Gatchina is a wonderful picturesque city, located in the south- eastern part of St.Petersburg, 46 kilometers away from it. In this small city there are many palaces and landscapes that can be considered a real works of art. This small place in the world was built and decorated by talented masters, architectures, sculptors and gardeners, they created there a real piece of art that still didnt loose its beautiful nature.
The first villa in Gatchina was built for Natalia Alekseevna, who was a sister of Peter 1, in 1708. Catherine 2 bought its place for Graf Orlov after death of Natalia Alekseevna. Graf Orlov appreciated her gift very much and at once started to invite famous russian and foreign achitecturers to build architectural palaces and parks there.
The Palace that looks like a hunting house with towers was built by the project of famous italian achitect Antonio Rinaldi. Creation of Chemenskiy obelisk in honour of victory of russian sailers over turkish army in 1770 was also planned by Rinaldi. Park was designed in english style in accordance with modern requires of landscape design, and became one of the most wonderful parks.
The Empress decided to bought the villa after the death of graf Orlov and gave it as a gift to her son Pavel Petrovich, who became later the Empreror Pavel 1. He changed the look of the villa and it started to look like a real camp. Pavel 1 asked an achitect Vinchencco Brenno to change the look of the Palace, to make it look like a middleaged castle with bridges and bastions.
Instead of the field in front of the Palace appeared a military camp.There were spent marches by armies and taught soldiers and officers of Prussian army. Gathina started to be called a city officilally and even got its own emblem in 1796, when Pavel 1 became an Emperor. Since then the Palace got the functions of Emperor residence. After the death of Pavel there were no changes in a city, and in 1851 a monument to Peter 1 was located on the square in front of the Palace.
In russian history of aviation Gatchina played an important role, here was opened the first air school and aeroclub, and on the military field aeromen showed their first flights.
The architectural territory of Gatchina was not robbed after the October Revolution as it happened to many other historical places, later there was opened a museum. With the beginning of the Great Patriotic War many works of art from an artistic gallery of the Paalce were removed and brought abroad. In 1941 german army occupied its territories and the city was ruined, the Palace was destroyed,trees damages and pavillions were ruined with explosions.
The reconstructionstarted after the war and lasted for many years, so the park and the palace were opened visiting again only in 1985.So after the Great Patriotic war the Palace became a museum where were gathered for more than 54.000 precious exhibits. It was possible to save 5th half of all the exhibits during the war with the help of museums workers.The Palace suffered a lot from bombing and the inner decoration was almost entirely ruined.
Gathin’s gardens and picturesque parks are represented by its projects and rich with its flora, beuatiful kinds of trees. There are bridges, terraces, effective stone stairs, pavillion with an Eagle symbol on the Long Island, Venus pavillion on the island of Love, Wood orangery, Poultry house, Birch and Admiralty gates.
Prioratskiy Palace is also unique with its look and architecture. It reminds a middleaged castle. In 1971- 1975 a unique Birch House was built in Gatchina, by its look it reminds a huge stack of wood. The main peculiarities of Gatchina represent parks and basins – White and Silver lakes, Karpin Pond and its islands.
At the presence of Alexander 2, Alexander 3 and Nikolay 2 till 1917 Gatchina was their favourite place of hunting. At the beginning of 20th century Gatchcna became a country villa and became a favoutrite place of rest for citizens of St.Petersburg. Later there developed social life, started to work organizations and societies, was opened the first theatre.
In the city appeared cars with high speed that moved on the lit streets, and in the sky appeared first military aeroplanes.
That is how citizens of Gatchina became the first spectators of new technologies in the 20th century.