St Petersburg is well-known as the Imperial capital of Russia and the city of the tsars. For 300 years it was the capital of the Russian Empire and what is more, it was from the very beginning built to become the new capital of the new Russian State founded by Peter the Great. No wonder that nowadays in St Petersburg and its suburbs there are about 500 different palaces which belonged to the Russian royal family members and to the nobility and aristocracy of the Russian Empire.
Pavlovsk is one of the former summer royal residences which belonged to the only son of Catherine the Great Paul I (“Pavel” in Russian, hence the name) which we recommend to visit on the same day with Catherine Palace and the Amber Room. It is a well-known fact that the relationships between Paul and his mother were not very easy. One of the stereotypes about Paul is that he was not very well educated, couldn’t think outside the box, and that is why when he finally came into power and became the Emperor in 1796 he ruled for only 4 years after which he was assassinated in his own bedroom. However he was not that simple.
The heir Paul was a well-educated young man, good at mathematics, engineering, ship-building, history; he knew five foreign languages and was very pious — at the place of his everyday worship the floor was worn out by his knees. He was often nicknamed “The last knight on the Russian throne” or “The Russian Hamlet” because of his tragic fate. He was prepared and willing to rule the country, but his mother wouldn’t let him ascend the throne. Thus there is nothing left for Pavel but to find pleasure in running his estate in Pavlovsk and courting his young and charming wife Maria.
The Pavlovsk Park and Palace ensemble is among the finest royal residences in the environs of St Petersburg. Unlike other famous royal residences Pavlovsk has the unique charm of a private estate. It has nothing in common with splendid baroque palaces of Petergof and the Tsar’s Village: the palace was designed in reserved classical style and will be highly appreciated by true art connoisseurs. The palace is full of love, joy and affection. During a tour of Pavlovsk Palace you will not only be able to witness stunning state rooms used for official ceremonies and festivities in the palace, but also some private rooms where the family could gather together in the evening.
The residence is not only the palace but also a huge park – the biggest park in Europe (more than 600 acres). This landscape park where there are countless sculptures and pavilions is also popular with the citizens of St Petersburg who love to come here for the weekend.
In 1837 the first railroad of Russia was opened, which connected St Petersburg with the royal residences of the Tsarist Village and Pavlovsk. To make this mean of transport more attractive they constructed a spacious railway station in Pavlovsk with a big concert hall. And soon all the high society of St Petersburg rushed to Pavlovsk in summer to enjoy the concerts. In 1850’s even the outstanding composer and conductor Johann Strauss performed in Pavlovsk for almost ten years.
During the tour we will visit the Pavlovsk Palace and also enjoy a part of the park and you will be able to learn more about Paul I, who was probably one of the most romantic and tragic personalities among the Romanov dynasty.