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Sunday, September 8, 2013

St. Petersburg, Russia - Catherine's Palace

Dear Family and Friends,

We spent our next day in St. Petersburg, Russia.  We were there about 10 years ago and during that visit there was one place we did not get to see.....Catherine's Palace.  So we took this opportunity to see it.

Since we had U.S. Passports, and we did not have a Russian visa, we were not permitted off the ship to wander around the city.  We could disembark however, if we were on a tour.  We signed up for the tour of Catherine's palace.

Part 1 of St. Petersburg is about our tour of the palace.

A little bit of history.  This palace was built by the Tzar, Peter the Great, for his mistress, Catherine. I had always thought it was the palace of Catherine the Great, but Catherine the Great was the granddaughter of Peter.  Although Peter was married and had a son, he was not in love with his wife.  As was common, it was a arranged marriage.

Peter built this mansion for his love, Catherine, who was a commoner, a laundress from Germany.  They had an illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth.  Later, Peter had his wife committed to a nunnery and his son imprisoned after he heard they were plotting his death.

He then married Catherine.

As you can see from the outside, it is very large.  It is painted blue, with white and gold trim.  

Here is the grand ball room.

This is one of many dining rooms.

another one.....

and a third, more informal one.

The blue and white structure in this room is the furnace.  It is made of ceramic tile.  The paintings on the wall was used a lot in those days...sort of instead of wall paper.

The story goes that Catherine never appeared in public wearing the same dress twice.  When she died she had over 1500 outfits.  This is a sample of a typical outfit.  Can you imagine the size of her closet?

Here is a picture of Chuck and I behind the palace.

Our tour included the gardens behind the palace.  The gardens cover 600 acres.  We toured only a small part.

There were many man made lakes.

Beautiful manicured gardens...

 This is a boat house on a small lake.

The back of the palace.

And the golden domes over the chapel.

And, of course, like many attractions there were people dressed in period costume outside.

Next post will include photos of the city of St. Petersburg.


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