- Rating of the best attractions in Gatchina
- The best architectural sights of Gatchina
- The Grand Palace of Gatchina
- Connetable Square
- Venus Pavilion
- Priory Palace
- Gatchina Amphitheatre
- The palace and park ensemble
- Poultryman Pavilion
- The best natural sights of Gatchina
- The palace garden
- Menagerie Park
- Sylvia Park
- Eagle’s Grove Park
- Priory Park
- The best religious attractions in Gatchina
- Pokrovsky Cathedral in Gatchina
- All Saints Church
- St. Nicholas Church
- The best cultural sights of Gatchina
- The State Museum-Reserve Gatchina
- Round Riga
- Birch Cabin
- Humpback Bridge
- Monument of the first Russian submarine
*Review of the best according to the editorial board. About the selection criteria. This material is subjective, not an advertisement, and does not serve as a guide to purchase. Before buying the property you should consult with a specialist.
The first documented mention of the village of Hotchino, which later transformed into the town of Gatchina, dates back to 1500. And for the next 250 years it was little-known territory, until Catherine II gave the land to Prince Orlov. Since then it began to blossom, and at the moment it is one of the most interesting suburbs in St. Petersburg. Our experts made a rating of the best sights in Gatchina. Good reading.
Rating of the best attractions in Gatchina
|The best architectural sights of Gatchina||1||The Grand Palace of Gatchina||5.0|
|5||Amphitheatre in Gatchina||4.6|
|6||Palace and park ensemble||4.5|
|7||Bird house pavilion||4.4|
|The best natural attractions in Gatchina||1||Palace Garden||5.0|
|4||Orlovaya Roscha Park||4.7|
|The best religious attractions in Gatchina||1||Pokrovsky Cathedral in Gatchina||5.0|
|2||All Saints Church||4.9|
|3||Church of St. Nicholas||4.8|
|The best cultural attractions in Gatchina||1||Gatchina State Museum-Reserve||5.0|
|5||Monument of the first Russian submarine||4.6|
The best architectural sights of Gatchina
The Grand Palace of Gatchina
First place of the rating of architectural sights is occupied by a large palace of Gatchina, where the members of the royal family used to love to stay. This country residence began to be built in 1776, during the reign of Count Orlov. An Italian architect was hired to design and direct the building in the style of classicism. Completed the palace only in 1781.
Afterwards it was rebuilt several times. During the Great Patriotic War the palace was partially destroyed. And the work on the restoration of the landmark is not completed and at the moment. The palace is located on a hill above the Silver Lake. After Grigory Orlov died the owner was Paul I. That’s when the bastion was added to the building and the garden.
The second position is occupied by the Connettable Square, which is situated not far from the palace at the entrance to Gatchina Park. It is connected with the Lime Garden and the Avenue. This is one of the embodiments of Emperor Paul I’s passion for the French-style park ensemble. At the end of the 18th century, after a visit to Prince Conde’s green space, a similar area was developed in Gatchina.
Connetable Square and its parts lasted almost a whole year. For example, there is a central stele, 32 meters high, which weighs 640 tons. In addition, the ensemble includes several elements that form the gnomon. However, the obelisk was partially damaged, and then its rebirth began. Because of the peculiarities of granite, regular renovation work is required.
The Love Island on the lake is the location of Gatchina’s third point of interest. This architectural object appeared in the Palace Park during the reign of Paul I. The tsar had noticed a similar building on a tour in France. Started to work in 1791., and 2 years later the pavilion of Venus was completed. It was built at the water’s edge.
The facade was deliberately decorated in the Classical style. For example, a pediment and porticoes were added. And all around its perimeter there was a parapet with a net, and several medallions were added between the arches. This temple is made entirely of wood. There are only a couple of rooms inside. To get to the pavilion of Venus you can use the bridge in the Gatchina Palace Park.
