The palace and park ensemble called Oranienbaum (translated as 'orange tree') was established in the early 18th century, and started by Prince Alexande Menshikov, Peter the Great right-hand man and St. Petersburg's first General Governor. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was conceived as an even greater architectural masterpiece than Peterhof, consuming most of the prince's fortune. This royal residence had to become a part of a panoramic presentation displayed to all of the guests coming to the new Russian capital by sea and to become a symbol of Russia's victory in the Northern War. The Grand Menshikov Palace, built in Baroque style, is Oranienbaum's oldest construction which practically preserved its original look of 1727.

When Menshikov fell into disgrace, Empress Elizabeth decided to erect here a royal residence for her heir, the future Emperor Peter III and his spouse. On the territory of the Upper Garden the mockup Peterstadt fortress was constructed, a palace for Peter III (today it is his museum) was also built in that location adding to a plaza for military games and a lake designed to house the mockup 'fleet'.

Oranienbaum entered the new age with the start of Catherine II reign, for who architect Antonio Rinaldi erected My Own Country house ensemble with a gem in the center. The heart of the complex is the Chinese Palace featuring a collection of Chinese artworks. This is a singular Russian example of Rococo architectural style. The Katalnaya Gorka Pavilion (roller coaster) is probably one of the most unusual construction in Oranienbaum. Rinaldi built a white-and-blue pavilion from where the guests would go down the slope in special carved wood gilded cars. Between this pavilion and the Grand Menshikov Palace you will find the Stone Hall Pavilion, an exhibition and concert area.

In the late 18th century Oranienbaum became property of the future Emperor Alexander I, and then it was turned in a summer residence for his younger brother Mikhail Pavlovich and the heirs who lived here until the emigration wave.

After the Revolution of 1917 part of the complex area was given to the local Forest college, the other was turned into a museum. Oddly enough during the World War II the palace and park ensemble were almost left intact, which is why we can now observe it in all its uniqueness and original 18th century splendor.

Address: Dvortsovy prospect, 48, Lomonosov, Saint-Petersburg
Opening hours: daily 9 am – 8 pm
How to reach: by a suburban train from Baltiysky Railway station to Oranienbaum station; by shuttle T-300, T-424A from Avtovo metro station; by shuttle T-343 from Prospekt Veteranov; by shuttle T-404 from Baltiyskaya metro station.
Coordinates: 59.914181, 29.752895