Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Gatchina is famous for its unique palace and park ensemble with landscape architecture. In 1796 when Paul became emperor Gatchina received town status and own coat of arms. By that time the palace turn into main residence of sovereign and placed an army camp. The feature of Gatchina palace is secret mysterious underpass which you can visit while excursion.

The town of Gatchina situated 45 km to the south-west from Saint-Petersburg. It was found by Peter the Great, in 1765 Empress Catherine bought it and presented to her favorite count Grigory Orlov. Russian and foreign architectures were invited to create a palace and a park in Gatchina. Antonio Rinaldi built palace in a shape of a hunting castle with towers. The underground passage was constructed.

In 1783 Gatchina moved to Grand Duke Paul, the future Emperor Paul I.  In the year of his accession to the throne (November 11, 1796) Gatchina was declared a town. The new owner reconstructed the residence according to his taste. Architect Vincenzo Brenna made the palace look like a medieval fortified castle with bastions, moat and draw bridge.  The meadow in front of the palace was turned into a parade-ground where troops were trained. Soon the park also was renovated.  It was laid out in English style and became the first landscape park in Russia.

One of amazing places in Gatchina Park is a Black lake and Priory palace situated on its bank. This palace was built especially for the Prior of the Order of Knights of Malta. But as Paul I was the master of Order Priory palace was not used for its intended purpose. The palace was built by architect Nikolai Lvov on extraordinary technology – from compressed soil.   

After the death of Paul Gatchina moved to his widow and then to emperor Nicolas I. In 1851 on the parade-ground in front of the palace the bronze monument to Paul I designed by sculptor Vitali was erected.

During World War II Gatchina palace and parks were heavily damaged. The restoration works started soon after the end of the war. Some are continues to present days. The palace and the park were reopened to the public only in 1985.  




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