Царское Село – The Town of Pushkin
Царское Село (Tsar’s village) used to be the town where the imperial family resided and the most popular destination among the nobility during summer at the end of 18th century. It was Екатерина I (Catherine I) who took charge of building a royal country residence – Екатерининский дворец (Catherine Palace) – out of the estate that her husband – Петр Великий (Peter the Great) – gave her as a present in 1708. Царское Село now belongs to the town of Пушкин (Pushkin) and it has become a very popular attraction both among tourists and locals. The palace has an adjacent park called Екатерининский парк (Catherine Park), which you cannot miss if you’re in Saint Petersburg in the warmer months. The park was designed in such a way to compete with the beauty and majesty of that of Versailles, so prepare to be mesmerized. Not far from Catherine Palace you will find Александровский дворец (Alexander Palace), a wedding gift offered to Александр I (Alexander I) by his grandmother – Екатерина II Великая (Catherine II the Great). Alexander I founded the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum, where Александр Пушкин (Alexander Pushkin) graduated from. Александр Пушкин – “Russian poet, novelist, dramatist, and short-story writer; he has often been considered his country’s greatest poet and the founder of modern Russian”1. The lyceum played an important role in the life of Pushkin, and you can see that depicted in his works.
The exterior of the Catherine Palace covered in over 100kg of gold will give you an idea of what to expect from the interior of the royal residence. Visitors enter via the State Staircase with ornate banisters and reclining marble cupids. You will walk down the Golden Enfilade of state rooms and see the White Dining Room, the Portrait Hall, The Picture Gallery and the very famous Amber Room, restored and reopened in 2003 for a total cost of $12 million, after being dismantled in 36 hours by the German troops who took over Tsarskoe Selo in 1941. The Great Hall – or Hall of Light –, which measures around 1000 m2 and occupies the full width of the palace, will give you the greatest views of it all.
For information on how to get to the beautiful place that is Tsarskoye Selo, click here: http://eng.tzar.ru/info/transport