St. Catherine’s Palace
The Baroque Catherine’s Palace at Tsarskoye Selo is another testament to the Czars’ extravagance. Named after Peter the Great’s second wife, the opulent palace features elaborately decorated blue-and-white facades, plenty of gilding, and extensive gardens. His daughter, Empress Elizabeth, used it as her summer home and had it redesigned on a scale like Versailles. Do you sense the Romanovs had a rivalry with France? A whopping 220+ lbs. of gold decorates the palace exteriors, and the interior is just as grand.
Visitors typically see the “Golden Enfilade” of rococo style state rooms designed by the Italian architect Rastrelli. You’ll marvel at the spectacular Great Hall, also known as Hall of Light, which is nearly 3,300 sq. ft. and spans the width of the palace. Even more impressive is the renowned Amber Room covered in panels of amber mosaic. During WWII the Germans dismantled and moved the panels to Germany and they’ve never been found. In 1982, restorers began recreating the room from photographs. It took 20+ years and over $12 million, but the restored room is incredible to see.
The flamboyant Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin