Catherine Palace

Catherine Palace
Catherine Palace

A mere twenty-five kilometers from the ancient capital of the Russian Empire, St. Petersburg, we find one of the most outstanding rococo-style buildings of all time, known as the Catherine Palace, which would be the summer residence of the Russian tsars. The baroque style first and then the rococo, perfectly expressed the needs of the tsar, the ambition for power and its magnificence has been reflected in the architecture leaving a legacy of beautiful buildings that have survived to this day.


In the current city of Pushkin, we can find this magnificent building that would serve as a second residence for the tsarist family. Around the year 1717, Tsarina Catherine I of Russia commissioned the German-born architect Johann-Friedrich Braunstein to build a summer residence that would allow her to get away from the hustle and bustle of Saint Petersburg. Of this first construction there are only a few remains since little more than thirty years later, Empress Isabel considered that the palace ordered to be built by her mother did not fit in with the new tastes of the time, so she ordered it to be completely demolished and a new one started. construction, this time the architect in charge of the work would be the court architect himself, Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The sumptuousness of Empress Elizabeth's new palace surpassed any imaginable limit, more thanone hundred kilos of gold to decorate the external facade, in addition the construction had a good number of sculptures and splendid gardens adorned with fountains and sculptures.

With the coming to power of Catherine II, the sumptuousness of her predecessor's palace ceased to seem such a good idea, in fact the empress herself described the amount of money spent on the work as crazy. Catalina paralyzed the works of her predecessor and imposed a much more sober and simple neoclassicist taste on the construction, for which she hired the architect Charles Cameron who gave the complex a much more classic style and built some rooms specifically for the empress, known as Agate Rooms.

The one known as the Golden Enfilade is a set of rooms and cubicles notable for their spectacular sumptuousness, most of them are the work of Rastrelli and in them is the Main Hall, a spectacular party room which has more than a thousand square meters and was built between 1752 and 1756, or the White Dining Rooms as well as the Courtesans Dining Room; the second is undoubtedly much more sumptuous than the first and in it you can see numerous high-quality golden sculptures.

But without a doubt, if one of the rooms in the palace stood out above the rest, it was the Amber Room, a luxurious room covered with plates of amber about fifty and five square meters and more than six tons of the precious material. The room originally belonged to Frederick William I ofPrussia and the tsar was able to meet her on one of his trips to Prussia, in a show of good will Frederick William decided to give the room to the tsar and the amber plates were transferred one by one by the Prussian army.

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