Tsarskoye Selo, Pushkin

One of the suburban pearls of St. Petersburg, a World Heritage site Tsarskoye Selo is a magnificent architectural complex and park located on the territories won by Peter the Great during the Northern War. After the end of the war the land was gifted to Alexander Menshikov, Peter's close friend and supporter, and already starting from 1710 (after the lands were given to the future wife of Peter I, Catherine) on the site of a former mansion an imperial summer residence started to appear.

Tsarskoye Selo palace and park complex is a unique monument of world architecture and garden art of the 18th – early 20th centuries. The project was commissioned to a whole array of famous artists and architects such as Mikhail Zemtsov, Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli, Charles Cameron, Vasily Neyelov, Yury Velten, Giacomo Quarenghi, Vasily Stasov, Adam Menelaws, etc. Tsarskoye Selo displays one of the world's best examples of Baroque (The Catherine Palace) and Classical (The Alexander Palace) architecture. The Annunciation church, founded by Empress Elizabeth not far from the palace, is the oldest building of the complex and the first stone one in Tsarskoye Selo. The lands of Catherine Park and Alexander Park feature more than a hundred of different pavilions, monuments, bridges, sculptures, as well as some exotic structures reflecting Gothic, Turkish and Chinese cultural influences.

Catherine Park consists of the Old Garden (also known as the Dutch Garden), which is believed to be founded by Peter I himself, and of the Landscape (English) Park. Not far from the Catherine Palace there is the Cold Bath pavilion, commissioned by Empress Catherine II to Charles Cameron. The second floor of the Bath features the Agate Rooms with original and unique 18th century interior featuring lots of semiprecious stones. And as you get closer to the slope of the hill you will see the Cameron Gallery, a place with a marvelous views over the Great Pond so inviting to have a philosophy conversation or just a walk. Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli created magnificent pavilions, such as the Hermitage, where Empress Elizabeth organized dinners for her close ones, and the Grotto, finished already under Catherine II, where Empress loved to spend her mornings. Ilya Neyelov designed the Upper (for royal family members) and the Lower (for members of the court) Bathhouses. The park's jewel is the Great Pond where Catherine and the members of her court used to have gilded gondola rides. During those rides they were amused by an orchestra that sat on the second floor of the Admiralty, also that floor was the storage place for the boats and waterfowl. Other prominent sites of the park include the Chesme Column, Marble Bridge, romantic Pyramid pavilion, at the foot of which Catherine buried her little dogs, the Milkmaid fountain (it is said that this is the statue that inspired Pushkin to create his Tsarskoye Selo Statue piece of poetry), as well as the Turkish tower with its dome and minaret (the last pavilion built in the Catherine Park).

On the border of the Alexander Park you will find the Chinese village, a memory of Europe's 18th century interest in China. Right next to the village there are fabulous man-made hill-like structures, the Large and Small Caprices of Catherine II, and between two picturesque ponds hides the Chinese summer house. In the Alexander Park you can also stumble upon an entire Neo-Gothic complex created by Adam Menelaws, which includes such pavilions as the White Tower, Arsenal, Chapell, which is an artificially aged Gothic ruin. There is also the Pensioner's Stable (here old horses lived the finals years of their lives). In the early 20th century in the area between the Alexander Palace and the Egyptian Gate an architectural complex in ancient Russia style, Fyodorovsky gorodok (township) was constructed with the Fyodorovsky Cathedral as its keynote.

Tsarskoye Selo is strongly associated with the name of Alexander Pushkin. He studied here in the Imperial Lyceum in Tsarskoye Selo. The garden of the lyceum features a monument commemorating the poet.

Address: Sadovaya St., 7 (Ulitsa Sadovaya, 7), Pushkin, Saint-Petersburg
Opening hours: Catherine Park: 25 April – 20 October 9 am – 6 pm, paid entrance; April-September 7 am – 9 pm, free entrance. Each site has its own timetable, see for the details in our app or on site's official website.
How to reach: by train from Vitebsky railway station to Tsarskoye Selo station (the city of Pushkin), then by any bus or shuttle to Dvortsovaya ulitsa stop; by shuttle 286, 287, 342, 347 and 545 from Moskovskaya metro station; bus 187 to Pushkin railway station then bus 371, 382 or shuttle 371, 377, 382 to Dvortsovaya ulitsa stop; by bus 186 from Zvyozdnaya or Kupchino metro stations to Dvortsovaya ulitsa stop; by shuttle K-545a, K-286, K-347a from Kupchino metro station to Dvortsovaya ulitsa stop.
Coordinates: 59.714985, 30.398696