The city of Pushkin with its unique architectural and ancient sights continues the great history of St. Petersburg. But at first in 1710 there was a Sarskaya manor on this place, then until 1918 - Tsarskoye Selo, from 1918 to 1937 - Detskoe Selo, and now Pushkin - the names of the same beautiful city in the vicinity of St. Petersburg.
In Pushkin, the tourist mecca is the Tsarskoye Selo Museum-Reserve, a palace and park ensemble of the 18th-19th centuries. Tsarskoye Selo - the former residence of Russian emperors attracts tourists from all over the world. Majestic palaces, gardens and parks of unimaginable beauty and masterpieces of Russian architecture have inherited the modern city. Tsarskoye Selo has been and remains one of the centers of attraction for tourists - 9 out of 10 guests visiting St. Petersburg are sure to visit Tsarskoye Selo, and many of them several times, and come back here again and again.
The history of this place is closely connected with the Romanov dynasty and the best figures of culture and art of Russia: Alexander Pushkin, Anna Akhmatova, Mikhail Glinka, Vasily Zhukovsky and many others. Pushkin attracts all admirers of the talent and creativity of the great Russian poet, in whose honor this city was named. And they called it for a reason.
In Tsarskoye Selo, the future poet studied at Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum. Subsequently, when he moved to the bustling capital, where he achieved great success, Alexander Sergeevich still loved these places very much, nostalgically recalled and never forgot about them. They say that Alexander Sergeyevich got up on a nice day early and went on a pawn here with a cane to dine, and still managed to return home to the capital. But Pushkin lived already in the center of St. Petersburg. Note that from St. Petersburg to Tsarskoye Selo - 25 km.
How did the literary father of Eugene Onegin get to Tsarskoye Selo, writing, “We all studied a little bit of Something and Something,” probably hinting at the time of his stay at Alma Mater. Do you think that nevertheless his compatriots lied to him or misunderstood the genius, but he got here on horseback? Perhaps, and often. And eyewitnesses claim and insist that Alexander Sergeyevich sometimes liked to make a promenade from St. Petersburg to Tsarskoye Selo for "his two."
Do you want to repeat Pushkin’s feat - to go on foot? But he perceived the walk as a pleasant exercise, a nostalgic pilgrimage to the places of his youth. But in the light of our trip, the main thing for us is not a walk and not only dine in Tsarskoye Selo, but to see everything.
- Therefore, we need to get there, which is easy by public transport, and we will show you how to get to Pushkin from St. Petersburg.
Itinerary along Tsarskoye Selo - Pushkin in 1 day
Cathedral Square → Monument to Catherine II → Memorial Museum-Lyceum of A. S. Pushkin → Catherine Park → Catherine Palace → Cameron Gallery → Pavilion Hermitage → Marble Bridge → Fountain "Girl with a Jug" → Alexander Park → Big Chinese Bridge → Chinese Village → Dragons bridge → Alexander Palace → Chamber of Commerce → Singing tower → Museum "Russia in the Great War" → Museum for friends → Museum-cottage of A. S. Pushkin → Egyptian Gate
The design of Cathedral Square was developed by the architect Goeste at the beginning of the 19th century. Initially, the square was conceived as a single composition with the Catherine Cathedral, erected in 1840.
According to the architect's plan, a round round platform was made around the cathedral, and from it in the form of a cross paved alleys framed by trees. They create a drawing of St. Andrew's Cross, in the center of which is Catherine’s Cathedral.
In 1939, the Catherine Cathedral was blown up, and the square was renamed to please the then authorities. So it became an ordinary square, in which a monument to Lenin was erected in 1960. The monument subsequently suffered an unenviable fate, in 2004 unknown vandals threw it off the pedestal and smashed it.
But two years after this incident, the construction of the Catherine Cathedral was started. In 2007, the square became Cathedral Square again and restoration work began to boil here. By the 300th anniversary of the city, the cathedral was completely restored and consecrated.
Monument to the heroes of the First World War
In the central square near the Cathedral of St. Catherine in Pushkin on August 1, 2018, a monument in memory of the heroes of the First World War was inaugurated. The monument is a figure of a regimental priest blessing the soldiers for the feat of arms.
