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Pushkin Travel Guide: 93 reviews and 299 photos

Tsarskoe Selo - town of Pushkin Established 1710

I came here many Summers when I lived in Leningrad now
St.Petersburg and my first visit was a cold winters day in 1989
to get some used military uniforms from one of the military
academies to take to Sweden. We wanted to fill up the car with
generals peaked hats, KGB officers leather coats and lots of other
parifinalia only seen on TV screens, with a flourishing black market,
everything had a price. The reality was that the man in charge of
the stock room didn`t show up and was drunk at home.
Bringing him in the car drunk to work would have been too risky, so
Stockholm would have to wait a little longer. Berlin was awash with
military gear on the black market and many of the closing Soviet bases
in Eastern Europe were selling everything or bartering things.

Tsarskoe Selo was the name of the town before communism and it
changed it's name to the town of Pushkin, but is called by both.
The town has over a 110,000 residents with
20,000 from the institutes and academies.

There are huge parks and a palace constructed by Catherine the
Great, it also used to be the home of several military academies and
government ministries.

A historical essay about Pushkin Town
COURTESY OF Пушкин, Царское Село

More than one thousand years ago all places, where Peter the Great
founded the New Russian capital, had been settled by Slavs and the
Finish tribes. The beginning chronicle and the oldest
Scandinavian "sagas" had known the rivers : Neva, Ladoga, Ilmenj,
Luga. The Saint Olga had definited the size of tribute and made the
administrative centers near the river Neva countryside.

During hundreds years the lands on the banks of the rivers Luga,
Narova and Neva and their flows Slavjanka, Izhora , Mga were the
ownership of the all layers of Novgorods' citizens , of the Tsar, of the
prince, of churches and monasteries. During three centuries struggle
between Novgorod and Swedes the lands till the Narova did not know
the other authority than the authority of Novgorod. The territory where the
luxuriant residence of imperial court appeared -
The Tsar's village, was included from the oldest time to Novgorods'

At the second quarter of the XIII century , the Sweden from one side and
the German knights from the other side made up their minds to
subordinate themselves the Novgorods' tributers and to catch the
key for Novgorod's trade - the flowing of the river Neva, using the
problem situation of the Russian land.

The end of the XVI th and the beginning of the XVII th centuries had been
known by the great success of Swedes. For the first time the banks of
the river Neva and the cities Ivan - Gorod, Koporje, Jama and Korella
had to admit the power of the Sweden King. Peter the Great began the
crucial struggle with Sweden and when he only conquered with his army
the flowing of the river Neva, he founded at its mouth the capital.
The war with Sweden had not been ended when the Tsar felt himself so
strong at the returning lands to Russia, that began to built "the funny
palaces" around his "paradise", encouraging for making the same his
court. Orienbaum, The Tsar's village, Peterghof, Ekateringhof had been
built long before the end of the Great Northern war.
The debate with Sweden continued the whole one hundred years.

Peter the Great found the region without people and empty: a lot of
villages kept the old Russian names but they were settled by Finns
and German colonists.

Taken the mouth of the river Neva Peter the Great made his favourite
Alexander Danilovich Menshikov the Governor of Ingermanlandija,
Karelija and Estljandija.

A historical essay about Pushkin Town

COURTESY OF Пушкин, Царское Село

In 1710 Peter the Great decided to hand over the part of the Menshikov's
ownership to Ekaterina Alexeevna, who was not Empress yet.
The date of the foundation of the Tsar's village is the 24th of June 1710,
which was spoken about in the letter: - His Majesty is pleased to give to
Ekaterina Alexeevna Sarskaja and Koporskaja granges in the Koporskiji
uyezd with the villages which are owned to them, with the peasants and
the all places, and when you get it those granges with all owned to it
villages and others give to her, to Ekaterina Alexeevna, and from the
accountant books those granges write off, and all that there will be for
getting off you write down and send to me the register-
As Ekaterina Alexeevna entered into the ownership of Sarskaja "myza",
which officially became the Tsar's village since 1725, she began to
make it better. During the life of Peter the Great The Empress Ekaterina
Alexeevna founded the beginning of the small park around the new
stone wards and ordered to make the part of the forest as the Zoo
(the natural place where the wild animals lived) , she also ordered to
surround it with the fence. Exept the alder grove and the fir "perspectives"
( synonym of the word "prospect"), planted by the broad of the park,
the garden master Jan Rosen had been charged to plant along the
nowadays Sadovaja street the wide fruit garden and to make frames
and greenhouses near the fence of the Zoo.

