About 30 minutes, by bus, south of Saint Petersburg lies Pushkin. This city is named after the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. Before 1937 the city was named Tsarskoye Selo which literary means “The Tsar’s Village”. Here you can visit another architectural masterpiece of Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the Grand Catherine Palace. The palace was originally commissioned by Peter the Great and named after his second wife Catherine. This palace was far more modest than the one standing there now. When Peter’s and Catherine’s daughter Elizabeth become Tsaritsa, she commissioned a new palace to replace to old one, a palace on the scale to rival Versailles. Of course, she hired her favourite architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, for this job. The new palace was presented to the Tsaritsa in 1756. It’s 325 meter long and nearly 1 km in circumference, with elaborately decorated blue and white facades featuring gilded atlantes, caryatids and pilasters.
If you’re in Saint Petersburg and have a day over I really recomend a daytrip to Pushkin and the Grand Catherine Palace. You can reach Puskin by train from Vitebsk vokzal (station) or by marshrutka (minibus) from Moskovskaya ploshchad (square).
A couple of HDR-pictures I captured of the Grand Catherine Palace.