The granite pedestal contains an inscription in Roman numerals denoting the year of the beginning of the First World War - 1914, as well as bronze bas-reliefs depicting George the Victorious, the patron saint of the Russian army, and a two-headed eagle. Around the monument is a flower garden of three thousand flowers of tagetes and coleus.
Perennials - phloxes were also used in the design of the facility. The square on Cathedral Square covers an area of more than 3 hectares, gardeners preserve the historical appearance of the green object.
Monument to Catherine II
The sculpture of Catherine II can be seen on Pushkinskaya street of the city of Pushkin, between houses No. 28 and 32, on the northeastern border of the central Cathedral Square, near the Tsarskoye Selo Youth House.
The sculpture of the empress is striking in its size: the height of the figure is 200 cm, and the pedestal is 150 cm.The monument was made of bronze and granite relatively recently - in 2013, although there was talk of erecting the monument long before that.
The sculpture is an exact copy of the statue erected in the city of Novorzhev (Pskov region). The image of Catherine is inspired by the portrait of D. Levitsky "Catherine II Legislator in the Church of the Goddess of Justice," which is located in the Hermitage.
Memorial Museum-Lyceum of A.S. Pushkin
Continuing our route, walking along Leontief Street, you will find yourself near one of the main museums of the city - Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum. It was this institution that gave the “ticket to life” to the talented Alexander Pushkin and many other public figures: Alexander Gorchakov, Ivan Pushchin, Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin, etc.
The lyceum, founded in 1810, was based on a European program taking into account domestic traditions of education. The main task is to educate the noble youth for public and military service. Therefore, the selection for training was extremely strict. At the Lyceum, only boys from 10 to 12 years old from the upper class were accepted, who passed the difficult entrance exams with excellent marks.
In 1843, on the orders of Nicholas I, the school was transferred to St. Petersburg, in the building of the Alexandrinsky orphanage. Nevertheless, the memory of the former pupils and traditions of the Lyceum in Tsarskoye Selo was carefully preserved by students and passed down from generation to generation. The Lyceum Museum was opened in 1949, the atmosphere of the first years of its existence was restored here.
2. Catherine’s Park → Catherine’s Palace → Cameron Gallery → Hermitage Pavilion → Marble Bridge → Fountain "Girl with a Jug"
The next mandatory item of any excursion program in Tsarskoye Selo is Catherine Park. The entrance to one of the most pompous and luxurious parks around the world is located on Sadovaya Street. You fall into the territory, which is an integral part of the Tsarskoye Selo imperial residence.
Apartments of the Catherine Palace:
- Amber Room (the best masters from different countries worked on its creation for 5 years),
- White Front Dining Room,
- Raspberry and Green Pillars,
- Throne room,
- The Picture Hall (it contains more than 100 paintings from the works of Western European artists of the XVII - early XVIII centuries of various national schools),
- Green dining
- The bedchamber,
- Blue and Chinese blue living rooms.
The palace was erected for Empress Catherine I as the royal summer residence. However, much later, during the reign of Elizabeth Petrovna, the main building was rebuilt under the direction of architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. It is in this form that the palace has survived to this day.
After 1917, the residence building was nationalized, and a museum reserve was opened here. During the Great Patriotic War, the palace ensemble was seriously damaged. Many exhibits were destroyed or stolen by the Nazis. Restoration is still taking place on the basis of archival documents and photographs.
Continuing to the left side of the park, you will see the Hermitage pavilion - a two-story stone building with a large hall in the center, and in the hall, in turn, there was a gallery in each of the four corners. Externally, the pavilion resembles the Catherine Palace. The uniformity of the Hermitage with the Catherine Palace is distinguished, first of all, by the location of the pavilion: it stands on the alley, emanating from the center of the Catherine Palace.
The external decoration of the Hermitage, as befits a Baroque style, is diverse, rich, vibrant and quite active, like that of the Catherine Palace. The combination of colors in the decoration of the pavilion is exactly the same as that of the big palace, that is, azure blue, white and gold. Empress Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, after taking the throne, ordered to set up a regular park in Tsarskoye Selo.
