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Entries / Gatchina, town

Gatchina, town

Categories / Architecture/Architectural Monuments/Architectural Ensembles
Categories / City Topography/Historical Geography/Towns within Greater St. Petersburg

GATCHINA (in 1923-1927 Trotsk, in 1927-1944 Krasnogvardeisk), a town in Leningrad Region, 45 km to the south from St. Petersburg. Known since 1499 as Khotchino village, since the early 18th century - the Gatchinskaya farm-stead. Since 1796 - a town and Imperial residence. A considerable part of the territory (about 700 hectares) is occupied by the palace and park ensemble that encompasses the Palace Park, the Silvia, the Menagerie and the Prioratsky Park. Architectural monuments are the ensemble of Gospitalnaya Square (1820s, architect A.E. Shtaubert; 1838-41, architect A.M. Baikov); Cloth Factory (1794-1796, unknown architect); Ingerburgskie and Smolenskie town gates (1831-1832, architect V.A. Glinka); Nikolaevsky Orphan Institute (1824-1828, architect D.I. Quadri); St. Paul's Cathedral (1846-1852, architect R.I. Kuzmin). In 1712-1717, the Gatchinskaya farm-stead belonged to the sister of Tsar Peter the Great, Natalia Alexeevna; under whom, the construction of a manor started. In 1765, Empress Catherine II bought Gatchina from the heirs of Prince B.I. Kurakin and granted it to Count G.G. Orlov. In 1766-81, the Great Palace was erected (architect A. Rinaldi) and the park was laid out (garden designer D. Bush) on the shores of White and Silver lakes. The palace in style of an early Romanticism English country estate distinguishes itself with the interiors decorated in the Rococo style. The palace park (with an area 140 hectares) is the first Russian example of an English landscape park. Since 1783, Gatchina was owned by Grand Prince Pavel Petrovich (future Emperor Pavel I); following his ascending the throne (1796), in Gatchina large-scale construction work was undertaken to the project of the architect V. Brenna: facades and interiors of the palace were remodelled, a number of park's grounds acquired regular lay-out (Palace's, Botanical Gardens, Silvia). To the east of the palace park on the shore of the Black Lake the Prioratsky Park with the Prioratsky Palace was laid out (garden designer D. Gaket). In 1854-56, the new squares of the Great Palace were arranged (architect R.I. Kuzmin), a number of its interiors were redesigned under Emperor Alexander III, whose main residence remained Gatchina. The Great Palace of Gatchina features a complicated composition. The main building with symmetrical five-edged towers (Telegraph and Horologium) joints by semicircular galleries with the Arsenal and Kitchen squares to the sides of the parade-ground at the south of the palace. The main northern facade overlooks the park. The facade facing with local limestone intensifies the impression of monumental simplicity. In the gala enfilade on the second floor the White Hall stands out, it features a number of decorative elements executed to the plans of A. Rinaldi (moulded window-frames, galley doors and parquetry) and decor of V. Brenna (authentic antique relieves and statues). The majority of the interiors with Brenna’s decor have been preserved (the Marble Dining-Room, the Throne Halls of Emperor Pavel I and Empress Maria Fedorovna, Raspberry Sitting Hall, Chesme Gallery, etc.). On the ground floor under the Horologium Tower are the apartments of Pavel I. On the parade-ground circled by the bastion wall a monument to Pavel I stands (1851, sculptor I.P. Vitali). On the artificial terrace between the Arsenal square and Horologium Tower is a garden with the rays of paths radiating from the statue of Flora, marble herms and trellis "passages" (in the late 19th century there court dogs and parrots were buried). At the same time with the Private Garden (1794-95) and on the same axis with it, the Upper and the Lower Holland gardens were laid out on the terrace, built simultaneously with the Carps' Pond. To the south from them are the Court stables (1798-1800, architect V. Brenna, K. Viskonti, A.D. Zakharov) in the French Neoclassical style of the early 18th century. The shores of the White and Silver Lakes are divided by Long island the landscape part of the Palace Park, with various decorative structures and bridges. Under Count Orlov, the Eagle Column (on the edge of the park), Chesme Obelisk on the cape of White Lake, a grotto with an underground passage to the lake under the Silver Meadow were constructed, in the 1790s - the Eagle Pavilion and a terrace-wharf on Long Island, Venera's Pavilion on Love Island (close to the water labyrinth), bridges - Humpbacked and Grand Stone, gates - Admiralteiskie, Berezovye (Birchen) (close to the surprise-pavilion Birchen Lodge). In Silvia, to the north-west of the palace park is the Poultry-yard Pavilion (1797, architect A.D. Zakharov; demolished and subsequently recreated in 1844, architect A.M. Baikov) and the Farm (1796-98, architect unknown). On B. Porkhovskaya (Pavel I Avenue), separating the palace park from the Prioratsky, Lion and Admiralty (with watch-boxes) Bridges, there is Constable Square with an obelisk (height 32.8 metres) constructed of 687 stone blocks by craftsman K. Plastinin in 1793 (destroyed by lightning and subsequently recreated in 1881-86). In 1918 in Gatchina a palace-museum was established. When the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45 broke out, over 12,000 museum pieces were evacuated from Gatchina. The parks of Gatchina were slightly damaged during the war. The Great Palace burnt down in January of 1944; after reconstruction, it housed military establishments. In 1980, the restoration of the palace was launched (architect M.M. Plotnikov): eight halls on the second floor were renovated; the halls of the third floor and Arsenal square are the venture for exhibitions from the museum's reserves. In 1973-75, Birchen Lodge was restored (architect A.A. Kedrinsky); however, many constructions, that had survived the war, were destroyed in the 1980s-90s.

References: [Дворцы и парки Гатчины] / Н. Лансере и др. // Старые годы. 1914. Июль/сент. С. 5-188; Макаров В. К., Петров А. Н. Гатчина. Л., 1974; Пирютко Ю. М. Гатчина: Худож. памятники города и окрестностей. 2-е изд., испр. и доп. Л., 1979; Кючарианц Д. А., Раскин А. Г. Гатчина: Худож. памятники. СПб., 2001.

Y. M. Piryutko.

Abaza Alexander Aggeevich
Alexander III, Emperor
Baykov Alexsey Mikhailovich
Brenna Vikenty Franzevich (Vicenzo)
Bush Joseph (John)
Catherine II, Empress
Gaket D.
Glinka Vasily Alexeevich
Kedrinsky Alexander Alexandrovich
Kurakin Boris Ivanovich, Duke
Kuzmin Roman Ivanovich
Maria Fedorovna, Empress
Natalia Alexeevna, Duchess
Orlov Grigory Grigorievich, Count
Paul (Pavel) I, Emperor
Peter I, Emperor
Plastinin Kiryan
Plotnikov Mikhail Mikhailovich
Quadri Domenico
Rinaldi Antonio
Shtaubert Alexander Egorovich
Viskonti David Ivanovich
Vitali Ivan Petrovich
Zakharov Andreyan (Adrian) Dmitrievich

Gatchina, town

[Дворцы и парки Гатчины] / Н. Лансере и др. // Старые годы, 1914
Петров А. Н., Макаров В. К. Гатчина. Л., 1974
Кючарианц Д. А., Раскин А. Г. Гатчина: Худож. памятники. СПб., 2001
Пирютко Ю. М. Гатчина: Худож. памятники города и окрестностей. 2-е изд., испр. и доп. Л., 1979

The subject Index
Catherine Palace (Town of Pushkin)