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Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo)

Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo)

Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo) – is an outstanding example of world architecture and art. The best sculptors and painters of 18-20 century impersonated wishes and ideas of the Russian Emperors.

The history of Tsarskoye Selo is connected with goverment of three women: Catherine 1, Elizabeth Petrovna, and Catherine 2. The main building here is a Large Catherine Palace, which is located on the hill.

Tsarskoye Selo

It was built in the presence of Catherine 1, but Elizabeth Petrovna considered it to be uncomfortable and small. She invited a famous Rastrelli and till nowadays we can still observe his work.Catherine 2 also made a contribution to Tsarskoye Selo, she built an Alexander or so called New Tsarskoselskiy Palace. The new Palace was made as gift to her favourite grandson Alexander 1 on the day of his marriage. Both Palaces are surrounded by beautiful parks.

(Tsarskoye Selo)

The Catherine Palace that was built by Rastrelli was made in a barocco style. The Palace impresses with its luxury of halls among which is situated a famous “Amber Room”. The Alexander Palace was made in a classicism style, rooms where lived the Emperor Nikolay 2 and his wife Alexandra Fedorovna are decorated in a modern style.

Tsarskoye Selo)

Parks are also an essential part of Tsarskoye Selo Museum. In Pushkin parks there are more than 100 architectural buildings – palaces, pavillions, bridges, marble monuments, and emlements of gothic, Turkish, Chinese architecture.

(Tsarskoye Selo)1

The territory where is situated  Tsarskoye   Selo was a part of an ancient russian country named “Izhorskaya Zemlia Gospodina Velikogo Novgoroda ”, but in 17th century it was occupied with swedens and given back to Peter 1.The name Tsarskoye Selo came from Sweden.

In 1710 -1720 a new country residence was built. During 18th and 19th century and even beginning of 20th century Tsarskoye Selo was considered a front summer Emperor Residence. In 1813-1843 here was Tsarskoselskiy Lyceum, where Pushkin was educated.

Catherine Palace

In Soviet time Tsarskoye Selo was restructured into a Museum.The other buildings became educational and medical buildings, that is why in 1918 the city was renamed in Detskoye Selo. In 1937 there was an anniversary of Pushkin and to his 100 birthday the city was named Puskin.

During the Great Patriotic war the city was occupied for more than 2 years.

Pushkin4

In 1942 the covering of the famous “Amber Room” was taken away, till nowadays it is still absent. After the war the surroundings,the city, Palaces, parks were rebuilt and in 1980 it was decided to reconstruct this room. During next 20 years instaurators tried to reproduce this work of art, and to the St.Petersburg anniversary of 300 years this room was represented and opened for visitors.

Pushkin 3

Day by day park returned their previous look, the palaces were also reconstructed. The works of the Catherine Palace’reconstruction continue still. The Alexandrov Palace was given to the military navy army and not long ago there became a museum that is visited by thousands of people every day.

Tsarskoselskiy lyceum is also an interesting place to visit, it was built by Alexander 1 for children from noble family lines, so there were educated many famous people to us nowadays, for example writers and scientists, goverment and administrative leaders, outstanding people of Russia: Alexander Gorchakov, admiral Fedor Matushin, Ivan Puszhin and Wilgelm Kuhelbeker, a poet Anton Delvig and many others.

Pushkin 2

But the fame to the lyceum brought Alexander Pushkin, an outstanding and great poet and writer. He studied here in 1811-1817. At the exposition of the museum you can see his student room. Around the Palaces of Tsarskoye Selo there are splendid parks: Catherine, Lower, Alexandrov, Babolovskiy, Buferniy.

Pushkin 1

Actually nowadays Tsarskoye Selo is always busy with many thousands of tourists from all over the country and from abroad. That is why on weekends the quantity of the tourists raises up and it is recommended to visit the place in week day.

Pushkin 5

Many people from Germany will be also impressed to know many historical facts about the events and history connected with this place.

So Pushkin city or Tsarskoye Selo is a famous national park, which includes beautiful palaces, parks and many other interestings places you would enjoy.

Silver Age

St. Petersburg

The Silver Age was the calm before the tempest for both St. Petersburg and the rest of the country. Nicholas II, the son of Alexander III, and Russia’s last Emperor, reigned from 1894 till 1917.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the bureaucratic system was still intact. It hampered the country’s social, political and economical development, and first signs of instability appeared. However, the regime would not let go.

