The Catherine Palace is a remarkable example of Russian baroque architecture. The existing palace was built between 1744 and 1756.
The leading role in design of the palace belongs to Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who by 1756 created an architectural masterpiece, which the delighted Empress Elizabeth named after her mother, Catherine I. In the later part of the 18th century the palace was modified by Catherine II, ”the Great”.
Like the honored guests of the Russian tzars, the nowadays visitors can also admire the full splendor of the palace interiors. Many restored rooms are open for public and contain objects of applied art, fine furniture, Russian and European paintings, unique collections of porcelain, amber, weaponry, artistic bronze and sculpture.
By far the most famous of these rooms is the ”Amber Room”. First given by Fredrick the Great to Peter I, the amber panels were stored for many years. Finally they were assembled in this room and the room was considered to be extraordinary. During World War II the room was plundered. The amber was thought to have first been stolen by the Nazis during the Siege of Leningrad. What eventually happened to the precious works of art has been the subject of many books and wide speculation. After the war the Soviet began to restore the Amber Room as well as the entire palace from memories and pictures. The restoration of the Amber Room lasted 50 years.
Now the Catherine Palace and the magnificent Amber Room are among the must see sights in St. Petersburg and, indeed, the world!
The Catherine Palace is located in the village of Pushkin, a few miles from the center of St. Petersburg.
This picture is of Casey, the daughter of our American director. She is shown on the Catherine Palace grounds with the Hermitage Pavilion in the background.