So we are going to visit one of the palaces located 25km or 15 miles down south, deep inland, on a very picturesque site, in a town called Pushkin (former Tsarskoe Selo), in the place of the most spectacular former Imperial country residencies. The Catherine palace is one of the earliest architectural ensembles created in the suburbs of St Petersburg. It dates from the early 18th century. Tsarskoe Selo got its name after a Finish word Saari Mois, translated into English like a village on a hill. As before the Northern war on the territory of the future summer residence a Finish settlement used to live. During the Northern war against Sweden these lands were returned to Russia by Peter the Great. And in 1710 Peter the Great presented this particular land to his future wife Catherine I, before marriage her maiden name was Martha Skavronskaya. Respectively the name of the former Finish settlement was changed into a Russian name likewise the village of the tsars or Tsarskoe Selo. Catherine I was so eager to begin the construction of her own palace. The German architect Johan Braunstein was in charge to build the palace for her. In 1724 the 2 storey stone palace with 16 windows appeared on the site of the old farmstead. A beautiful terraced park was laid out in front. But the fate was not kind to the palace, for each new monarch thought it was necessary to make alterations to the original, knocking a bit down and adding a bit new on there (thus Kvasov, Chevakinsky altered the palace in the 1740-s). In 1752 the palace was rebuilt again by Rastrelli on the order of Elizabeth. After Rastrelli’s work the palace was turned into the gala summer residence. A lot of palaces of the nobility were immediately constructed in the neighborhood. During the reign of Catherine II- further alterations were carried out on the Catherine Palace. The gilt on the ornaments and sculptures (which at that were wooden) had not lasted long. The Empress ordered them to stop any further gilding, take down the wooden statues and replace them by molded ornaments). Tsarskoe Selo has seen the introduction of many new technical innovations. It has been Tsarskoe Selo and Pavlovsk, another royal residence that Russia’s first railway line was built in 1837. In 1887 piped water and sewage system appeared at Tsarskoe Selo and almost at the same time a power station was put into operation making Tsarskoe Selo the first city with electrification in Europe. The palace belonged to the royal family till the October Revolution of 1917. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 the palace was turned into a museum. It was open for public in 1918 and worked as a museum till the Second World War.
During WWII the town of Pushkin was under Nazi occupation for 28 months and was almost completely obliterated for it lay just behind the front line: the palace was completely gutted by fire (only the shell of the original building remained); the parks and garden pavilions were severely damaged; thousands of trees were felled for the mere sake of destruction.
Restoration works started in 1957 and are still in progress. Fortunately, some 20,000 pieces of the original art collection had been evacuated to the rear of the country before the Nazi moved in, so they are now being restored to where they belong. But many valuables are irrevocably lost.
After the war the restores were able recreate some lost rooms anew exactly to the same look they had once, including the famous Amber Room. And we will see this tremendous work of restoration art, and I hope you will really enjoy the palace and tour as well. To get there takes us just one hour-drive by bus (car, mini-van). On the way to Pushkin we will pass some places of interests, and I will point out at some very significant.
So we begin driving from the hotel (commercial sea-trade port, passenger sea port). On the way we are passing by:
Route: Nevsky Prospect - the Fountain River Embankment - Moscow Prospect - Kievskoye Shosse (Kiev Highway)
The name of the Fountain River goes back to the time of Peter I when its water was used to feed the fountains of the Summer gardens. The left bank of the river was built up in the 19th century.
LEFT - the former palace of the family of Prince Beloselsky-Belozersky (mid-19th century, Stakenschneider). From the 1880s it was owned by the royal family; its last owner was Grand Duke Dmitry, a participant of the plot against Grigory Rasputin. At present the building houses a municipal cultural centre.
LEFT – the building next door is the former homestead of St Trinity Lavra in Moscow (the 1840s, Gornostayev). At present there is the Central Municipal Library.
RIGHT – Lomonosov Bridge is one of the 7 identical stone bridges across the Fountain River built in the 1780s. Only two have been preserved. This used to be a drawbridge and the four corner granite towers contained lifting mechanisms.
RIGHT – Lomonosov Square across the river is formed by a monumental semi-circular building of the former Ministry of Education (the 1830s, Rossi).
STRAIGHT ahead in a distance there are the blue domes of St Trinity Cathedral (1835, Stasov), which was built for Ismailovsky Royal Regiment.
RIGHT – the modern building known as the Press House. It accommodates a number of editorial offices of St Petersburg newspapers.
