The Pavlovsk Palace and park ensemble is located 13 miles (27 kilometers) away from St.Petersburg. The original estate was around 1500 acres and was a gift from Catherine to Paul on the birth of his first son, the future Tsar Alexander I, in 1777, so that he could build his summer residence here.. Work on the palace began in 1781 under the direction of the famous Scottish architect, Charles Cameron. Being one of Catherine’s favorite architects did not enamour him with Paul and his wife Maria. Paul detested his mother and had a habitual aversion to her favorites. After Cameron’s departure, many other architects worked at Pavlovsk, including Voronikhin, Brenna, Rossi and others.
Cameron designed the Grand Palace, one of the finest examples of Russian classicism, the Apollo Colonnade and the Temple of Friendship pavilions, and the impressive sixteen-column Three Graces Pavilion. The park was landscaped by another great master, Pietro Gonzaga, who worked on it for twenty-five years, from 1803 to 1828.
The alleys of this old park have romantic names — the Young Fiance, the Green Dame, the White Birch, etc. They are adorned with elegant sculptures, figures of lions, smart vases and quaint pavilions. The Pavlovsk park is one of the finest landscape parks to be found in Europe. In 1837, a concert hall, Vauxhall, as it was called, was built close to the Pavlovsk railway station.
The first musical season was opened in the Vauxhall in summer 1838. Before long, Pavlovsk became St.Petersburg’s musical center. Johann Strauss, the king of waltz, conducted an orchestra there, and the great Chaliapin sang more than once. The Vauxhall was destroyed by the Nazi during the war and there was no w
ay to restore it. But the musical traditions live on.
The Pavlovsk Park is one of the pearls of the world landscape art. Each of the seven major park districts is marked with poetry, where the beauty of the northern nature is combined with exquisite skill of artists.
Pavlovsk has a dual look and feel, which reflects the different outlook and tastes of its oweners, Paul and Maria. Pauls hand can be seen in prominent militaristic motifs throughout many of the state rooms, while elsewhere one can see the exquisite and refined tastes of his wife at work.
After the murder of Paul in 1801, Pavlovsk became the primary residence of his widow. After her death in 1828 the palace passed to their son, Grand Duke Mikhail Petrovich. Mikhail was childless and bequeathed Pavlovsk to his nephew Konstantin Nickolaevich, who left in turn to his son, the famous poet Konstanin Konstantinovich. During this period the main building of the palace was recognised by the Romanov family as a unique artistic and historic legacy and was preserved as a virtual museum. Very few changes were made to the decoration and it continued to have the look and feel of the early 19th century.
After the revolution the palace passed through difficult times involving many threats to its very survival. During WWII the palace was badly damaged and looted. It was restored after the war and is now open as a museum. For the best history of the building look for “Pavlovsk, Life of a Russian Palace” by Suzanne Massie.
Address: Pavlovsk, 9 Revolyutsii Street
Open: 10.00 – 18.00
Closed: on Fridays
Contact us for more details.