For this, it was ordered to cut down the Wild Grove planted twenty years ago. Alder, spruce and birch trees grew in this grove. The park was arranged by the gardener Elizabeth Lambert. Such pavilions, whose name in French is “Hermitage” means “the hermit’s hut”, were widely used in regular gardens of the 18th century. They were intended for rest and lunches of the estate owner in a narrow circle of favorites and were placed in the wild part of the park.
In 1744, construction began on the Hermitage pavilion in the Regular Park. The project for the construction of a new stone building was dealt with by M. G. Zemtsov, and S. I. Chevakinsky actually conducted the construction. Laying the foundation took only six months. And in 1744 the preliminary construction was completed. In 1749, the Hermitage was completely rebuilt, but the facades were redone according to the plan of F. B. Rastrelli. The meaning of his idea was that the new pavilion is a kind of paraphrase of the Catherine Palace.
At first, a canal was drawn around the Hermitage. The entire area between the new pavilion and the canal was lined with black and white marble slabs in a checkerboard pattern. The Hermitage was decorated with garlands, stucco decorations, vases, statues. Some of these decorations were gilded, and white columns stood out wonderfully against a bright blue background. The pavilion leaves the impression of a luxurious jewelry toy on the background of the large Catherine Palace.
The Hermitage was intended for meetings and entertainment of noble people in a small circle. The most interesting exhibit inside the pavilion are tables and hoists. For a meal, they went up from the lower floor thanks to openings in the floor, and after that they went back down. Thus, the dining area quickly turned into a dance area, and the servants did not interfere with the guests. The Hermitage hosts hotel tours, which show the work of an outlandish structure.
You can get into the park through the gates located at the Alexander Palace or along the large Chinese bridge next to the main entrance to the Catherine Palace. From here our journey begins. Aleksandrovsky consists of two parts: regular (or the New Garden) and landscape parks.
A regular or French park is a park that has a geometrically correct layout of alleys, flower beds, pools. Trees and shrubs in them are usually trimmed. A landscape or English park is a free-plan park that repeats the natural landscape.
Alexander Park is part of the State Art and Architecture Palace and Park Museum-Reserve Tsarskoye Selo. The name of the park comes from the name of its creator - Emperor Alexander I.
He inherited a love of gardening from his grandmother Catherine II and gave the park a finished look, bringing it to perfection. Alexander I did this primarily for himself, because he liked to walk in the park, continuing the tradition of garden walks established by Catherine the Great.
During the walk, we will draw your attention to several interesting objects that make up the park ensemble.
The Great Chinese Bridge
The hobby for China, characteristic of the turn of the 17th and 19th centuries, was reflected not only in the pavilions of the Alexander Park, but also in the three bridges of the New Garden that were thrown across the Cross Channel - the Great Chinese, Dragon and Cross.
The Great Chinese Bridge is located at the central gate to Alexander Park on the side of the parade ground. This wide and flat pink granite bridge is enclosed by railings made of tall graceful vases connected to each other by bright red coral branches forged from iron.
The project for the construction of the Great Chinese Bridge was developed by I.V. Neyelov in 1784. But almost immediately Catherine II approved a new project for this bridge of C. Cameron, on which the bridge was built in 1784-1786, simultaneously with Drakonov.
In addition to granite vases and coral branches, in 1860 the Great Chinese Bridge was decorated with four figures of Chinese people sitting on pedestal stands, sculptor P.I. Schwartz. The figures were dressed in national costumes, painted in different colors, and held lanterns suspended on sticks in their hands.
By the end of the 1860s, the limestone painted figures of the Chinese were completely dilapidated and were replaced by zinc, also polychrome painted and made at the Genke, Pleske and Moran factory. The work was carried out under the supervision of the court architect I. A. Monighetti.
During the Great Patriotic War, sculptures of the bridge died and are now recreated. The sculptures-restorer of the GMZ Shvetskaya Liliya Mikhailovna took part in the work at the initial stage. Today, as we see, in the XVIII century it was fashionable to turn to oriental motives in construction, and the then trend did not pass Tsarskoye Selo. The crossing barriers resemble Chinese vases, which are decorated with an unusual decor in the form of red corals. Also on the bridge you can see figures of 4 Chinese.
