St. PETERSBURG

RUSSIA

Day 2

The second day was spent touring Puskin and the Hermitage. Since no pictures were taken inside the Hermitage, this page is only the Summer Palace in Puskin.

The amazing thing about the palace is that after the Germans were through with it in WWII, there was nothing left but the bare brick. Russia has spent the last 40 years restoring it to its original glory based on old pictures. Not all the original artwork, etc. has been recovered, so much of it has been carefully recreated by various local artisans.


 

The Summer Palace of Catherine I, the wife of Peter the Great

 

The gold onion domes you see on the right were actually under repair at the time and couldn't be seen. Needless to say, this is a postcard.
 
 

The right side arm of the palace, as we were approaching the main entry
 

The main entrance
 

One half of the grounds and structure of this huge palace
 

The other half. You can see the protective covering over the onion domes to the left.
 

The main entrance gate, laced with real gold
 

More of the grounds

Pictures of the interior of the palace are actually scans of postcards, since you had to pay to take pictures inside and you couldn't photograph the Amber Room anyway. On entering the palace, everyone was required to wear 'booties' over their shoes to protect the magnificent floors. You'll see what I mean when you look at the pictures.

 

The Main Staircase
 

The Picture Hall
Peter the Great was an ardent art collector. The paintings seen here are all originals of Italian, French, Dutch and Flemish masters of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The ceramic structure on the left is the heating unit (fireplaces were not popular at the time) and was made of original Delft Blue porcelain from Holland. A similar unit is found in every room of the original structure.
 

The Great Hall



The Cavaliers-in-Attendance Dining Room
 

The Amber Room
The decor on the walls is made entirely of amber, a gift from Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia to Peter the Great. The original panels were taken by the Germans during WWII and have never been recovered.
Using old photos and drawings, local artisans have recreated the room, complete with carved reliefs and panels in Florentine mosaic.
 

The bedchamber of Maria Feodorovna
This room was one added over 100 years after the original palace was built. Fireplaces were now in vogue.

 

The Green Drawing Room
If you look through the door, you'll notice that there is a series of rooms and doors that go on and on. That's because there were no hallways. You just went through room after room to get where you were going.

 

The Crimson Room
 

The Blue State Drawing Room
 

The Chinese Drawing Room
 

The Choir Anteroom
 

The gardens behind the palace.

 

This structure was built to hold garden parties in, so Catherine could show off her dress without it getting wet if it rained.

 

Another view of Catherine's "runway" and a man-made lake
 

Across the man-made lake at the end of the gardens
 

The rear of the palace taken from the gardens
 

The gold onion domes under repair
 

Lunch at a restaurant in Pushkin came with local entertainment


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