Tuesday, May 20, 2014


What a feast for the eyes! Catherine's Palace, made for her by her husband Peter the Great, was stunning. 

Elizabeth I, Peter's daughter, said there was gold everywhere you stepped. She disliked the baroque look, and when she moved in as Empress, had her own living space redecorated by an English designer to reflect the classical style.

We came early to the palace, so the sun cast a shadow over the front of the building. Even so, I was able go snap a few good photos. 

As soon as I saw these gates, they reminded me of Versailles.

The hall entrance to the interior rooms has some lovely designs. . . 

But look what met our eyes as we turned the corner:


This was the answer to the room of mirrors at Versailles. As I remember, this room is much more ornate. 

I love the doorways that go on and on!

Here was Catherine's dining room for her girlfriends. Party anyone?

These decorations held real fruit covered in gold leaf, and others were made of marzipan.

Today, you can rent these facilities for weddings. We thought when the time came, we could hold Olivia's wedding here. . . and offer round trip tickets to St. Petersburg to our guests. What do you think??!

This room was kept to entertain and honor war heroes.They included Russian stoves which stayed warm for hours even after the fire went out. Notice the Dutch pattern on the tile. The ribbons were used as decorations on the sides on the front of the tablecloths. The black and orange striped ribbon is for the order of St. George, and the other two, orders of Vladimir and Alexander.

Here was the room where she received guests:

The white peacock in the above painting signifies the royal power of the Empress.

Here in the green room, you see a statue of a black man who served Peter the Great. He loved this servant so much, that he treated him like a son, and gave him an inheritance. Interestingly, the darker the skin, the more you were paid as a servant. They valued these people highly and treated them well.

Take close look at the dress above. It is a reproduction of the dress in the painting behind the model.

You'll never guess what it is made of . . . paper of all things!

I smiled when I saw the wall in the room above. I thought of my new app "picstitch" which pieces photos together and presents them in a collage. Nothing new under the sun! We discovered the one responsible for attaching these masters to the wall felt free to cut them to make them fit. As our guide finished telling us this, she repeated her favorite phrase: "This my dear guests, is Russia." Which interpreted means: they do the unthinkable!

Here is an example of the redecorating project Elizabeth the first undertook in her own private quarters when she inhabited the palace. It's more of a classic style, rather than Baroque.

When the Nazis moved into the outskirts of Saint Petersburg, they damaged and sometimes destroyed the palaces and historic places. Catherine's palace was no exception. Above is a painting depicting the damage, and the one below, it's restoration:

Behind the palace their were lovely gardens:

And a spa and gallery with a balcony for the ladies to walk on a hot or rainy day:

We met up with this adorable squirrel with long hairs on its ears. It took some time, but here's a photo of Olivia trying to tempt it with gogi berries . . . it didn't work.

And here is a parting shot of our family . . . can you tell it was an extremely hot day???

Tomorrow, the Hermitage . . . a palace with holds an enormous collection of art that almost rivals the Vatican!

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