St. Petersburg 2

In January 1905, the tsar’s guards gunned down a peaceful demonstration of workers who had come to Palace Square to get their problems through to the Emperor. The ‘Blood Sunday’ fanned the flames of the growing public outrage and triggered the 1905-1907 Revolution. After that, on October 17, 1905, the tsar proclaimed a manifesto, which had a significant democratic veer. It instituted a new parliamentary system. The new parliament was supposed to consist of the State Council and the Duma.

St. Petersburg 1

The district where the parliament building was found boomed instantly. Sadly, most bills and decisions initiated by the Duma were blocked by the government. The WWI added more fuel to the fire, sending the country spiraling down into chaos and disintegration.

St. Petersburg 3

The Silver Age inspired new life in the city’s architecture. During that period, a lot of commercial apartment buildings were erected in St. Petersburg, featuring well-shaped inner yards and modernist, neoclassic and eclectic décor elements. In 1903, when St. Petersburg was celebrating its 200th anniversary, the Troitsky Bridge was built.  Outside the central and historic districts, large workers’ blocks were erected around factories.

St. Petersburg 4

Despite the brewing trouble, St. Petersburg was still an attraction for poets, artists, musicians, composers and writers. Before 1917, the city was considered to be the citadel of the Russian culture.

The 900-day Siege

The 900-day Siege4

Definitely, this is the gravest chapter of the city’s history, since it is full of pain and sorrow. At the same time, the city residents have shown their ability to survive the toughest ordeals imaginable.

The 900-day Siege3

A bit more than two months since the invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Germans staved the Red Army and encircled Leningrad (the city’s name had been changed to Leningrad after Vladimir Lenin’s death in 1924). The siege began on September 8, 1941, and ended on January 27, 1944. In total, the siege lasted 900 days.

The 900-day Siege

The city’s food and fuel stocks were exhausted shortly after the siege began. There was no electricity, heating, and the city transport stopped. The daily ratio was limited to about ¼ of a pound of bread per person. However, life went on in the besieged city, and some industries were still operational.

The 900-day Siege1

The Hermitage’s exhibits were secured in the museum’s and Saint Isaac’s Cathedral’s basements. So were those of Petrodvorets and the Tsarskoye Selo Museum. Cultural life was still brewing. It was during the siege that Dmitry Shostakovich wrote his famous ‘Leningrad’ symphony.

The 900-day Siege8

Neither city residents nor Red Army soldiers agreed to even consider the possibility of surrender. Many residents fled the city via the ‘Road of Life’ that ran across Ladoga Lake – the only connection with the mainland, which was attacked all the time. It was the only route by which food, water and fuel were delivered to Leningrad.

The 900-day Siege2

In January 1943, the Red Army broke the Siege, but it took one more year to lift it completely. Over the three years, more than 600,000 people died of diseases and starvation. Most victims are buried in the Piskariovskoye memorial Cemetery.

The Foundation Ground

Saint Petersburg4

Saint Petersburg is relatively young. Since its foundation in the early 1700s, the city was caught up in a stunning tapestry of historic economic, political and social events, which few one-thousand-year-old cities can boast.

Saint Petersburg2

Before the city’s foundation, Russian people had inhabited Neva banks and the coast of the Gulf of Finland for many centuries. The strategic importance of the region was evident even then, since it served as a springboard for successful economical and cultural relationships with rapidly evolving European societies. The area was also an attraction for Russia’s eternal rivals – the Swedes and the Germans. In the 16th century, when the country was in decline, the Swedes conquered a vast area lying between Ladozhskoye Lake and Narva and blocked access to the Baltic Sea for Russia for nearly 100 years.

Saint Petersburg

The history of regaining the area goes hand in hand with the history of the city’s erection. Peter the Great took reign over Russia in critical times. The tsar realized that there was no way for the country to rise from the ashes of the Time of Trouble without establishing a long-lasting relationship with the rest of Europe. He also realized that it would take a military action to free the northern lands from the Swedes and win back access to the Baltic Sea and therefore to Europe.

Saint Petersburg3

Saint Petersburg was founded in 1703, when the Swedes abandoned the area lying around the Delta of the River Neva. Here the river forms numerous forks and branches dissecting the piece of land into several big islands and scores of smaller ones. There were 101 islands in the delta formed by a network of canals, many of which were filled in as the city grew.