RIGHT – the green building next door is one of the most popular drama theatres of the city, the Bolshoi Drama Theatre (1870, Fontana).
This section of the river was built up with different banking establishments in the late 19th and early 20th century.
LEFT – the former barracks of Moscow Guards Regiment (late 18th century). The building is associated with the Decembrist uprising of 1825. It was from here that the insurgent regiment set out for Senate Square where the uprising took place.
LEFT – the Obukhov Hospital, one of the city’s oldest hospitals opened in 1799. Many famous doctors of Russia worked here. The first medical school of the country with a four-year term of education was established here in 1821, which marked the beginning of paramedical training in Russia.
RIGHT – the College of Railway Engineering, one of the oldest higher schools in Russia. It was founded in 1809 by order of Alexander I (the 1790s, Quarenghi).
Moscow Prospect is one of the city’s longest streets. It is 9.5 km (7 miles) long. From the early 18th century this was part of the main road which connected St Petersburg to Moscow and Tsarskoe Selo, the summer residence of the tsars. In the 18th century, the road was called the Tsarskoe Selo Perspective Road. Later it was renamed many times:
in 1806-1878 it was called the Great Road to Tsarskoe Selo;
from 1878 it was called Trans-Balcan Avenue in honour of Russia’s victory in one of the Russian-Turkish wars;
from 1922 it was called International Avenue;
in 1950 it was named Stalin Avenue;
in 1956 it was eventually named Moscow Avenue.
RIGHT – a marble milestone with a sundial (1744, Rinaldi). It marked the beginning of the road to Tsarskoe Selo, to Moscow and the southern provinces of Russia in the second half of the 18th century.
RIGHT – the yellow-and-white building of a cadet school with four 19th century guns at the entrance. The building (1809, Paulson) was constructed for the military orphanage founded by Paul I in the late 18th century.
RIGHT – the building next door houses the Research Institute of Metrology where the great Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleyev worked in the late 19th and early 20th century. The facade of the building next door is decorated with a mosaic periodic table of elements, discovered by Mendeleyev. There is a monument to Mendeleyev in front of the building (1931, Ginzburg).
LEFT - Opposite it, across the street- one of the oldest higher technical educational establishments –the Technological Institute. The first Marxist societies were formed there. That’s why a monument to the first Russian Marxist Plekhanov was put up in front of the building (sculptor Ginsburg). At the opposite corner the semicircle building which houses the managing offices of St Petersburg metro.
LEFT - Griboedov Garden.
RIGHT – the small pink-and-white two-storied building dates from the early 19th century. It used to house the Free Economic Society, which was initiated by rich landlords in 1765 to spread useful agricultural and industrial information. The Society functioned till the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. This section of Moscow Prospect was built up in the second half of the 19th century. The buildings here are mostly former tenants’ houses. They were built very close to each other, with tiny inner yards. Apartments were always overcrowded, but very profitable for the landlords.
LEFT - A huge grey building of the Frunzenski department store (1934-1938, Katonin).
The Obvodny (Bypass, or Drainage) Canal was dug out in the early 19th century as a derivation canal to derive excess water from the Neva during the floods. It is 8km or 5.5 miles long. In the mid-19th century it was an important transport waterway, and served as a boundary between the city centre and suburban districts of workers’ settlements.
RIGHT – crossing the Bypass Canal, you can see the Russian Orthodox church of Resurrection (1908, Grimm and others). It was built in the early 20th century to imitate ancient Russian churches if the 17th century. The Church, as the legend has, was constructed by a merchant who suffered from alcohol addiction. Once he appealed to God in his prayer, and the prayer was heard. In his night dream he saw an angel sent by God, who advised him to construct the church. So once heard he hurried to fulfill God’s instruction. And when he put the final brick on the construction, he recovered from the abuse of drinking vodka. The tradition to touch the walls of the church just for the mere treatment against this bad habit is widely spread among our people. You may check it also if you think it’s high time.
RIGHT – the 19th century yellow building of the former stockyard and abattoir (slaughter-house) (1825, Charlemagne). Since the 1930s, the building has housed a dairy factory. Today it produces 1 mln. bottles of milk products daily.
