Baptist en route.
It was built by Catherine the Great as the house church for the Chesme Palace, a stopover between St. Petersburg and the Summer Palace.