Saint Petersburg1

In 1720, one of the representatives of the Polish Embassy gave his own description of the St. Petersburg’s foundation ground. In his story, he mentioned fifteen little hutches owned by Swedish fishermen, which were found exactly where the city was started.

St. Petersburg Heading Toward Capitalism

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When Alexander II was crowned, the Russian Empire was dealing with economic decline and the consequences of the defeat in the Crimean War. With the thunder of social unrest drawing closer than ever and the gap between Russia and the leading European economies growing more evident, an immediate action was required.

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The abolition of serfdom was one of the most radical steps toward liberal economy. Also, Alexander introduced local self-government organs called ‘zemstvos’, which were authorized to provide roads, medical and schooling services. St. Petersburg obtained a radically new self-government system.

monument-to-alexander-ii-in-st-petersburg

Meanwhile, there was a growing public dissatisfaction with the reforms as being not sufficiently liberal and therefore failed to overcome the conservative trends that inhibited the country’s social and economic development. The government’s oppressive policy resulted in the appearance of the Narodnaya Volya  – a clandestine terrorist organization, whose members assassinated Alexander II on March 1, 1881. The beautiful Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood was erected right at the murder site. Infuriated by his father’s assassination, Alexander III took an extremely tough line against radical organizations and curtailed all liberal reforms.

alexander-ii-in-st-petersburg

In the late 1800s, St. Petersburg became a capitalist city with national and foreign enterprises growing and banking systems developing. In the 1890s, construction was booming and blooming, and the city’s architecture began to grow taller. Liteiny bridge was built, and it was the first place in St. Petersburg to be equipped with street lights. It was the time when monuments to Catherine and Nicholas I were erected. Also, the first monument to the poet Alexander Pushkin was built.

Pushkin

Foundation of Saint-Petersburg

fortress on Zayachy Island 1

By the time of the foundation of St. Petersburg, the Northern War had been raging for three years, and Russia had regained a large part of the land lost a century before, including the delta of the River Neva. However, with the threat persisting and more areas needing to be freed from the Swedish occupation, it was absolutely imperative that Russia strengthened its presence in the north-west by building a stronghold. Under these circumstances, Peter the Great released an order to erect a fortress on Zayachy Island – one of the many islands found in the delta.

fortress on Zayachy Island 4

The fortress appeared to be the city’s first erection. The first stone was laid in its foundation on May 27 N. S., 1703. The fortress and, later, the city were named after St. Peter, the tzar’s patron saint. Nowadays, May 27 is officially celebrated as St. Petersburg’s foundation day. On May 27, 2003, the city celebrated its 300th anniversary, in preparation for which it had undergone a massive renovation.

StPetersburg_1

By the spring of 1704, the hexangular fortress was there, its front bastions projecting forward. Peter designed it as Russia’s main foothold in the war against Sweden

fortress on Zayachy Island

In an effort to secure the conquered positions, Peter launched the construction of a military base with a ship haven, ammunition storage buildings, warehouses, barracks, and officers houses close to the Peter and Paul Fortress. The new city was designed as a military and trading port. It was supposed to concentrate industries serving military needs, including the casting bed, leather factory, powder mill, etc. The main shipping route was redirected from Arkhangelsk to St. Petersburg. In 1703, St. Petersburg gave a pompous reception to the first foreign trading ship arriving in it.

fortress on Zayachy Island 2

It took a tremendous amount of manpower to build such a large city on such a boggy piece of land. Thousands of peasants were forced to move to the area, where they had to live an extremely tough life. Many of them perished from strain and diseases. In 1712, St. Petersburg gained the status of the capital of the Russian Empire.

Elizabeth’s Reign

elizaveta-petrovna

By the end of Peter’s reign, St. Petersburg had become one of the world’s most beautiful cities. It took centuries for most European capitals to become the cities they were at that time, and it took less than three decades for St. Petersburg to achieve equal footing with them. Peter attracted architects from inside the Russian Empire and from abroad, and it was a matter of pride for them to have a chance to implement their ideas in following the highly elaborate town-planning strategy.

