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12. Tsars village. Historical background. Catherines Palace. Amber room.

It is situated about 25 km down South East from SPb and its one of the most popular places to visit nowadays. German architect Brownshtein constructed a palace for Catherine 1. It was rather small and after the death of Catherine 1 her daughter Elizabeth rebuilt the palace. Many architects had been invited to do the work. Finally, Rastrelli made the requirements of the Empress. At that time the estate () was renamed Tsars Village and turned into the summer imperial residence.

The palace was named in honour of Catherine 1. It was built in Russian Baroque style in the mid of the 18th century. In 1937 the town was renamed as Pushkin. It was the celebration of the centenary of the poets death. The village was the favorite place of Alexander Pushkin. He studied there in lyceum and later when he got married he came back to spend his honeymoon. During WW2 the town was captured by fashists. At the end of 1960s the palace was opened for visiting. Nowadays we can see there Light (Great) Hall, Dining Room, Green pilasters Rooms, Portrait Rooms and the famous Amber Room.

Catherine's Palace. We start from the main staircase. It's the compositional center of the palace (Monigetti). The architect had to match the new interior with those that had been created by his predecessors. That's why the architect decorated the walls with plaster mouldings but without gold leaf which was out of fashion at that time. The only patches of bright colors are crimson curtains and blue porcelain. The marble staircase was restored to its original look of pieces of marble found under the ruins. The plafonds on the ceiling were brought from other collections ("The judgement of Paris"). We're going to see 23 restored rooms out of 55 on the 2nd floor which was the main level. We'll see not only apartments and ballrooms but also living rooms. On the upper landing of the main staircase there're two marble statues of Cupid. One of them is waking up, the other one is falling asleep. The Grand Hall Its owners called it "light gallery" because windows which alternate with mirrors and walls seem to disappear. At night 696 candles were lit. Count Rastrelli who was presented on the ball was proud of what he had created. For the restoration of this hall 9 kilos of gold were used. The cost of one fighter plane and the cost of this hall are the same. It was restored in 1980.

Amber Room. Amber is sap of pine trees which grew a million years ago. Then they fell and were washed into the Baltic Sea. Then this sap turned into stone. Now pieces of that stone are found in the Baltic area. Amber can be of various shades from lime yellow to dark brown. It can be transparent or dull. The most valuable pieces are those where something can be found (bark, mosquitoes). There was an attempt to make synthetic amber. When it was glued to the foundation during the restoration of the amber room it changed the color. So they decided to make it anew of real amber. The creation of the amber room dates back to the XVIII century. It was the work of master-carvers under the supervision of Andreas Shluter. It was a diplomatic gift from Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm to Peter I in 1716. Peter I gave 248 studied soldiers for the Prussian king's guard in exchange for the amber panels. With great care and protection the panels were brought to Saint-Petersburg where they used to decorate one of the rooms of Peter's winter palace. In 1755 to the order of Elizabeth 76 guardsmen brought them to Pushkin. It took 6 days to travel there. Rastrelli created a magnificent amber room. As there weren't enough panels to cover the whole room he inserted a number of mirrors and used an excellent imitation painting for the upper part of the walls. This room always attracted attention of visitors. During the 2nd World War the panels weren't evacuated, they were covered with cloths and sandbags. The occupants discovered them and took to Koenigsberg.




Date: 2015-12-24; view: 95


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