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Staircase in the Terem Palace.Terem Palace

he Terem Palace, easily spotted behind the Church of the Deposition of the Robe by its eleven gilded onion domes, served as the Imperial residence until Emperor Peter the Great moved the Russian capital to St. Petersburg in 1712.

he Royal Apartment of The Terem Palace with their vaulted ceilings and wooden floors are arranged one after the other. The windows in each room have colored glass and wide wooden sills covered with intricate carvings. The third room of the Palace is the Throne Room or Cabinet. The Painting in Goldenness red tones, the coat of arms of the different Russian regions and state double-headed eagles, and the ornament on the rotund tiled stove make the interior of this room particular impressive.
Near the throne is the petition window. A box hung here by a rope, and people placed suggestions in it. Suggestions, which were almost always ignored. Even today, the Russian phrase, "put it in the petition box", means don't expect much from those in charge.

Terem Palace. Throne Room.Entering the Tsar's Private Quarters was restricted to his family, close advisors, and most important visitors. A fierce lion, carved in sandstone, protects the entrance. Atop the arch is a lion with an apple in its mouth. A symbol that even the king of the jungle wouldn't dare repeat so much as one word heard in the Tsar's Palace. The Tsar's waiting room was heated by twin ovens. The ovens are covered by dozens of meticulously painted ceramic tiles. All of the hand-carved arches, emblazoned with the Tzar's trademark, the double eagle

The Boyar's Room past the waiting is a meeting room used by Russia's feudal lords, the Boyars. It was here that matters of state were conducted, regional disputes settled, and some say, schemes against the Tsar hatched.

Today, the Terem Palace can only be accessed from the Vladimirsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace and is, unfortunately, out of bounds to visitors.

Gatchina Palace

Gatchina Palace.The palace and park ensemble in the town of Gatchina ranks among the finest works of landscape architecture of the late eighteenth desiners.

The palace, built in the Early Classical Style to a design by Antonio Rinaldi between 1766 and 1781, was enlarged by Vincenzo Brenna in 1796 - 1798, and reconstructed by Roman Kuzmin between 1845 and 1860.
Gatchina. The White Lake.The landscape parks, occupying an area of 700 hectare, are enlivened by the calm waters of picturesque lakes, ponds, and canals. The arbitrarily scattered bridges, terraces, obelisks, piers, and gates made of local limestone add a romantic air to the beautiful scenery.

Gatchina palace. Front bedroom.
Gatchina palace. Front bedroom.

The Gothic Corridor from a watercolor by E. Hau, 1878.Gatchina has the austere look of a military institution. The restrainted limestone facade is block-like and almost without ornamentation. Unlike most of the palaces of St. Petersburg, which are painted in bright colors, Gatchina is monchromatic and relies on rhythm and shallow articulation of pilasters and windows to soften its monolithic exterior. The palace is entirley surrounded by a deep moat, which emphasizes the castle design of the facade. During the reigns of Paul, Alexander and Nicholas the broad courtyard of Gatchina was used for military parades and reviews.

The Gothic Corridor or Gallery is arranged along the Arsenal Block along the apartments of Nicholas I (facing the courtyard) and was designed by Kuzmin in 1847. The feeling of medieval times is created by the elongated proportions, Gothic vaults, stained glass windows and pointed arches.

The Arsenal Block Oak Chamber designed by Kuzmin in 1850. From a watercolor by E. Hau, 1877.
The Arsenal Block Oak Chamber designed by Kuzmin in 1850. From a watercolor by E. Hau, 1877.

Gatchina palace. Arsenal's Hall. Arsenal's Hall was one of the most popular places where emperor's family rested. Here they
There was a wooden swing for children, a huge magnet from Siberia and models of the ships.

The main feature of decoration of the Hall is deer's antlers and stuffed animals that were killed during the emperor's hunt. (In 1856 the collection was removed in Gatchina).

Gatchina Palace, The Oval Room.There were even notes on stuffed animals saying where and when they were killed. Unfortunately the Hall and all the interiors of the XIX century were burned during the war.

The palace was badly damaged during the 1941 - 1945 war; the decor suffered most of all. Restoration work in the Gatchina Palace is still in the progress.

Moscow, Terem Palace, the Throne Room.
Moscow, Terem Palace, the Throne Room.

Catherine Palace

The Catherine Palace facade is the longest in all of Europe,
stretching more than 1,000 feet in a fantastic profusion of columns, windows, pilasters and statues. Catherine Palace is a remarkable example of pure Russian baroque architecture.

Palace Gate.

Originally the ornaments of the palace were encrusted in gilt, which must have been a brilliant contrast against sapphire blue walls, but the effect was difficult to keep freash and clean, while at the same time was extremely expensive to maintain. Later the gilt ornaments of the palace were ordered painted over in a bronze color by Catherine II.

The Catherine Palace .

There are two fronts to the palace; one faces the garden and the other an enormous parade ground enclosed in a one story arc of baroque buildings and gilded railings. The palace was originally quite small and was built by the architect Braunstein for Catherine I (hence the palace's name), wife of Peter I, who presented it to her as a gift in 1718.

Facade from the Palace GateAfter Peter passed on and his wife died in 1727 the palace passed to their lively, blue-eyed daughter, Elizabeth, who succeeded to the throne in 1741 and immediately enlisted a number of architects to enlarging her summer residence. Later the famous Italian Architect Rastrelli took on the task and perfected the famous palace facades in the way we see them today.

Originally palace was decorated in rose and silver and was an private Imperial chapel, not open to the public as a parish church. Palace Chapel, watercolor by Edward Hau, 1860.Here were performed many of the marriages of Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses and the chapel had many family memories for the Romanovs. The Chapel was damaged by fire several times during the 19th century each time was returned to its original appearance.

During World War II the Chapel ravaged by the Germans in World War II. Tthe restoration of the Chapel is nearing completion and it is again functioning as a religious space.

ike the honored guests of the Russian tsars, the nowadays visitors can admire the full splendor of the palace interiors. Many restored rooms are open for public and contain objects of applied art, fine furniture, Russian and European paintings, unique collections of porcelain, amber, weaponry, artistic bronze and sculpture.

To learn more about Catherine Palace please visit Tsarskoe Selo museum website.
Click here to learn more about Gatchina Palace.

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