This district was formerly known as Moscow Outpost. After the railways to Tsarskoe Selo and to Moscow were constructed in the middle of the 19th century, this avenue lost its former importance as an official road. More and more industrial enterprises and warehouses began to appear here. In the 19th century, this was an industrial section of the city. It was a typical out-skirts inhabited by workers with muddy roads and wooden factory barracks. There were no water and electricity supplies, no clubs and theaters. Shaky wooden footways served as sidewalks. In rainy weather the streets were turned into muddy streams. Weak kerosene lamps were used to light streets here long after gas and electricity was introduced in the city center. The developing industries attracted labor force and very soon the former official road was built up with numerous dirty huts. The road fell into neglect; it was hardly illuminated and people threw garbage into the dirty gutters on both sides of it. About 50,000 workers lived here with their families; there were 18 churches and 72 taverns in this and adjoining streets.
RIGHT – the Moscow Outpost district was also famous for its numerous dumps. The biggest one, which was known as “the hot field”, was located on the site of the yellow apartment houses constructed in the 1930s according to the Master Plan of the reconstruction of this area; it is a block of flats built by a Leningrad architect Iljin. This part of Moscow Avenue was rebuilt in the 1930s. New blocks of flats, parks and gardens were laid out at the same time.
LEFT – the dark grey building with big windows is the place where International Fur Auction sales are held 3 times a year. It is the Palace of Furs (the 1930s, Fridman), constructed for international fur auction sales. The first fur auction was held in 1931.
LEFT – the former Novodevichii (New Maiden) Convent (mid-19th century, Yefimov). The graveyard of the convent is the burial place of many famous Russians (Nekrasov, Tyutchev, Vrubel, Botkin etc.).
LEFT – a hospital named after Konyashin, a shoe-maker from the Shoe-Wear –Production Factory “Scorokhod”. It is the first hospital built after the Revolution.
RIGHT – the dark grey building of an Entertainment Centre, Culture center, constructed by workers of the Skorokhod Shoe Factory in 1931. They built it in one year in their free time. There was built-in a theatre, cinema and library.
The square with the triumphal arch was formerly surrounded with an iron fence. There was an outpost, and guards checked travellers’ papers.
The Moscow Triumphal Arch was put up (1838, Stasov) to commemorate Russia’s victories over Turkey and Persia in the war of 1828-1829. The arch is said to be the biggest cast-iron structure in the world. It is decorated with martial symbols.
RIGHT – in the second half of the 19th century this area was beyond the city limits and many industrial enterprises were built here. The Skorokhod Shoe Factory is the oldest one in Russia, founded in 1832. The name of the factory means a fast walker. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in the workshops of the factory the fist Join-Venture with a German Shoe-Wear Factory “Salamander” was established here under a name “Len-West”.
RIGHT – the building next door is another factory named Egorov, which produces railway cars and cars for subway trains. It was founded in 1873 to make horse-cars. Today it produces all metal coaches for long distance trains and metro.
RIGHT – the dark grey building of the district government. It was designed in the typical style of the 1930s.
RIGHT & LEFT – one of the biggest industrial enterprises of the country, the Electrosila, the leading enterprise of electrical machinery in our country. It produces half of all Russian power generators and exports them to many countries. The original plant was established by a German industrialist Siemens Shukkert in 1911 and produced electric motors and transformers. At present, the Electrosila manufactures most of the generators and turbines for all big power projects of Russia. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the factory sold out some stock-shares to German company Siemens.
The apartment houses on both sides of the street here were founded in the 1930s, but completed after the war. The street was badly damaged during WWII and many buildings here had to be built anew.
LEFT – Victory Park, one of the largest public parks of the city. It was laid out in October 1945 to commemorate the victory over Nazism following the Russian tradition to celebrate historic events by planting new parks and gardens. Thousands of the city residents took part in the foundation of the park. In the center is the Avenue of Heroes, 6 busts of people who were awarded the title of the hero of the Soviet Union twice. Indoor Stadium which is used for both the sport competitions and various concerts named after Vladimir Lenin is located some distance from the main entrance to the park. The capacity of it is 25,000 seats.
RIGHT – opposite the park there is a monument to the prominent 19th century democratic philosopher Nikolai Chernyshevsky. Who wrote his book “What is to be done?” Behind the monument there is the “Rossia” hotel for 600 guests built.
RIGHT – the huge grey building constructed for the Russian National Library. Actually it is an extension to the main building of the Library, which is on Nevsky Prospekt. The extension was finished some few years ago. There are a lot of reading halls modernized due to IT (Informational Technologies with computers and Internet network.)
LEFT – some distance from the street a yellowish building with the tower is an 18th century building constructed here in the 1780s by Rinaldi on the order of Catherine II to be called “The Chesma Palace” and to commemorate a victory over Turks in 1771.
