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Catherine’s Palace – Pushkin, near St Petersburg

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Chesme Church

Chesme Church

Chesme Church

Leaving St Petersburg through the suburbs first stop before entering the snowy countryside was Chesme Church.

The full name is the Church of Saint John the Baptist at Chesme Palace, but it’s known locally simply as Chesme Church. The cake shaped church was built to honour the 1770 Russian victory over the Turks in the Battle of Chesme. The location of the church is where Catherine the Great heard about the victory on her way to Pushkin. Standing alone in a large park it’s really rather arresting, more so than some of the much larger and more ornate cathedrals in the city centre.

Catherines Palace

Catherines Palace

Catherine’s Palace.

Catherine’s Palace, located in Pushkin, was the summer residence of the tsars. The first version was designed in 1717, but various rebuilds and additions continued until Catherine’s death in 1796.

Catherines Palace Facade

Catherines Palace Facade

Catherine Palace Facade

The facade is considered a masterpiece of the Russian Baroque style and was built in 1717 by order of Ekaterina I (Catherine). An international team of architects worked to create the facades and interiors.

Main staircase

Main staircase

Ballroom

A rare quiet moment in the ballroom

Dining rooms

Dining rooms – all the food on display is ceramic

Blue waiting room

Blue waiting room

Dressing room

Dressing room – note the huge ceramic chimney

The Amber Room

The Amber Room – there’s no photography inside but it’s allowed to take a snap through the door

Amber Room in Catherine’s Palace

The legendary Amber Room was stolen lost during the World War II. It has been fully reconstructed and supposedly is now the main attraction of the Catherine Palace. To me it was definitely unique, but compared to the rest of the palace was one of the less beautiful rooms.

Catherines Palace corridors

Catherines Palace corridors – these run half the length of the building

Garden shed

Garden shed. Maybe

Catherine’s Palace Tips

Something I love in Russia is the prevalence of cloakrooms – both here and in The Hermitage yesterday there are cloakrooms right by the door. It means you can walk in from the snowy outside and enjoy the museums in heated comfort without carrying layers of coats and jumpers and boots and scarves and gloves.

They’re free to use and very friendly.

Covered walkway from the palace to the gardens

Covered walkway from the palace to the gardens

Private chapel

Private chapel

Rear gates

Rear gates

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Author

Since leaving London in 2006 I’ve travelled, worked, volunteered and lived in over 90 countries. Highlights so far would be driving along the Silk Road from Beijing to Istanbul, a complete circuit of South America and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Costa Rica. I’m currently back in Beijing, as a base to visit more of Asia and attempt to learn Mandarin.

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