Tsarskoe Selo (Royal Village) is located 25 km south of St. Petersburg. Peter I gave this land first to his favourite, Prince Alexander Menshikov, but later took his gift back and granted it instead to his wife, Ekaterina Alekseevna, the future Empress Catherine I.
When Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great, inherited this property, she decided to turn this estate into her gala summer residence. By order of Elizabeth, the unique palace (with the famous “Amber Room”) and park ensemble was created here.
The most significant alterations, however, were made to the palace and park during the reign of Catherine the Great. The Catherine Park was extended with the layout of the garden landscaped in the English style. In the palace itself part of “Elizabeth’s baroque” interiors with abundance of gilded mouldings and sculptures were completely altered by the Scottish architect Charles Cameron in the spirit of the increasingly fashionable Classical style, which got the name “Catherine’s Classicism”. Since then the palace and park with a series of galleries and monuments (with some built for Catherine’s minions and favourites) have remained the symbol of “The Golden Age of Catherine the Great”.
Alexander Pushkin, the poet, lived and studied here and called this place "the Town of Muses". Since then, it has inspired many celebrated Russian poets, painters and musicians to create their renowned masterpieces in music and art. Tsarskoe Selo is often called “the birthplace of Russian poetry”.
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