Day 5: Wednesday
Pavlovsk is an 18th century park and palace ensemble located 30 kilometers south from St. Petersburg. Catherine the Great gifted the estate to Paul 1 in 1777. It is one of the largest landscaped parks not only in Russia, but also in Europe.
We took the train out to the park early in the morning and spent a couple of hours walking around there and exploring its big expanse.
The most interesting sections of the park are along the banks of the SlavyankaRiver.
We headed to the east first; the river runs past a number of interesting monuments, including Pavel’s Mausoleum, built by Thomas de Thomon on the orders of Maria Feorovna. Also commissioned by the Tsaritsa, the Monument to My Parents is a charming pavilion in honour of her mother and father, the Duke and Duchess of Württemberg. Further south we found the Rose Pavilion; it is a delightful venue for classical music concerts in the summer.
We then headed towards the Palace. It stands almost on the edge of the park, although a small section across the main road contains a stretch of the Slavyanka, with decorations including Cameron’s simple but striking Obelisk and the faintly ridiculous, gothic Marienthal Fortress, another testament to Pavel’s fanatic militarism.
The Great Palace at Pavlovsk is painted in the deep yellow and white colour a scheme typical of St. Petersburg neo-classicism. There is a courtyard with a statue of Pavel directly in front of the squat central block.
Right next to the Palace is the Private Garden filled with beds of brightly coloured flowers which are in sharp contrast to the rest of the park.
From the terrace of the GreatPalace, a fine view north reveals the elegant ruins of Cameron’s Apollo Column, several delightful stone bridges across the river, and the circular Temple of Friendship.
After a couple of hours the mosquitoes chased us out of the forest and our feet were too tired to walk anymore.
That night we attended the 1pm opening of the bridges over the water allowing ships to pass through, it was a bit crowded but beautiful.
We took the day train back to Moscow, enjoying the landscape and arriving back relaxed and happy.