In the 1930s it was planned to shift here the city’s administrative centre and Moscow Square was designed as the central square of the city.
LEFT – the monumental building in the square was constructed in 1936-1941 (Noi Trotsky) as the main administrative building of the city. The facade is decorated with the hammer and sickle, the state emblem of the USSR. At present the building accommodates an enterprise, scientific research institute named after Lenin. In front of the building there is a monument to Lenin unveiled in 1970.
RIGHT & LEFT – the two identical buildings on both sides of the street are apartment houses with the district department store on the ground floor and artists’ studios on the top floor. They were built in the 1960s (Speransky).
Moscow Prospect is closed up by Victory Square with the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad during WWII. The monument was built in 1975. The money for its construction was raised by donations from people all over the country. It symbolically represents the broken ring of the German blockade with the bronze figures of defenders of Leningrad. At the same time the square is a road junction between three highways: the Pulkovo or Kiev highway, the Moscow highway and the Tallinn highway, all roads lead to the capitals of three countries: to the Ukraine, Russia and Estonia.
RIGHT – the “Pulkovskaya” hotel for 1,500 guests. The hotel was constructed in 1982 in collaboration with a Finnish building company “Polar”.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, there was an outpost where travellers’ papers were checked. In the early 18th century, a small palace was built here for the Empress to rest on her way to Tsarskoe Selo. In the second half of the 18th century the palace fell into neglect and later, was pulled down.
RIGHT – the road to the airport. So we will drive along the Pulkovo highway, it is also a way to the local airport. The present-day international airport building was originally constructed in the 1950s (it is being reconstructed). The domestic airport building dates from the 1970s. The name of the airport respectively is Pulkovo II and Pulkovo I named after the hills.
STRAIGHT ahead there are Pulkovo Hills, which are the highest point south of St Petersburg (75 m above the sea level). The building on top of the hill is the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory, which has been the main astronomical observatory of the country since 1839. In the 19th century when it was opened it became known as the “astronomical capital of the world”. In September 1941 it was at the front line of the Leningrad defense, and suffered badly from bombing and gunfire. Restoration work began immediately after the war and in May 1945 the Observatory was reopened.
It was here that during WWII the Nazi troops were stopped in 1941 and then defeated in 1944. On the hill slope, there is a common grave of the defenders of Leningrad.
LEFT – the pavilion was used as a drinking trough for horses in old days. (1809, arch. Toma de Thomon). It is decorated with four sphinxes and has a name of four witches.
RIGHT – a monument to Alexander Pushkin. The Pulkovo highway goes upper the hills. But we are turning to the left, and at the criss-cross of the road we can see a monument to the Russian poet of the 19th century Alexander Pushkin by sculptor Manuilov, 1957.
Just a few words about this prominent Russian poet, whom we consider to be our Shakespeare. Pushkin was born in Moscow in 1799. His family belonged to Russian nobility, his bringing up was in the hands of foreign tutors, he received a French education at home. From his childhood he was subjected to the influence of the Russian folklore: his nurse, Arina Rodionovna, introduced him into it. In 1811 a Lyceum was established by Alexander I as the higher school for boys of noble birth. It became the privileged school, intended to prepare young people to fill various positions in the government-service. It had a six year course. In 1815 Pushkin recited his “Reminiscences” of Tsarskoe Selo. In 1817 he graduated from the Lyceum. He received an appointment to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But his duties were purely formal; he devoted his time to social and literature life of the capital. He wrote many epigrams on the Tsar Nicholas I condemning the autocracy. The first large poem “Puslan and Ludmila” – it was a great success. For his epigrams he was banished to the South. In the South he wrote: “The Fountain of Bachtchissarai”; “The Gypsies”, “The Prisoner of the Caucasus” and started “Eugene Onegin”. After the South he was exiled to his father’s estate in Mikhailovskoe. In 1826 he was officially released from exile, but he had to stay under the strict surveillance of the police. There he wrote “Eugene Onegin” and Boris Godunov. He went to Boldino in 1830. In 1831 he married Natalie Goncharova. And they moved to St Petersburg, where he created “Dubrovski”, “The Queen of Spades”, “The tale of the fisherman and a golden fish”. Immediately after their marriage they rented a small house where they spent their honey-moon. We will see this small building soon on our way. Natalie appeared to be the first beauty at the court of Nicholas I, everyone easily fell in love with her; they say even Nicholas I