Continuing acquaintance with the ancient Chinese elements of architecture in the Alexander Park, head left, where the Chinese village is located. Here you will see small houses of Asian construction. In total - 18 buildings.
The idea of the Chinese village construction project is attributed to A. Rinaldi and dates from about 1772. Construction began 10 years later and ended by 1786, although it was not fully completed. It was led by C. Cameron. The village was a group of houses built for the noble guests and courtiers of Catherine II who came to the court.
An octagonal observatory was supposed to be located in the center of the village, but the plan of Catherine II was never fully realized. Details of the facade of the building were borrowed from the Chinese pagoda in Nanjing. During the time of Tsarist Russia, houses were provided to noble guests and courtiers. For example, the poet G.R.Derzhavin and the historian N.M. Karamzin stayed here.
Currently, as 200 years ago, houses are used for residential and guest apartments. The Danish company "TC Development Pushkin" at its own expense completely restored the Chinese village in exchange for the right to lease it for 49 years and the right to use it as a hotel complex. Now there are 28 apartments in which everyone can live.
Another Chinese hobby is the Dragon Bridge in Alexander Park.To get to it you need to return to the New Garden, where we started our journey. Along the way, you will meet the ruins of the Chinese Theater, destroyed during the Great Patriotic War.
The Dragon Bridge was built in 1785 according to the design of C. Cameron, not far from the Chinese Theater. The bridge was built in an ensemble with the Great Chinese Bridge at the opposite end of the alley at the Catherine Palace. Interestingly, in the documents of the late XVIII century, it was called the bridge "monstrous figures."
Initially, during the construction of the bridge during the reign of Empress Catherine II, the figures were griffins and were made of plaster. The bridge began to be called Draconov, when in the mid-19th century the decayed figures were replaced by cast-iron sculptures of Chinese dragons.
Dragons bridge is decorated with four expressive figures of winged dragons mounted on granite pedestals. The figures of dragons are full of expression, their paws are stretched forward, the tails are curved with steep loops. The existing cast-iron dragons were cast in 1860 according to the models of the sculptor I. Schwartz.
Then we propose to go to the right side of the park, to the Alexander Palace. The construction of the Alexander Palace began in 1792 by order of Catherine the Great and was timed to coincide with the wedding ceremony of her grandson Alexander and Princess Elizabeth Alekseevna.
The construction of the Alexander Palace was completed in May 1796, and on June 12, 1796, the future Emperor Alexander I and his wife moved to live in the palace. The design of the palace belongs to the architect Giacomo Quarenghi. In general, the Alexander Palace is a two-story building, the plan of which is simple and convenient.
The palace is designed in a strict classical style, according to its architecture, one can judge the great influence on Quarenghi of one of the last Renaissance architects, the outstanding Palladio. The Alexander Palace is a monument of classicism.
The house was liked by many emperors after Alexander I: Nicholas I, Alexander III and especially Nicholas II. The last Russian sovereign had an official residence here, where he held all the ceremonial and diplomatic receptions.
Just like the Catherine Palace, after the Great October Revolution, the house of the Romanov dynasty became a museum. Currently, the palace is undergoing restoration work, and very soon it will open to visitors. During the walk you met the majestic Mount Parnassus.
4. The House of War → The Singing Tower → Museum "Russia in the Great War" → Museum for friends → Museum-cottage of A. S. Pushkin → Egyptian Gate
Now we offer to get acquainted with the object located outside the park, on the border territory. This is the Warrior’s Chamber, which is part of the complex of buildings of the Fedorovsky town. To do this, you need to follow a trail starting from the Children's Pond towards the Farm Road. Here is the official exit, where you will immediately see a very interesting building from a historical point of view.
Memorial Museum-Lyceum (Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum)
The Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum is known to us as the school where A.S. was raised Pushkin. “Tsarskoye Selo is our homeland,” wrote the great poet. The educational institution was opened in 1811 and accepted only children from noble families. Pushkin was in the first set of Lyceum.