The fourth position in the ranking of Gatchina sights is occupied by the Priory Castle, located on the shore of the Black Lake. The building dates from 1799, when Prince Conde was going to visit Paul I. Having lost practically all his possessions during the Great Revolution, he sought refuge with the Emperor of Russia. And the Priory Palace was built for it.
It’s a unique construction for the country, because no other similar structures have survived that were built using the earthwork method. However, the palace itself does not resemble the classic residences of St. Petersburg. Most of all, it reminds one of a traditional monastery. The asceticism can also be seen inside. Under the palace there is a passageway to the residence of the emperors in Gatchina.
At the end of the 18th century, the flowering of park art in Europe and Russia began. And an almost obligatory attribute at the time were the ruins in the green areas, which gave antiquity to the structure. Fortresses and even lodges were used for this purpose. In 1797 an amphitheater was added to the Gatchina Palace Park. It was installed not far from the Eagle Column. It was built primarily for the entertainment of Paul I.
This is a circular arena with a diameter of about 65 meters, which is surrounded by a rampart. It is used as a place for spectators. At present, it is the ruins of the amphitheater, since it was last renovated in the mid-19th century. They are located on Krasnoarmeisky Prospect.
The palace and park ensemble
The sixth position in the category is occupied by the palace and park ensemble. This is one of the most extensive facilities in the country. And practically all interesting sights of the region are located here. Almost ¼ of the entire area is occupied by two bodies of water, Silver Lake and White Lake, and several rivers. Their banks were partly cultivated during the formation of the landmark.
From this territory there is a wonderful view of almost all objects in Gatchina. The total area of the palace and park ensemble is about 143 hectares. It is on this territory that the great residence of Gatchina is built. And part of the areas was processed by the best Russian and European masters and architects. The result was the elegant English Garden.
This landmark was erected at the end of the 18th century in the Palace Park. Pavilion poultry house in Gatchina is a building designed by architect Andreyan Zakharov, who is known primarily as a specialist who created the building of the Admiralty. However, because of the death of Paul I, the construction could not be completed in time.
There are a number of decorative elements that have been preserved. In this area there is a U-shaped building with a two-storey part and compact wings. And the main facade is decorated with the traditional portals of the area, while the bottom is decorated with a portico. Unfortunately, the pavilion building was badly damaged in 1983. And at the moment you can only study a part of the walls.
The best natural sights of Gatchina
The palace garden
The main natural attraction of Gatchina is the Palace Garden, which is part of the ensemble. The green area is developed exactly around the residence and is considered to be the place that tourists tend to visit first. The Palace Park is a fine example of exquisite architecture, which dates back to the XVIII-XIX centuries.
The green zone was laid out in 1765 by order of Grigory Orlov, the count who owned Gatchina. The project was prepared by the famous English specialist John Bush. And on the site around the lake, the horticulturist planted a huge number of rare plants and added a number of architectural monuments. Among them the Eagle column and a small grotto have been preserved. Afterwards the park was repeatedly improved.
The second position in the rating of Gatchina’s natural attractions is occupied by its park, called Zverinets. It is located a little to the north from the main green zone of the city. Its total area is approximately 340 hectares. This territory was developed under Catherine II and the illustrious Count Orlov, who loved hunting. “Zverinets” was primarily formed as a protected area.
Various animals were released on its grounds, including very rare species that lived inside the spacious farms. And after Orlov’s death, Emperor Paul brought a camel here. It was under him that the “Menagerie” got its traditional layout, and then it was supplemented with several interesting objects.
This landmark in Gatchina has French origins. The green zone is a part of the palace and park ensemble of Gatchina. Despite its relatively small area, only 17.5 hectares, it is a very interesting area to walk. This area was created by order of Paul I, a great fan of French culture. While traveling around the country, he saw a similar area in Shantayi.
This park area is strictly planned. Architect and landscape specialist used several methods of radical three-beam. The result is one of the best sights in Gatchina, where the emperor spent a lot of time. The creation of the park took almost 8 years.
