Friday, June 7, 2013

St. Petersburg Blinded by Glitter

May 25, 2013. Moe and I take a Holland America Eurodam sponsored tour to The Catherine Palace and Paul's Palace.

The Catherine Palace

The Catherine Palace is a Rococo palace located in the town of Tsarskoye Selo, 25 km south-east of St. Petersburg, Russia. It was the summer residence of the Russian tsars. Wikipedia

Oh, my, my--what can I say--a grand palace!

"Do you think they will let us in?"

The barometer indicates "Rising tourist rate"

"Oh, yes...more tourists"

All that glitters is probably gold--the Grand Hall or Hall of Lights

In order to attract funds (for the restoration of the palace), the palace's administration has leased the Grand Hall for such high-profile events as Elton John's concert for an elite audience in 2001 and an exclusive party in 2005 featuring the likes of Bill ClintonTina TurnerWhitney Houston,Naomi Campbell, and Sting. Wikipedia

Beautiful floors

"Auntie, look, I'm crawling on a royal floor"

Protecting the royal floors. Mandatory footwear for all visitors (except crawling babies)

Beautiful decor

Ceramic stove
Roll-top desk (side view)

Hand Painted silk walls


The Palace was destroyed during World War II. Restorations are ongoing. below are some archived photos of the process.
Depiction of the destruction of the palace

Depiction of the finished restoration

Destroyed grand staircase

R.D. Slepushkina restoring silk in the Blue Chinese drawing room of the Catherine Palace--1960s
See above "Hand-painted silk walls"

Sorting gilded carved wodden peices--1948

Installing carved piece in the Great hall, Catherine Palace--end of 1970s

The Grounds

I think there are hundreds of these guys "supporting" the palace

What tourists do--take pics of themselves in front of famous sites

Non-royal residences of the palace. this mom had a liter of kittens stashed in a hole in the foundation

One of the joys of this trip is following spring and tulips around the world

Paul's (or Pavlovsk) Palace

 In 1777 The Empress Catherine II gave a parcel of forest,  four kilometers from her residence at Tsarskoye Selo, to her son and heir Paul I and his wife, to celebrate the birth of their first son, the future Alexander I of Russia
The palace and the large English garden surrounding it are now a Russian state museum and public park. Wikipedia
 It is rumored that Catherine and her son Paul could be in the same room for more than a few moments so she gave him land for his own palace

Palace from a poster photo--it was raining when we were there

This one's for you, Nicholas
The palace seemed royal but less ornate than Catherine's Palace--at first, but it did have some rooms that were stunningly gilted.

Palace Essentials

I've noticed a trend in grand palaces--things you need for grandeur.

Gold doors and knockers


Oh, Romeo, Romeo...

 Discreet matron to remind visitors "No flash photos"


 Statues in corners and in front of windows



Elegant drapes

Priceless chairs (& seat covers in case the matron is out of the room)

Priceless tables


Conversation pieces

 You can't escape love! Cupid's arrow follows you around the room.

 Columns, inside and out




A personal chapel


The German attack of the Soviet Union in July 1942 took the Soviet government by surprise.

The morning after the attack, the curators of Pavlovsk began to pack as many of art objects as possible 
The thirty curators often worked by candlelight... The paintings, chandeliers, crystal, porcelain, rare furniture, and works of ivory and amber were packed and sent first. They worked with great care – (and other pieces) had to be carefully dismantled,  with diagrams on how to put them back together

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