The institution is known for its traditions. After final exams, Lyceum employees broke the bell that used to collect students for classes. Shards were distributed to graduates as a symbol of warmth and love for the students of the Lyceum. The release of Alexander Pushkin also received rings with an inscription in memory, which became the talisman for former lyceum students.
The museum recreated the atmosphere and spirit of the first issue of the Lyceum. Based on archival materials, museum workers created the Great Hall, the Newspaper Room, study classes and the library hall. Here you can see the bedrooms of the students and the rooms of the tutor S.G. Chirikov, who lived half his life in the Lyceum. An exhibition is open within the walls of the museum, helping to learn about the life and fate of graduates of an educational institution of different years.
Historical and Literary Museum of the city of Pushkin
Museum expositions tell about life in Pushkin for centuries. Photos, historical documents, paintings and interior items help to plunge into the old way of life. According to museum workers, visitors are impressed by the Tsarskoye Selo Tavern exhibition. The hall shows old samovars, dishes and gramophones. At the checkout you can for 800 rubles. order a tea party at the Tsarskoye Selo Tavern.
Another of the museum’s features is that from the windows of one of its halls there is a good view of the restored Catherine’s Church, which is considered the main temple of the city.
Museum staff arrange city sightseeing tours (on foot and bus), as well as tours dedicated to parks, cathedrals and other historical places of the city.
Babolovsky Palace and Park
Babolovsky Park is located northwest of the Krasnoselsky highway. It is worth coming here to look at the dilapidated Babolovsky Palace with a huge stone bath and at the Taitsky aqueduct.
The park got its name from the Finnish village of Pabola (Babola), on the site of which it is located. Later, when this land became Russian, a pond was dug here, swamps were drained, bushes and deciduous trees were planted. The founder of this landscape park is considered the architect I.V. Neyelov.
In the middle of the XVIII century, by the decree of Empress Catherine II, the Taitsky aqueduct was laid in the park, coming from the keys of the Thais hill. At first it was a wooden canals, then they were faced with stone. According to legend, Catherine II considered this water useful and drank only it. Under the Empress, on the territory of Babolovsky Park, a wooden house was first built for Prince G.A. Potemkina, and then a one-story stone palace with seven rooms and a large bathhouse.
A bathtub containing 8000 buckets of water was built from a single piece of granite in the palace by Alexander I, a lover of swimming in cold water. For these purposes, the bathhouse was rebuilt. The palace was also used for other purposes: it is believed that it was in its walls that Alexander met one of his favorites.
Unfortunately, during the years of the Great Patriotic War, the construction of the park and hydraulic structures were seriously damaged. However, the King-bath remained standing in the dilapidated walls, and you can look at it through the lancet window of the palace.
Fragments of the Taitsky aqueduct are preserved in the area of the Babolovsky Palace. In the late 80s, they tried to restore the aqueduct, but the event ended in failure.
Fedorovsky sovereign cathedral
Fedorovsky Cathedral is located in the lower part of the Alexander Park, where the Farm Park begins. It was built for officers of the Imperial Consolidated Regiment and Convoy. It is believed that the place for the temple was chosen by Nicholas II himself, who laid the first foundation stone.
Architect V.A. Pokrovsky created by order of the emperor a one-domed cathedral, somewhat reminiscent of the Moscow Annunciation Cathedral. In the temple there is not only the upper, but also the lower church, where services were held for the royal family in winter. Entrance to the temple at the beginning of the 20th century was allowed to ordinary people only during Orthodox holidays, and then - by special invitation.
Next to the Fedorovsky Sovereign Cathedral, Nicholas II planted oaks in honor of the birth of his children. At this place a monument was later erected to the emperor.
The temple was opened to visitors only after the revolution, but in the Stalin era it was converted into a cinema, leaving a dome and exterior decoration. The building was seriously damaged during the war and was restored only in 1995. The Cathedral is known among believers as a revered list of the Fedorov Icon of the Mother of God.
Beautiful video about Tsarskoye Selo:
video tour of the parks and palaces of Tsarskoye Selo: