Tourist Information Center Partnership Project

Gatchina Palace and Estate Museum


Leningrad Oblast
1, Krasnoarmeysky pr., Gatchina, Leningrad Region
Phones: +7 (812) 958 0366
Web site:
An outstanding example of world architecture and landscape art!Just a thirty-minute drive from St. Petersburg, you will plunge into the atmosphere of the brilliant XVIII century


The sightseeing tour will introduce you to the beautiful palace and park ensemble of Gatchina and its heart – the Imperial Palace, which was created by outstanding architects and decorators. We will visit its magnificent halls, such as the Antechamber, White hall, Marble dining room, Crimson drawing room, the Throne and the Cabinet of Paul I, Chesme, Greek, Gothic, and Chinese galleries, the Boudoir and the Cabinet of Maria Feodorovna, a tunnel, a monument to Paul I. You will see the functioning house church of the Life-Giving Trinity, where the marriages of the daughters of the Emperor took place.

Then you will walk through the wonderful Palace Park with a perfect park landscape. On your way you will see Dutch and English gardens, sculptures, beautiful park pavilions and ancient palace wells located on the banks of the Silver and White Lakes! You will see a panorama of the Black Lake, in the transparent surface of which the Priory Palace-castle is reflected. You will see the Birch House and the Venus Pavilion.

You will also see the Dzhevetsky submarine, which became the first production submarine in the world. Here, in 1880, the first tests of the submarine took place in the Silver Lake in the presence of Emperor Alexander III.


The palace and park at Gatchina dates back to the time of Empress Catherine II. In 1765, the tsaritsa gave her favourite, Count Grigory Orlov, a lavish gift – the Gatchina estate. The picturesque landscape, spring-fed lakes with connecting tributaries and rivers made it possible to create here the unique landscape park with the palace of remarkable architecture as its focal point.

The project of the building was executed by the Italian architect Antonio Rinaldi, construction began on May 30, 1766.

For almost fifteen years, the construction and decoration of the country house, which was originally conceived as a hunting house, since its owner, Prince Orlov, was a passionate lover of "red fun". The Empress, according to the chamber-Fourier journals, visited Gatchina several times with her retinue to see how the construction was going. By 1781, the work was completed. A palace resembling an Italian palazzo appeared to the eyes of contemporaries, its facades were lined with natural stone-Pudost limestone.

The central three-story building with high five-sided towers was connected by arched wings with service one-story wings, square in plan and having courtyards. "The furnishings of this castle are magnificent, and the upper - floor apartment houses a very good collection of Italian paintings," wrote French diplomat Corberon after visiting Gatchina. Simultaneously with the construction of the palace, an English landscape park was created, one of the first in Russia.

However, the brilliant nobleman Grigory Orlov did not manage to live in the new estate, he died in early 1783. The Empress Catherine II bought the Gatchina manor from the count's heirs and on August 6 of the same year granted it to her son, Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich. Soon Gatchina became his favorite place to stay.

Under the direction of the architect Vincenzo Brenna, the palace was somewhat rebuilt, according to the fashion of the time, the main halls were re-decorated, regular gardens, park pavilions, stone gates and bridges appeared. In front of the palace, a huge parade ground was set up for military parades. After the accession of Paul I to the throne in 1796, Gatchina became an imperial residence, which contemporaries remembered as an impregnable fortress surrounded by bastions, a moat, guardhouses and striped barriers.

On the night of March 11-12, 1801, as a result of a conspiracy, Emperor Paul I was killed in the Mikhailovsky Castle. After his death, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna became the owner of Gatchina. According to her will, drawn up on January 21, 1827, the Gatchina Palace with all the land passed "into the eternal possession" of Emperor Nicholas I and his male descendants.

In the reign of Nicholas I, the reconstruction of the Gatchina Palace began, and it acquired the appearance that has been preserved to this day. The kitchen and Arsenal squares were dismantled to the ground and re-erected. This was due to the fact that the former premises did not meet the modern requirements of convenience and comfort. In accordance with the fashion of the time in the Arsenal Square for the imperial family, they arranged ceremonial and personal apartments.
In the Kitchen Square, the house church was completely rebuilt. In memory of Emperor Paul I, the Central Building tried to preserve intact his chambers and the ceremonial interiors of the XVIII century, but nevertheless, work was carried out there: the heating system was replaced, the parquet floors were repaired, new furniture, sculpture and draperies appeared in some of the ceremonial halls... All stages of construction from 1844 to 1856 were supervised by architect R. I. Kuzmin.

Nicholas I and his son Alexander II, along with their families and retinue, came to the Gatchina Palace infrequently, mainly for balls, receptions of crowned heads and noble nobles, as well as to participate in Imperial hunts.

On March 1, 1881, Emperor Alexander II was fatally wounded on the embankment of the Catherine Canal (now the Griboyedov Canal). His son Alexander III came to the throne, and he chose Gatchina as his main country residence. On March 27, the royal family moved from St. Petersburg to the Gatchina Palace, which for many years remained the most beloved, native and warm home for all members of the imperial family.

In May 1917, the Provisional Government issued an order on the establishment of artistic and historical commissions in the cities of the palace department of Peterhof, Tsarskoye Selo and Gatchina "for the reception, registration and systematization, both from the artistic and economic side, of all movable and immovable property of the former palace departments." A year later – on May 19, 1918-the Gatchina Castle was opened to visitors.

The Great Patriotic War caused great damage to the entire palace and park ensemble. The restoration of the palace began only in 1976. The first state rooms of the 18th century were opened to the public in 1985, including the Anteroom, the Marble Dining Room, the Throne Room of Paul I and the exhibition on the third floor of the Central Building.

Interesting Facts

In summer, festivals are held in Gatchina Park: Night of Music in Gatchina, Night of Light in Gatchina.