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Catherine Palace (Tsarskoye Selo) – the Splendor of Imperial Russia

The Catherine Palace is called the monument of patience of the Russian people: it has been under restoration for the last 70 years, although most of the buildings, including the recreated Amber Room, are now accessible. The palace, created by Rastrelli, was built in 1756. It is magnificently decorated both inside and outside and stretches for 306 meters.

It had been the summer residence of Catherine I since 1717. To make the palace look festive, Rastrelli adorned the façade, decorated in white, blue and gold colors, stucco molding, columns and figures of Atlanteans. The second floor contains several audience rooms, as designed by Rastrelli, which are decorated with gold and together form the Golden Enfilade. The design of some rooms was entrusted to the British architect Charles Cameron. So the grand Arabesque Hall with wall panels depicting men and women in Roman costumes, the Lyons Hall, the Chinese Blue Drawing Room and a dozen of other rooms originated. The palace was badly damaged during the Great Patriotic War (more than half of its interiors were lost), and restoration of some rooms is still underway.

The most outstanding room of the Catherine Palace is the recreated Amber Room. Several amber panels, created in Prussia, were brought to Russia and became the basis of this room. Its three walls were decorated with additional amber panels, gilded wood carvings and mosaic pictures of agate and jasper. In wartime, all of this was looted and taken away by the Germans. A few fragments of the original Amber Room were returned to Russia only in 2000. The room, restored with over six tons of amber, was open to the public on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg.

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