A two-hundred year old palace is situated in the midst of picturesque scenery within the architectural ensemble of Tsarskoye Selo in the north part of Alexander Park. This is the Alexander or New Palace of Tsarskoye Selo. It was founded in 1792 by the order of Catherine II and presented to her first and favorite grandson Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich (future emperor Alexander I) on the occasion of his marriage to the Great Duchess Elizaveta Alexeevna (1779–1826). In May 1796, the last year of Catherine II's reign, construction of the palace was finished. On June 12, 1796, the Great Duke Alexander Pavlovich and his wife moved into the New Palace.
The Alexander Palace was designed by the famous Italian architect G. Quarenghi, joined by architect P. Neelov during the construction. Other famous architects, such as L. Rusca, K. Macaire, S. Cerfolio, V. P. Stasov, A. Thon, D. Yefimov, A. Stackenschneider, A. Vidov, C. Danini, and R. Meltzer also contributed to further finishing and reconstruction of the interiors.
The classicist palace is a long two-storied building with two wings on both sides. A magnificent two-row Corinthian colonnade is in the center of the main north facade. From the front side of Alexander Park the facade of the palace looks like a semirotunda covered with a spherical dome.
The interiors of the palace designed by G. Quarenghi were also in the style of classicism. The woodwork was made by Sponholz; Mocklord managed the stucco work; and the plafonds and walls were painted under the artistic direction of painter and decorator G. A. de la Giacomo.
The gala parade halls covered with white artificial marble are arranged along the garden facade of the palace. A hall is situated in the center of the enfilade, with a semirotunda divided into three sections with wide arches. The middle part of the ensemble of the parade halls is called the Semi-Circular Hall; the east side is the Portrait Hall and the Mountain Hall adjoins it. To the west — the Billiard Hall, also known as the Marble Hall. The Corner Sitting Room, which is connected with the libraries, is situated in the left wing of the palace. Also in the left wing is the Concert Hall, adjoining the Corner Sitting Room and some living rooms. The right wing is the Palace Chapel.
The Emperor Nicholas I loved the Alexander Palace very much, and often stayed here for long periods with his close family. It is in the Alexander Palace that, on October 19, 1860, the wife of the Emperor Nicholas I, the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna (1798–1860) passed away.
The Alexander Palace was the residence of the grandson of Nicholas I, the Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich, the future Emperor Alexander III. His apartments were in the right wing of the palace.
After the Revolution of 1905, the Alexander Palace became the permanent residence of Nicholas II who was born in Tsarskoye Selo. It was the palace where the last Russian Emperor lived for his final 22 years of reign. In the morning of August 1, 1917, the Imperial family was transported from here to Tobolsk.
All important events of the early XXth century related to the Russian state activity, such as receptions of ambassadors and foreign public figures, and holidays such as the 300th anniversary of the House of Romanov and the 200th anniversary of Tsarskoye Selo, took place in the Alexander Palace. The area in front of the palace was also often used for official gala receptions, court ceremonies, holy and regimental feasts.
On June 23, 1918, the Alexander Palace was opened for visitors as a state museum. The exposition comprised of historic interiors of the first floor center and the left wing of the palace, and included personal items and works of arts of the Romanovs collected over a period of over a hundred years.
Later a holiday house for NKVD members was arranged in the right wing; and the second floor of the left wing became the Young Communards Orphanage replacing the closed rooms of the Nicholas II's children.
In 1941, when the Second World War broke out, ceiling lamps, carpets, furniture, marble and china-ware, as well as some books from the library, were evacuated from the Alexander Palace-Museum.
After capturing the town of Pushkin, the German troops formed their staff headquarters in the halls of the Alexander Palace and built a prison in the basement and a cemetery for SS-men in front of the palace.
After the war the palace was temporary closed. And in June of 1946, the Alexander Palace was given to the Academy of Sciences of the USSR to store collections of the Russian Literature Institute (Pushkin House) and house the expositions of the All-Union Museum of A. S. Pushkin. In 1947–1951, reconstruction and restoration of the palace started. The initial plan was to retain the surviving interiors of G. Quarenghi and recreate the interiors of Nicholas I and Nicholas II. However, during reconstruction the remaining interior decorations of the Maple and Palisander Sitting Rooms of Nicholas II's wife, the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, and the Nicholas's Bathroom, were destroyed. In 1951, the government handed the Alexander Palace over to the Naval Affairs Department and collections of the palace-museum to the Catherine and Pavlovsk Palaces, among those collections — items designed specially for the interiors of the Alexander Palace.
In 1996 a grant from the World Monuments Fund was received for the reconstruction of the Alexander Palace.
In August 1997, with the active assistance of the Tsarskoye Selo Reserve Museum and military institution based in the palace, after interior redecoration of the left wing and the closets of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, the "Memories of the Alexander Palace" exposition was opened. Today the partially surviving historic interiors exhibit personal belongings of the Tsar, his wife, their daughters — Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia — and their son Tsarevich Alexey.
The Vorontsovsky Palace lies at the bottom of Ay-Petri Mountain. It is made of diabase mined near the site.
The Vorontsovsky Palace had been built (if compared with classicism) according to new architectural and construction principles in the spirit of English architecture. Notably, the Palace has elements from different eras.
The elements ar...
What makes this exhibition especially valuable is the fact that it occupies the historical building of the former Imperial Duty Stables, which was built in 1824 to a design by the architects Vasily Stasov and Smaragd Shustov.
The exhibition presents carriages created by famous Russian and Western European masters in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Exhibitions of the Catherine Palace Museum (named Bolshoy Tsarskoselsky Palace before 1910) cover the 300-year history of this outstanding architectural monument and introduce visitors to many interesting topics: architects involved in its construction and finishing during the 18th and 19th centuries, the present-day state of this unique ensemble a...