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St. Petersburg continued to grow and develop after Peter’s death.  Peter’s daughter – Elizabeth – gave a new impulse to the formation of the city’s architecture and skyline. Unlike her father, who had placed a greater emphasis on the city’s role as a military port and the empire’s main stronghold in the west of the country, Elizabeth’s main concern was the city’s aesthetics.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth reigned from 1741 to 1461. Her natural beauty and infinite love of baroque style laid a strong imprint on the city’s life and appearance. She strove to embellish the city with grandiloquent temples and palaces for the city to live up to its capital status. It was the time when Bartolommeo Rastrelli – a renowned Italian genius of architecture – had his major take on St. Petersburg. The most famous Rastrelli’s creations include the Peterhof ensemble with a lavishly decorated fountain cascade, Tsarskoye Selo, Vorontsov’s and Stroganov’s houses,  Smolny Convent, and the Winter Palace. Nevsky Prospect had already become the city’s main road. Funded by local merchant communities, the construction of the Gostinniy Dvor was launched in 1755.

empress-elizabeth-2

Being a patron of the arts and sciences, Elizabeth contributed to national education, as she established the Russian Academy of Arts.  During Elizabeth’s reign, nobilities lived a pompous and glamorous life full of receptions, masquerades and balls.

Elizabeth 1

Catherine’s St. Petersburg

Catherine the Great4

Catherine the Great took power in 1762, and hers was one of the longest reigns in the Russian history, lasting 34 years. She enjoyed respect among the Russian nobility, who helped her overthrow her husband’s reign.

Catherine the Great7

Catherine the Great continued her predecessor’s city development course, and to her St. Petersburg owes many of the improvement that took place in it over the late 1700s. She launched a massive campaign against shabby wooden structures and ordered that all houses along the banks of the Neva and Fontanka rivers and along the main city roads be aligned and made of stone.

Catherine the Great5

 

Catherine strove to bring St. Petersburg at par with other European capitals. She cared so much about the city’s good looks and economy that she spent her entire reign in the city, and she would only briefly leave for Tsarskoye Selo on summer days. During Catherine’s reign, the city’s population grew from 60,000 people to 200,000 people.

Catherine the Great1

Unlike Elisabeth – an ardent baroque style adherer, Catherine the Great chose to follow the classic trend in architecture characterized by a stricter and more refined form. Jacomo Quarengi – a renowned classicist – designed more than 30 buildings in and around St. Petersburg, including the Old Hermitage, Saltikov’s House and many other creations of architecture.

Catherine the Great3

Works by Antonio Renaldi – another gifted architect – reflected a transition from baroque style to classic style. The Marble Palace is one of his most renowned buildings, which Catherine presented to Grigory Orlov in gratitude for helping her gain power.

Catherine the Great2

The embankments of the river Neva and the canals underwent a massive reconstruction and were clad with red granite slabs, under the direction of Yuri Felten, who crafted the famous iron wrought fencing for the Summer Garden.

Catherine the Great created an ample ground for arts to flourish. It was under her patronage that the first Public Library, the Academy of Fine Arts and the Russian Academy of Science were built.

Saint-Petersburg in 1800-1855

Paul I 3

After Catherine’s death in 1796, her son Paul I assumed power and began to steer the Russian Empire down the bureaucratic road. In an effort to blindly follow the Prussian policy model, Paul I aggressively exercised ultra-conservative policies. His assassination phobia forced him to build what is known today as the Mikhailovsky Castle, which proved to be of little help in the end. He was assassinated in his own bedroom on March 12, 1801, not without his son’s – Alexander’s I – assistance, who had sworn to continue Catherine’s line of policy.

Paul I 1

After the coronation, Alexander began to reform the governmental system. He introduced ministries and the State Counsil and thus laid the foundation for bureaucracy and tough police order to flourish for decades. It was the time when St. Petersburg underwent significant tailoring to meet strict perfectionist requirements. Several major pieces of architecture, such as the Admitralty and the Naval Headquarters, were restructured. The Rostral Column and the Stock Exchange appeared on the southern edge of Vasilievsky Island. A lot of work was done by Carlo Rossi, an outstanding Italian architect, who designed the Mikhailovsky Palace and Arts Square. Auguste Montferrand, a French architect, designed the St. Isaac’s Cathedral, which was intended to be the Empire’s main church.

Paul I

Right after Alexander’s death in December 1825, thelong- glowing political crisis exploded in a revolutionist action sketched by a group of liberal army officers – the Decembrists – who expected Nicholas I to officially introduce constitutional monarchy. They lined up on Senate Square, not taking any radical steps. Most probably, it was the shot by Kachovsky, killing General-Governor Miloradocitch, that triggered the violence. The revolt was crushed and five of the activists were sent to the gallows.

