Pavlovsk Day Tour

TOUR PAVLOVSK PALACE WITH US: Tour of Catherine Palace and Pavlovsk for independent travellersTour of Catherine Palace and Pavlovsk for cruise passengers

Pavlovsk is both the name of the town and a museum complex in St.Petersburg suburbs about 30 km (19 miles) away from the city and just 5 km (2 miles) away from Catherine Palace. The Park and Palace ensemble of Pavlovsk was a gift from Catherine the Great to her son Paul upon birthday of Paul's first child Alexander in 1777. Paul was the somewhat neglected son of Catherine the Great because she always considered him a rival to the throne after death of her husband Peter III. Shunted aside by her in favor of Alexander, Paul was very anxious to assume the title of Czar. Finally in his forties Catherine died and he became Czar. As a result of having waited so long, Paul was in a hurry to make up for lost time and made many mistakes while trying to reshape Russia more in his own image. As a result his reign only lasted 4 years and 4 months when he was assassinated in his own bedroom of Michael's Castle in St.Petersburg in 1801.
Pavlovsk Palaceconstruction works started in 1780 by the famous British architect Charles Cameron. Once Catherine died, Cameron, along with everyone associated with his mother, was dismissed by the new emperor, Paul. Others were hired to put the finishing touches to the architect’s tour de force. The formation of the Pavlovsk Palace collections was closely connected with Paul and Maria's (his spouse) journey through Europe in 1781-82. They visited workshops of well-known artists, ordering and acquiring paintings, furniture, bronze articles, silk fabrics, china sets, etc. Many gifts were presented by the French king Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette during Paul and Maria's visit to Versailles. The landscape park of 600 hectares (1,500 acres) is one of the largest in Europe with its winding labyrinths of wooded lanes, shady glades, and pavilions. In the mid-19th century, the park became famous for its concerts. A railway was opened between the park and St. Petersburg, and the station was used as a concert hall. Among the celebrities who performed there were Johann Strauss II, Franz Liszt, and Robert Schumann. Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Pavlovsk became a national museum.
Pavovsk Palace was nearly destroyed by the Nazis in World War II. They used it as headquarters during the 900 day siege of Leningrad. Fortunately, the museum's caretakers had worked around the clock to preserve as many of its treasures as they could - burying some, sending some to Siberia, and hiding some in Leningrad basements and other locations - but the Nazis looted and destroyed much of what was left, cutting down 70,000 trees in the park alone. When finally forced to retreat, they set the palace ablaze behind them. Post-war restorations took several decades to complete. The palace buildings now appear authentic and, in comparison with other palaces, still feel livable.

Open:
summer season - daily 10:00am - 6:00pm, ticket office open until 5:00pm.

winter season - except for Fridays and last Monday of the month.

Tourists' Remarks

" ... The palace is not very big but it has the most amazing parquet I've ever seen. It is made out of 11 kinds of wood and has very creative pattern to it ..."

" ... The Pavlovsk Palace has most exquisite interiors decorated to the tastes of Paul and Maria. These interiors may not blind you with pomp, but for those who know and love this kind of things it will be a great pleasure to observe the Italian Hall, the Grecian Hall, the Hall of War and the Hall of Peace, the Libraries of Paul I and Maria Fyodorovna, the Boudoir, the Gala Bedroom, and the Tapestry Room decorated with very rare Gobelin tapestries from the famous Don Quixote series given to Paul I by Lois XVI. Such tapestries can be found only in one more place in the world - in Versailles ..."

"... Pavlovsk has really cute, very small squirrels with tufted ears. The crows here all have big gray patches on their neck and back ..."

" ... The Pavlovsk Park is all beauty and peace. It is filled with the spirit of Russia. It is the second largest park in Europe after Richmond in England. It was laid out in the English landscape park style, unlike the parks in Peterhof and Tsarskoe Selo which were conceived as French regular gardens. You'll see the difference. In Pavlovsk the park resembles a forest, with a lot of trees, a river crossing huge fields, and a few pavilions lost somewhere on this vast territory. You'll be enchanted by these all-green surroundings together with the Pavlovsk Palace ..."

" ... Pavlovsk itself was basically one enormous Christmas card. There was already snow on the ground and more was coming down. Stunning ..."

" ... While more humble and less touristy than the palaces at Peterhof or Pushkin, the reconstructed palace at Pavlovsk is still very interesting, and the park is a great place to walk or have a picnic. It has romantic ruins, statues, forests and streams ... ”

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