tsarskoye selo
tsarskoye selo
Architecture was important in transmitting the ethos of the new state. Catherine the Great changed the Russians’ sense of space, as she transformed the architecture of the towns and substituted the city for the monastery as the center of Russian culture. Catherine tore down the wooden symbols of Muscovy and in their place erected imposing, neoclassical structures. Architecture proved as important as literature in spreading the new ideal of rational order and classical style.

tsarskoye selo

Each summer Catherine took her entire court from the Winter Palace to her summer palace designed by the great architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, at Tsarskoye Selo. “I have always thought that the architecture of Tsarskoye Selo was designed to intimidate Catherine’s guests. They had to pass in review before they could even enter. Arriving guests had a long initial approach to the center of the Palace; they then turned to the right and drove to the very end before turning around to drive back along the entire length of the Palace,” stated James Billington.

tsarskoye selo
Tsarskoye Selo became the perfect setting for cavalcades of military power. These richly coloured facades appear themselves to be marching in a long parade of columns and statuary.

tsarskoye selo
Although such Palaces had no strategic importance, they were bombarded by German guns in World War II, reducing Rastrelli’s original masterpiece of Tsarskoye Selo to ruins. The post-war Soviet regime instituted a vast program to restore Catherine’s Palace to its 18th century glory. To ease the contradictions of Communists glorifying a monarch, they renamed it for the poet Pushkin.

Go Inside the Palace.

Visit the surrounding Park.



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