Alexander

This event drove Nicholas I to tighten the current conservative regime and militarize nearly all spheres of political and social life in St. Petersburg and the rest of the country.

Alexander1

Despite the tough regime, the Russian culture flourished. It was during Nicholas’s reign that Alexander Pushkin, Fiodor Dostoyevsky and Mikhail Glinka created their most outstanding masterpieces. It was the time when the first railroad appeared in the country, which connected St. Petersburg with Tsarskoye Selo. It was the time when the first permanent bridge was built in St. Petersburg.

Nicholas

Monument to Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg

The Monument to Catherine

The Monument to Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg, Russia was officially opened in 1873. The idea to put the monument in St. Petersburg came to the relatives and close people of Catherine the Great. Though she was against it, the monument was built a century ago by the order of Alexander 2. There is even a note on the basement of the monument that tells it was devoted to Catherine the Great from Alexander 2.

Actually it was strange that there were no a monument devoted to Catherine the Great for such a long time. So only in 19th century it was decided to build such a monument and the place where it should be located was Tsarskoye Selo. So it was right to put the monument in Tsarskoye Selo because there was also situated Catherine’s Palace.

Catherine 2

But in reality there are many questions that we still dont know the answers on and only can find them in the history of Russia, so why the monument had its project on the paper for a century and why there even existed a possibility to deliver it abroad?

For ordinary people Catherine was the Great Queen that was praised by her kind actions but for her relatives she supposed to be a cruel german woman that became a wife of Romanov and then killed him to get the throne. If this is true we will never know.

30.05.2010 St. Petersburg. Katharine die große am Nevskij Prospekt

So the history tells that in 1859 a painter Ladin asked Alexander 2 for permission to build the monument devoted to Catherine the Great on the anniversary of the Academy of Arts in 1864. So Alexander agreed but he didn’t allow putting the monument on the territory of the Academy of Arts, his oreder was to put the monument on the territory of Tsarskoye Selo.

In July 1859 it was ordered the best sculptors like Klodt, Pimenov and many others to organize a contest for the best projects of the monument to Catherine the Great and its installation in Tsarskoselskiy Garden.

Catherine3

So in the middle of summer in 1860 the projects created by Zaleman, Tokarev and Wanse were represented in Academy of Arts and considered unsatisfied by Alexander 2. But later tuen of the second and the third contest came but noone even appeared there.

In 1861 the project of Mikeshin became interesting for Alexander 2, though Mikeshin was not a sculptor, at first his projest was denied but later it was accepted by Alexander 2. So the 25 year-old Mikeshin suggested to depict Catherine in a great pose on the pedestal with her famous supporters: Potemkin, Rumianceva, Suvorov, Orlova, and Derzhavin.

Catherine4

After this the Academy of Arts approved that the pedestal had not a right size, that the statue of Catherine is not so impressed and that Lyre is not suitable in her left hand.In august of 1861 the Emperor accepted the project of Mikeshin though he said it seemed to him that the head of Catherine’s rather small. So at first Mikeshin made the model of the monument in a small size, and then this model was casted of bronze on the Shopen plant in St.Petersburg, the monument was made in rococo style the same as the Palace where it was planned to locate the monument.

The Monument to Catherine the Great in St. Petersburg

After this the monument was send in London’s exposition where the monument even got an honoured medal. After return in St.Petersburg the Emperor found the place to locate the monument in the Palace.So the statue looks forward to people, Catherine the Great holds lyre in her left hand and scepter in her right hand, she has a long coat that makes a long mantle, at her feet there is a long wreath of oak and laurel leaves and roses.

Catherine5

The statue look gourgeous, its height is 1 m and 11 cm; the pedestal is 1 m 18 cm. The whole height of the monument is 2 m 29cm.

“Catherine the Great, is a Queen that rules the lives of her nation, she is a brave and decent, disposable and proud, she is the creator of punishments, the author of comedies, she is the founder of educational buildings – it was a task at her right hand talent. It was necessary to creat the same light, smiling and full of mind look of Catherine the Great”, – said Mikeshin about her.

Catherine

With the installation of the monument devoted to Catherine 2, St. Petersburg go the best monument. So nowadays it is hard to imagine this square without the monument devoted to Catherine the Great. Citizens of St. Petersburg always come to this park in the very center of the city and with pleasure enjoy the surroundings.