When Katherin I died the Tsar's village became the ownership of the
Princes Elizaveta by the spirit will of Katherin I. She had to spend money
for repairing of the Tsar's village chambers but she tried to spend as
little as she could, though it was her favourite place. The fruit garden,
haymaking, frames and quit - rent - all it spent to cover the
consumptions of the Tsarskoye Selo.
. Each rouble was counted by the Princes. She counted her money for
consumptions very carefully and spent them with great care. She lived
only using money from her ownerships only during 18 years.
The singular luxury which she allowed herself during that hard period
of her life was the building of the stone Znamenskaya church,
where she wanted to place especially honored by her the icon of the
Sign of the God's mother. There is great difference between the
modestest consumptions of the Princes for her favourite ownership
during her hard long life period and the fairy consumptions which he
made when she became the Empress. Nothing seemed to her enough
beautiful for decorations. In the Tsar's village the splendid stone building
with marble columns , with light halls, with the parquet and marble floors
with the shining dome and monumental stairs decorated with gilding
rails, balustrades and statues appeared. Rasstrelly surrounded all the
Zoo with the stone wall and built in it the hunting pavilions in the corners
(lustghaus) and the splendid stone "Monbizhu" in the center;
All is lighted with gilding and marble; the painters were painting the
walls, the doors were decorated by rich carving . The Empress did not
like the big quantity of the serving men and that is why Rasstrelly made
the project of Hermitage where tables, dishes and plates were given by
the unseeing hand and the serving men was not need.
The small villages with a lot of people who were depended on the
palace quickly grew around the Tsarskoye Selo. There workers,
contractors, masters, painters, architectors, court's service men army's'
commands, civil servants and faces of the Tsar's suite lived.
During the 30-s years reign of the Empress Katherin II the Tsar's village
got the highest point of its prosperity. Than better the state business
was than more money the Empress spent for her favourite residence. By
the end of the reign of Katherin II the Tsar's village changed
unrecognizable :

Big changes at Puskin

COURTESY OF Пушкин, Царское Село

Alexandrovskiy palace was built, Bolshoy palace was
made bigger with the annexe of Agates rooms, Cameron's gallery, the
great prince corps, the superstructure of the Church corps and Zubov's
corps; the gardens were made wider and decorated with a lot of new
buildings and monuments in honor of Empress's comrades - in - arms;
on the other side of the lake the uyezd's city Sophia appeared. The city
Sophia and Sophijiskiy Cathedral had to hymn the victories of Russia in
the Russian - Turkish war like the monuments in the Tsar's village park.
The best architectors of that time were called by the Empress from the
abroad. They were A. Rinaldy, Ch. Cameron, G. Kvarneghy.
They decorated by their works the palace and the park. V. Neelov was
sent abroad with his son for perfecting. Paying attention to the shortage
of water, Katherin II ordered to make the water-pipe from Taitsy, which
could be enough for feeding ponds and for giving enough drinkable
water to the Tsar's village and Sophia. All, that Katherin II made in the
Tsar's village, was made firmly, widely, carefully finished and
consistented in details.

From all countrys' residences Katherin II liked the Tsar's village most of
all. Beginning from 1763, exept 2 or 3 years, she lived in the Tsar's
village during spring, summer and left it in autumn when it became cold.
Katherin II moving to the Tsar's village with the small suite devided her
time between state's business and different entertainments.
Every day she walked in the park with the suite of court ladies and
gentlemen.In November 1796 Her Majesty was caught heart attack,
from which she died. She had been alive when the legatee of the throne
began to break all that had been done by the Empress. The hard time of
Emperor Pavel began. It lasted 5 years. All unfinished buildings were
stopped in the Tsar's village.

