St. Petersburg | Catherine Palace

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 .catherine-palace-2The palace was gutted during World War II. Fortunately, many of the art works and furnishings had been removed before the invasion.catherine-palace_All of the terra cotta colored figures above would have been gilded with over 100 kilograms of gold applied to the facade.

Ballroom at Catherine Palace

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.)catherinpark_tsarkoeselo

The adjacent park was full of families enjoying one of the last weekends before winter.

bridalparty_tsarkoeseloeLoved seeing this bridal party, as well as the fashion trend of crowns made with leaves below.fallfashiontrend

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.

chesmechurchIt was built by Catherine the Great as the house church for the Chesme Palace, a stopover  between St. Petersburg and the Summer Palace.

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