The tour of the main building is available in several languages, including English. Joining a tour from St. Petersburg will ensure that you get the tour in English, but is more costly than going on your own. Be prepared to take your shoes off and don slippers. The interior has been mostly restored, following a devestating attack in WWII. Restorations are ongoing to bring it up to the pre-war attack, including restoration of the famed Amber room.
Make a day of your trip to Pushkin, as the grounds are magnificent and several smaller buildings merit investigation. The smaller Hermitage is a mirror of the larger building. Pushkin also features the Alexander palace and is an easy taxi ride from Pavlovsk.
Results 1-6of 6 Reviews
Clifton, New Jersey
February 4, 2003
From journal A Russian Winter
July 22, 2000
From journal Culture and Art tour of St. Petersburg
April 6, 2004
Frederick the Great gave Peter I of Russia about 40,000 pounds of pure amber embossed with the Hohenzollern crest as a gift after Peter had captured the world’s imagination through his efforts to bring Russia kicking and screaming into the modern world. Peter never got around to using this gift but at least had it properly stored.
When Elizabeth, Peter the Great’s daughter, hired Rastrelli to upgrade the existing palace located in the quiet royal community of Pushkin, she directed that he take the amber panels and turn one entire room in the palace into an amber treasure. This room was unique and insured that her summer palace would be one of the most splendid royal residences in the world.
When the Germans captured the palace during the siege of Leningrad they devastated the palace and the grounds. They took everything the Russians had not been able to evacuate and ruined the rest. The amber room was stripped from the palace walls and evacuated to Germany where it became lost. The Russians spent millions looking for it before they decided they would have to painstakingly restore the room centimeter by centimeter. In May of 2003 the room was officially opened to the public and it is a stunner! A trip to see the amber room is enough justification to go Russia by itself not withstanding all of the other treasures to be found in St. Petersburg.
The gift shops in the basement have been moved outside and the entire palace has had a wonderful facelift to help celebrate St. Petersburg’s 300th birthday in 2003. The grounds continue to be beautiful as well as the many outbuildings.
From journal St. Petersburg revisited 2003
November 1, 2001
Inside the Catherine Palace is the famed "Amber Room", the amber a gift to Peter the Great from Frederick William I of Prussia in 1716. Germans carried off that original amber in WWII, however, in 1979 amber was again used to panel the room. We enjoyed strolling through the grounds to see the lake, building architecture, sculptures, fountains, etc. I especially liked the melancholy Maiden w/ the Broken Jar. Pushkin wrote of the piece in 1830: "Out of her fingers the urn must have slipped & burst on a boulder. Sorrowing there she sits, holding the useless shell. Lo! from the jagged urn the jet springs still, & the maiden over an endless flow leans in unending dismay."
From journal St. Petersburg--A Window on Europe
Cinnaminson, New Jersey
October 6, 2002
This liceum was a school for elite in the 19th century, and Pushkin studied here. It was also at this location that Pushkin read his poetry to Derzhavin, who was the most admired Russian poet of the 18th century. Derzhavin was very impressed by Pushkin's poetry and encouraged him to continue with his great gift.
The other place definitely worth visiting in Pushkin is Catherine Palace which is the place where Catherine II lived and died. The palace of Catherine II is very beautiful, built in baroque style, and it is probably most well known for the Amber room. It is the most intriguing, mysterious and sought after work of art today. It was a rather large room where walls were covered with amber carved panels and mirrors. During World War II when the Nazis occupied the palace, they dismantled the room and piece by piece sent it together with other cultural masterpieces to Germany. Yet many think that the room never reached Germany and has been missing since 1944. Some think that it is still somewhere in Kaliningrad (Konigsberg); some think it's somewhere in Switzerland in private collection.
The palace had the same fate as other palace around St Petersburg. It was almost entirely destroyed by the Nazis during World War II but was rebuilt since and there is constant restoration effort ongoing. They even started to recreate the Amber room.
You should also walk along the alleys of the garden which is maintained in that curvy English-style landscape that looks so gorgeous.
From journal Travels to Russia - St Petersburg
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
December 26, 2010
From journal One of the most amazing cities