During the first years of reign of Alexander I the Tsar's village was
forgotten, as it seemed.
The court lived on the Elagin island or in Peterghof in summer; only in
1808 The Emperor paid attention to the neglect of the Tsar's village.
The Emperor Alexander I, who spent all his childhood and youth in the
Tsar's village, as it's known, in the manifesto about the entry to the
throne said that he would reign "by law and by heart of the memory of his
favourite died grandmother Empress Katherin the Great".
At the attention to the Tsar's village these words were the leading for the
Emperor in all measures.
The monumental gate "For my dear colleagues" was made in honor of
the war with the French, the Big gate, which was almost destroyed, was
capitally rebuilt by one of the best architectors of that time - Stasov; not
far from the Alexander's palace the Emperor's farm appeared; on the
place of the old lustghaus the artificial ruin Shapel was built; the old
fence from the Zoo was taken to pieces and its material was used in the
building of the farm and Shapel and building for Lams. By the idea of the
Emperor Alexander , in the Bolshoy palace , in the wing which was built
at the end of Ekaterina's reign for Pavel's children the new highest
school was established - The Emperor's Tsar's village Lyceum.

At the last time the Emperor slept in the Tsar's village in 1825 by the way
to Taghanrog, saying good bye in such unusual way with St.-Petersburg.
Here in early spring his remains were met by the Emperor Nicole I and
the tsar's family.
Born in the Tsarskoye Selo, "knight Nicole", when he became the
Emperor, devided his rest between Peterghof and the Tsarskoye Selo.
His Majesty always lived in Alexander's palace.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The most beautiful suburb of St.Petersburg
  • Cons:If you were the Tsar the utility bills would have been expensive
  • In a nutshell:Perfect place for a day trip on a sunny day to escape St.Pete`s fumes and stress!
  • Last visit to Pushkin: Aug 1994
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (20)

Comments (15)

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Feb 27, 2008 at 4:37 AM

    Good page on Pushkin with lots of historical info. And I love palaces. Thanks.

  • Anjutka's Profile Photo
    Mar 31, 2007 at 4:09 PM

    Deep knowledge of russian history indeed!!!!Bravo!!! Was interesting to read and the pictures are great!:-)

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Nov 6, 2006 at 2:02 PM

    what an interesting place of russian history, One day I have to see this palace as well !

  • Waalewiener's Profile Photo
    Jul 11, 2006 at 4:41 PM

    Wow Tim what a history ,amazing page D & A can proof many historic uncertainties I love the Faberge Eggs and I wish I had a dozen eggs like that Great stuff Tim Russia sure is worth a visit looks like .

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Jun 28, 2006 at 5:59 AM

    Tim, fantastic page about Tsarskoje Selo. Reminds me on my trip from St. Petersburg. Keep up the good work ... :-)

  • easyoar's Profile Photo
    Jun 3, 2006 at 2:03 PM

    Interesting Romanov stories! Did you by a Faberge egg then???

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Apr 27, 2006 at 7:07 PM

    A very thorough history given of the tsar's family--also,Catherine Park looks so beautiful! The number of ornately detailed buildings situated in Pushkin is impressive...

  • Pete.Gibson's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2006 at 12:48 AM

    Thanks for dropping by, Love the Tsar's story..I can see I'm going to need a few visits to your pages

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Feb 26, 2006 at 10:31 PM

    this is impressiv Tim. the intro amazing, realy great job. history in a neat package and wonderful pix to boost! Catherine the Great, what a woman!!great infos on the killings of the Romanovs, thanx for a great page

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Feb 13, 2006 at 5:36 AM

    First of all Tim, thank you for visiting my California page. I truly enjoyed this page on Pushkin especially the beautiful Catherine Palace and the intriguing story of the Tsar and his family.


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