In a way it seems that this palace consists mainly of different diningrooms and this one is another very good excample for them: just take a look at these very special table-decorations made of precious porcelain, the fine tableware and the precious porcelain that is set at the table.
Most of the large tiles-stoves can be heated from another room in the backside, so the empoyees did not disturbish the royal family while looking after the fire.
This is the large entrancehall of the Katherine Palace of Tsarskoe Selo / Pushkin and this also the first impression of the interior that you get when starting the tour through the palace. The stairs will take you to the upper rooms and you will see two interesting blue clocks with some fine stucco-works around of them (my 1st and my last photo) There are also fine stuccoworks and great paintings at the ceiling.
Photography is no problem in this palace, as long as you dont flash !
This is the entrancegate to the Catherine palace of Tsarskoe Selo (=Tsar's Village). All visitors have to stay outside of this gate untill it is their turn to enter and that gives you some time to take a closer look at the ornate decorations of this solid iron-fence.
From this gate you still have to walk about 200 meters to the palace with a wide park in between. The park-train also stops at this gate and in case that you dont want to go inside the palace, that gate is the closest place you can see the palace from this side without needing to have a ticket.
This is the famous Amber-room: that is what most of the tourists are coming for although what you will see it is just a modern replica of the real amber-room, that is considdered lost since WW II.
This room is held quite dark, because they say that the amber might fade its colors in the bright sunshine and that is also why flash photography is forbidden there.
I have to say this room was interesting to see, BUT once that you are there and had seen a lot of the other beautifully decorated ornate rooms of this palace the Amberroom is not really anything special, except for the quite unique material that was used there of course.
The original Amber Room / Bernsteinzimmer was created in 1709 in Germany for Charlottenburg Palace. In 1716 it was given by the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm I as a present to Peter the Great. It was shipped to Russia and installed first in the so called Winterhaus in Tsarskoje Selo and in 1755 it was finally reconstructed as one of the rooms of the Katherine Palace there.
In WW II the Nazis stole the Amber-room and shipped it first to Koenigsberg and then to a secret place that was never found again.
Empress Katherine I was the 2nd wife of Peter the Great, who gave this palace as a present to his wife in 1708. It soon became one of the favorite royal palaces of Katharina and it was soon rebuilt in baroque style by the architect Francesco Bartholomeo Rastrelli.
In my main photo you will see the facade of the Katherine Palace of Tsarskoe Selo and unfortunately they were still restoring a part of its facades in June 2009 while I was there. Tsarskoe Selo means "the village of the Tzar" and it is just about 25 km from the city centre of St. Petersburg. The backside of the palace looks a lot better, take a look at my last 3 photos,you will get to this part of the park mostly after the tour through the palace !
The front of the palace is planned to be finished by summer 2010.
This is the Great Hall or maybe it is better to call it the "Hall of mirrors" as you will find it also in many other royal palaces in Europe of that time. Hundreds of smaller and larger mirrors are reflecting the light and making this giant hall seem even bigger.
Take a look at my extra-photos as well, there are a lot of golden stuccoworks on the walls and the floor is made of precious woods forming a wonderful pattern.
The ceiling is decorated by a single, giant painting that is much too large to make a photo of it even with the widest wideangle-lense.
Here in this tip I combined some photos of different rooms, so you have an idea what it will be like to take the tour through the Katherine Palace of Tasarkoje Selo / Pushkin. The whole tour lasted a bit more than 40 minutes maybe, it is mostly quite hard to take photos because most rooms are really crowded by different groups and you have to eighter stay back and take your pics or be able to listen to the explanations of your tourguide.
Well, I admit I prefer taking my photos and rather enjoy the beauty of the exhibits than to listen to all of the stories of a tourguide.
The so-called "Green Diningroom" was built and decorated by the architect Ch.Cameron in 1780 and it was restored as one of the first rooms in 1959. Also in this room the table is set like dinner would be served any minute with precious porcelain, tablecloth and table-decorations.
What I like most about this room, that is quite small against the other rooms of this palace: All of the room follows a certain concept with wall-decoartions that remind me of roman villas and the fine shades of the green color in all of the furniture and walldecorations that makes this room really unique.
This is just one of the many differentely decorated Diningrooms of Catherines palace in Tsarskoe Selo / Pushkin. Take a closer look at the giant tiles-stove and the great ornate decorations in that room and what I found the most interesting : the table is set like dinner would be served in just a few minutes with precious porcelain and table-decorations.
It is just a pity that in summer it is always a hassle to walk through these rooms with 2 other groups in front of you and 3 other groups behind of your group and all that you have there is just a few minutes to enjoy.
The most famouse room in the palace is Amber Chamber. Walls are covered with pure amber plates of more than 500 colours.
During WWII it was unmounted by Nazy and dissapeared. What you see is complete reconstruction made in last years. It was opened for public just in 2003.
The complete story of the room read here:
The AMBER ROOM of BIG PALACE
The Amber Room was one of many that were heavily damaged during WWII, and it was under heavy reconstruction when we visited. The intensity of the work was likely due to an official unveiling planned for the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg.
Most of the room was draped in fabric, but we still caught a glimpse of sections such as the one pictured here. I can only imagine how breathtaking a room full of this work would be.
The interior of the palace is, as royal apartments of the time were, lavish and luxurious. . .definitely too fancy for our tastes nowadays, but an interesting look at the fashion of the times (1752 was when construction began).
About 20 of the rooms have been restored and are open to the public. . .aside from the Amber Room, the Great Hall made the biggest impression on me. . .
One of the neatest parts of visiting Tsarskoe Selo is that there are posterboards in many of the state rooms. Each board shows a pre-war photo of the room you are standing in, as well as a post-war photo. The damage renders some of the rooms unrecognizable. . .and makes the restoration you are faced with even more impressive.
Catherine Palace is the main focus of Tsarskoe Selo (Tsar's Village). . .and the exterior row of atlantes and columns is very striking. The facade is incredbly long (over 300 metres) and difficult to photograph in one take.
Although we both found the rooms of the palace interesting. . .and full of art & furniture. . .they failed to raise our enthusiasm. However, the palace grounds hold further interest, so the 25 km trip from St. Petersburg isn't wasted.
Located south of the palace, the pictured statue is called Girl with a Pitcher. The piece (1816) is by Pavel Sokolov and it later inspired a poem by Pushkin.
We were in Pushkin on a farily rainy day, so we had the palace grounds to ourselves. . .there's as much to explore here as at Pavlovsk, with kilometres of paths from which to choose.