was enchanted with her beauty. So that to see Natalie very often in the court during ball parties Nicholas I granted Alexander Pushkin with the minor rank of a gentleman-in-waiting in 1834. Usually this rank was given to the youth, but he was 35 at that time and well-known. The tsar treated Pushkin with ever-great mistrust and irritation. This rank entitled Pushkin to be present always during any court ceremony. Being always at the court cost extra expenses to the family of Pushkin, Natalie’s dresses and his frock-coats. He wanted to retire, but was not allowed. He became involved in court-intrigues, concerning his wife’s fidelity (āåšķīńņü). He challenged an army officer Dantes (the adopted son of the Dutch ambassador) to duel, but himself was mortally wounded. Thousands of people moaned about his death and came to his flat to accompany the poet to his last resting place (he is buried in the family estate in Michailovskoe). The duel took place in January 27th 1837. On the centenary of his death the citizens of this suburban town bestowed his name on the town, so formerly Tsarskoe Selo (1710-1917), then Detskoe Selo (1917-1937), and finally Pushkin town since 1937 till present. This town is a very nice place to live, it is not far from the city St Petersburg, just 25 km., climatically well located in the altitude of 150 m above the sea level, due to that fact that here are not many rainfalls, but a lot of greenery spots, parks, gardens, recreation spots, sanatoria are located there. The population is about 100,000 citizens. There is no industry at all; therefore people have to go to their jobs to St Petersburg, either by surface traffic or commuters, electrified trains for local distance-communications. It takes just 30 minutes by a commuter to get to Pushkin from St Petersburg. Soon we will cross the railroad, the first one constructed in our country in 1837; it was put into operation in November 11th, 1837.
On the right and left hand sides of the road a vast area of state farms’ fields is laying. There farmers grow different vegetables such as potatoes, beet-roots, cabbages, carrots, onions in the ground. The average harvest of potatoes is 120 centers per hectare; vegetables-260 center per hectare; the average milk-yield -3200 liters a year. In the green houses farmers grow only cucumbers, tomatoes, spring-green-onion, and flowers. The specialized association “Summer” is the largest producer of the this type of vegetables. The factory covers an area of about 80 hectares. As the climate conditions in L-d region are rather unfavorable and summer season is very short, when we can grow vegetables outdoors, so green homes play an important role in supplying St Petersburg with fresh vegetables in winter and spring time. Here they cultivate spring onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and mushrooms. There are several farms of this type in Leningrad region.
The main task of agriculture of Leningrad region is to supply the city with meat, eggs, dairy products and vegetables. There are 100,090 state farms in Leningrad region. Nowadays it has become common practice to create highly mechanized agricultural enterprises: poultry farms, large specialized meat farms, large-scale hot houses enterprises. In Leningrad region there are 21 agricultural enterprise associations specializing in the production of dairy products, beef and pork. We have 14 poultry breeding farms (the biggest one-in Siniavino).
State farm is a state owned agricultural enterprise. It is supervised by a manager appointed by the state. Workers get fixed wages. The entire products of State Farm belong to the state. Farmers and state farm workers are given small household plots of land up to half a hectare (subsidiary plots). They are used as vegetables gardens, orchards. The owners may sell part of their produce on the free market or through the consumer cooperative organizations. A lot has been done to intensify agricultural production, to create a modern industrial base for agriculture. Much importance was given to electrification, use of chemicals, to land improvements. Nowadays any one may become a farmer, the new farmers can lease state fields and cultivate the land, creating a kind of own proprietorship farm.
LEFT – two memorial antitank guns of WWII. To the left off the road the two canons are placed to mark the severest battle at the time of the war, it is that place where the Nazis were stopped by the Soviet troops, thus preventing them to occupy the city. The battle took place here in September 17th 1941. The front line was this small river Kuzminka, its banks separated two sides. The Soviet troops and the Nazis held the opposite banks of the river, with a distance of just 100m between them. The Kuzminka River was the front line of the Leningrad defense from 1941 to 1944 (it is 15 km away from Palace Square). On the place of the battle two cannon are installed and a small cemetery with the killed solders and offices buried here.
After crossing the river we appear in Pushkin town. The town was occupied by Nazis for almost three years, since September 17th 1941 till January 23d, 1944. The dates of occupation are on the obelisk of red color. It is on the right.
RIGHT – an obelisk put up to commemorate the liberation of the town of Pushkin in 1944.
