The palace-and-park ensemble of Tsarskoe Selo (the Tsarskoe Selo State Museum and Heritage Site) is a superb monument of world-ranking architecture and garden-and-park design dating from the eighteenth to early twentieth centuries. A whole constellation of outstanding architects, sculptors and painters made the ideas of their crowned clients a reality here. Tsarskoe Selo is a cluster of very fine examples of Baroque and Classical architecture and it was also the first place in the Russian capital where interiors decorated in the Moderne (Art Nouveau) style appeared.
The compositional centre of the ensemble is the Great Tsarskoe Selo or Catherine Palace – a splendid example of Russian Baroque. Visitors are enraptured by the sumptuous décor of the Great Hall and the Golden Enfilade of state rooms that includes the world-famous Amber Room now returned to life. Today, as we enter the palace, we can sense the spirit of the times of Empresses Elizabeth and Catherine II and admire unique works of fine and applied art.
Tsarskoe Selo is also home to one of the finest creations of Classicism in architecture – the Alexander Palace (currently under restoration). Passing through the rooms of the living apartments that are open to visitors, you can get an idea of the aesthetic preferences of the last members of the Romanov dynasty and view the Emperor’s State Study that was decorated in the Moderne style.
More than a hundred historical monuments are scattered across the Catherine and Alexander Parks that have a joint area of 300 hectares: there are grand palaces and intimate pavilions, bridges and marble monuments, and also exotic structures imitating Gothic, Turkish and Chinese architecture that invest little corners of the parks with a romantic atmosphere.