Pavlovsk is the third imperial residence that was founded not far from Saint-Petersburg after Peterhof and Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin). Catherine the Great decided to make this palace for her son Paul, who later became Paul I. Her idea was to make a private residence for the heir to the throne in Pavlovsk rather than in Tsarskoye Selo as she feared he could participate in court intrigues, of which she, of course, was a master.
In 1776 he married a seventeen-year-old Sophie Dorothea Augusta von Wurttemberg, converted to Russian Orthodoxy with the name of Maria Foedorovna. He was twenty-three at that time and in 1777 he received the estate of Pavlovsk as a gift from his mother. Of course, he had never seen or owned anything like this before. Paul was a hard-working student and got a brilliant education in mathematics, engineering, shipbuilding and history. He spoke five languages and was very religious. His wife’s maim passion was landscape architecture – the laying out of gardens and their upkeep. She was a talented botanist and could speak five European languages.
Catherine II was a woman with a very strong character and usually kept everything under her control. It was her who in 1779 invited Charles Cameron, an architect from Scotland to make a palace in Pavlovsk. Cameron was a great admirer of the sixteenth century Italian architect Andrea Palladio. The first construction he made in Pavlovsk was the Temple of Friendship which the young couple dedicated to Catherine II. When in 1787 Maria and Paul decided they needed a permanent stone house, Cameron took a basis for it from one of the Italian palaces depicted in Andrea Palladio’s famous publication “Four Books on Architecture”. He made a similar palace here in Pavlovsk on the top of a hill that descended sharply down into the spacious valley of the river Slavyanka. He planned an elegant palace, a three-storied main building crowned with a cupola. Adjacent to the central building there were two small semi-circular galleries with in-built auxiliary wings. They formed a wide parade ground. The palace interiors were supposed to be arranged according to modern tastes and fashions. For that Paul and Maria asked Catherine for the permission to travel abroad to Western Europe. Everywhere where they stopped they visited artists’ studios and antique shops to find something special for their palace. Their collection of paintings had the names of the finest masters, among them Pompeo Batoni, Angelica Kaufmann, Hubert Robert and Jean-Baptiste Greuze. Also in Europe they bought many pieces of furniture, bronze, fabrics, glass and porcelain for the palace in Pavlovsk.
Up to the end of Maria’s life Pavlovsk remained under her tender and loving care. This residence became the child of this clever, talented and energetic Empress. It was the greatest creation of this remarkable woman. Pavlovsk is full of charm and taste, nature and art are combined here in a graceful harmony. Please, come and enjoy it.
Please do not miss this tour of St Petersburg, Russia. Going to Pavlovsk will take about one hour. On the way you will have an opportunity to see Russian countryside. In Pavlovsk you will have a guided tour inside Pavlovsk Palace and a walk around the park after that. This Saint-Petersburg tour will take about 4 hours. Book more than one tour with us to get a great discount!
The price includes a professional English-speaking guide and a professional driver with a comfortable air-conditioned car or mini-bus for four hours, tickets to Pavlovsk Palace and the park for everyone.
Group size (number of people). Price per person.