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Other Top Points From Saint Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg Port
Alexander Garden
Baptism of Our Lord
Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul
Cathedral of St. Andrew
Catherine Garden
Catherine's Palace
Church of the Annunciation on Vasilevsky
Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Gatchina
Hermitage Museum
Leningrad Zoo
Moscow Victory Park
Museum of Applied Art
Museum of Cosmonautics and Rocket Technology
Museum of Dolls
Museum of Non-Conformist Art
Naval Cathedral of St. Nicholas
Oranienbaum (Lomonosov)
Peterhof Palace
Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God
Smolny Cathedral
Ss. Isidor and Nicholas
St. Isaac's Cathedral
Summer Garden
The Cruiser Aurora
Yelagin Ostrov
Zoological Museum


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Pavlovsk

Address: Pavlovsk

Pavlovsk is the youngest of the grand Imperial estates around St. Petersburg. Named in honour of Tsar Pavel, this fine neo-classical palace and its extensive landscaped gardens are stamped with his taste and even more so with that of his wife, the German-born Maria Feodorovna. Although there was no love lost between Pavel and his mother, Catherine the Great, it was she who originally presented him with the 362 desyatinas - 607 hectares - of land around the Slavyanskaya River. Perhaps it was the impossibility of living with her son at Tsarskoe Selo, combined with the desire to keep him and his family reasonably close, that prompted her to do so, although the official reason was the birth of her grandson, the future Alexander I.

Although lacking the dazzling splendour of the estates at Tsarskoe Selo and Peterhof, Pavlovsk is well worth visiting both for the treasures in the elegant palace and for the charming, rambling park, which is one of the largest and finest English-style landscape gardens outside the UK.

Both the Park and the Palace at Pavlovsk were victims of wanton destruction during the Nazi occupation, and the extraordinary restoration project was not completed until the mid-1950s. Fortunately, there were extensive blueprints available for all aspects of the estate, so what you see now is almost entirely faithful to the original designs.





Pavlovsk Palace

The Great Palace at Pavlovsk is somewhat staid in comparison to its near neighbour at Tsarskoe Selo, forgoing that building's opulent ornamentation for classical elegance and harmony, painted in the deep yellow and white colour scheme typical of St. Petersburg neo-classicism.

That the palace achieved such a harmonious facade belies the fact that it was conceived as a much smaller building, with the design expanded and embellished during construction. The task of designing the palace was originally assigned by Catherine the Great to Charles Cameron, the Scottish-born architect who had won the Empress's lasting favour with the work he did at Tsarskoe Selo. Construction began in 1782, but Cameron's modest design and his penchant for the absolute simplicity of Palladianism and the historical purity of Adamesque were not to the liking of Pavel and his wife Maria Feodorovna, and they charged Cameron's assistant, Vincenzo Brenna, with the task of extending the palace and creating a more imposing and regal building. Brenna quickly became Pavel's favourite architect, and went on to design alterations on the palace at Gatchina, and the Mikhailovsky Castle in St. Petersburg. His great achievement, both there and at Pavlovsk, was to combine the future Tsar's eclectic tastes into an organic and harmonious architectural solution.
    


Pavlovsk Park

Although Pavlovsk's Park has nothing like the architectural wealth that can be seen at Pushkin or Peterhof, it is one of the most charming and extensive green spaces in or around St. Petersburg, and one of the largest landscaped gardens in the world.

The park's design, by Charles Cameron and Vincenzo Brenna - and, it is rumoured, Capability Brown - takes full advantage of the rolling countryside around the Slavyanka River's valley to create delightful vistas of copses, gentle slopes, winding streams and the occasional classical folly.

Right next to the Palace, the Private Garden was restricted to only the Imperial family, and its Dutch-style formalism and beds of brightly coloured flowers are in sharp contrast to the idyllic pastoralism of the rest of the park. The Palace stands almost on the edge of the park, although a small section across the main road contains a stretch of the Slavyanka, with decorations including Cameron's simple but striking Obelisk and the faintly ridiculous, gothic Marienthal Fortress, another testament to Pavel's fanatic militarism.


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Emerald Princess Baltic Cruise Guide
by Fafos & Grjava, 2009
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