Ahead the Egyptian Gate was built in 1829-30 in the pseudo-Egyptian style from sketches by the architect Adam Menelaws, there are scenes from life in ancient Egypt, resembling bas-reliefs of the temple in Karnack. The bas-reliefs were modeled by the sculptor Demut-Malinovsky. The gate actually marked the town boundaries and was an entrance gate into the town. Formerly, one of the three main checking stations set up on the way from St.Petersburg to Tsarskoe Selo was situated here. The Iron Gate and the cast iron columns and plates are covered with hieroglyphics stylized in the fashion of the time.
Almost next to the Egyptian Gate is a statue of the great 19th century poet Alexander Pushkin (1911, sculptor Bernstam). During WWII the Nazi turned it into a training target and it received 150 bullet holes. In 1945 it was restored.
St Theodore’s Township, stylized to imitate ancient Russian style, was built in the early 20th century (architect Kritchinsky, 1914) to house some service buildings for the court of Nicholas II: a refectory, an officers’ hospital, a hospital for lower rank courtiers, an office, a bathhouse, a laundry, and service buildings and apartments for the hospital staff. The church of the township was dedicated to St Theodore’s icon of Our Lady, a patron icon of the Russian royal family.
The small yellow wooden building of Alexander Pushkin’s country house is used as a memorial museum now. The poet and his wife stayed there from May till October 1831, it was that place where Alexander Pushkin and Natalie Goncharova spent their honey-moon. It was here that Pushkin wrote his Tale of Tsar Saltan, later made into a famous opera by Rimsky-Korsakov.
The Roman Catholic church of St John the Baptist (Adamini, Stasov, 1824-1828), which was closed during the Soviet period, is now used as an active church.
The monument to the victims of the holocaust was unveiled in 1991. They say that the site of the monument was one of the sites where some Jewish residents of the town were shot by Nazi occupants during WWII. The sculptor, Vadim Sidur, called it the Formula of Grief. The inscription on the granite plate by the memorial reads, “Their blood was spilled like water, and there was no one to bury them”. The money to build the monument was donated by residents of St Petersburg and raised abroad.
The Alexander palace designed by Quarenghi was commissioned by Catherine II in 1770 for her favourite grandson, the future Emperor Alexander I. The palace was constructed between 1792 and 1796. It is one of the most successful classical structures which blends beautifully with the natural surroundings of the Alexander Park laid out in the typical English style of a landscape park.
Nicholas II used the palace as his permanent residence between 1904 and 1917; it was here that he and his family were arrested after the Revolution of 1917. And from that palace in July 31 1917 he and his family were exiled to Siberia, to Yekatherinburg.
The colonnade of the palace is decorated with two bronze statues which represent players of the two ancient Russian games, “babki” and “svaika” (sculptors Pimenov and Loganovsky). In 1836, they were exhibited at the Fine Arts Academy and gained a great renown.
The interior of the palace was decorated in Classical style and the palace was luxuriously furnished. From 1905, the palace was used by Nicholas II who stayed there after his abdication. The palace had a good library with some 7,000 volumes of books in Russian, English, and German. The whole collection was gone during the war.
Another monument to Alexander Pushkin, one of the finest of its kind, is the work of Robert Bach. The poet is represented as a student of the Lyceum (a special privileged school for the boys of nobility set up in Tsarskoe Selo in 1810), seated on a bench. The expenses for the monument were entirely covered by the subscription of the residents of the town. The foundation stone of the monument was laid in 1899 to mark the 100th anniversary of the poet’s birth. It was finally unveiled in 1900. The statue was cast in bronze at St.Petersburg shops. On the granite plinth, a line from a poem by Pushkin is carved in gold letters: “The whole world is a foreign land to us, but Tsarskoe Selo is our home”.
Next to the monument is an old church built between 1734 and 1747 (architect Blank), which is the oldest building still standing in Pushkin.
Next to the church is the four-storey building of the Lyceum. It was founded with the object of educating boys of the noble families who would afterwards occupy important posts in the Imperial service. Originally the building was a detached house (architect Neyolov, 1791) intended for the grandsons of Catherine II. But one of those, Alexander I, gave the building over to the Lyceum, so it was re-designed by Vasily Stasov and on October 19, 1811 the Lyceum was officially opened. In 1843, the Lyceum was removed to St.Petersburg.
Alexander Pushkin spent six years of his life (from 1811 to 1817) in the Lyceum. The beautiful parks of Tsarskoe Selo inspired him in the creation of his most poetic verses. The Lyceum is kept as a museum now.