Eagle’s Grove Park
The park, built in honor of the benefactor of the settlement, the favorite of Catherine II the Great, takes the fourth position in the rating of Gatchina natural landmarks. It is included in the list of green areas of the city. The basis for the construction of this landmark was a network of paths that formed an intricate interweaving of paths.
The park was landscaped under Paul I, after the death of Count Orlov. It was then that a small hunting lodge appeared in the northern part of the grove, which was built with the help of architect Rinaldi. In the XIX century, the landmark was renamed, and the castle itself was partially dismantled. In 1956 on the territory of Orlovaya Grove opened the Research Institute of Nuclear Physics. At the moment it is one of the most popular recreation areas in Gatchina.
The last attraction in the ranking of Gatchina’s natural sites is the Priory Park. This green area has a total area of approximately 150 hectares, and it is here that the palace-museum of the same name is located. However, this landmark is not part of the cultural reserve of Gatchina.
During the development of the area, an area from the Zwierzyniec. And after the transfer of the ownership of Gatchina to Paul I and the construction of the palace, the park received its present name. For the planning attracted a specialist in creating landscapes Geket. And in the process of creating the park area, the Black Lake was greatly deepened, and a large number of walking paths were laid out.
The best religious attractions in Gatchina
Pokrovsky Cathedral in Gatchina
The first in the ranking is the Intercession Cathedral in Gatchina. This religious landmark is the largest in the Leningrad region. It was built at the turn of the XIX-XX centuries. And when working on the project, the authors tried to implement the idea of restoring the traditional Russian style. However, complications prevented this project from being completed the way the architect wanted.
The cathedral was erected on the site of an ancient wooden house that was part of a nunnery. And the finishing of the attraction could not be completed because of the outbreak of the First World War and the revolution. And only in 2011, the facade was covered with high-quality plaster. Divine services in the temple began only in 1991.
All Saints Church
The second position in the rating of spiritual attractions of Gatchina is occupied by the Church of All Saints. Its history began in 1851, when a new cemetery appeared in the town, and a compact chapel was built next to it. This church, built of brick in the traditional pseudo-Russian style, immediately became an important landmark. It stood practically till the middle of the Great Patriotic War, when an artillery attack destroyed the dome.
Despite its difficult condition, services have been held here again since 2015. The main elements which form the appearance of the building – the one-chapel chapel, the annexes, and the bell tower – are gradually being restored. The landmark is located on Stantsionnaya Street in Gatchina.
St. Nicholas Church
The third position in the category is occupied by the church of St. Nicholas. After Emperor Paul came to power in the city, the number of Protestant worshippers increased sharply. Therefore in 1793 a small wooden church was built for them, and a little later the church in honor of St. Peter and St. Paul was built. St. Nicholas. Architecturally, this is an example of a very common 19th century Lutheran house of prayer.
For the construction of this attraction was used the traditional local material – brown limestone. And inside it is as modest and bright as possible, with clean and beautiful walls and wooden chairs to attract tourists. Unfortunately, the church was partially looted during the Soviet regime. And later it was used as a sports school.
The best cultural sights of Gatchina
The State Museum-Reserve Gatchina
First place in the category of cultural attractions in Gatchina is occupied by the State Museum Reserve, which includes practically the entire territory of the estate, with a huge number of palaces that were built in the 18th century. The object was formed in 1917, according to the order of the Provisional Government, and the visitors began to run in 1918. The palace and the ensemble were badly damaged.
It began to be restored only in the 1980s. On the territory of the museum-reserve of Gatchina there are almost all the main sights. Its area is approximately 150 hectares. At the moment there are restoration works being carried out, for example, the bridges are partially restored.
The second position of the rating is occupied by the Round Riga, the oldest among the preserved buildings on the territory of Gatchina. This landmark was built before the middle of the eighteenth century, that is, before the city was handed over to Count Orlov. The object is believed to have been built by the Swedes as a fortification or built somewhat later.
Architecturally, Round Riga is a pair of rings of stone walls, which diameter is approximately 32 meters. The central object is somewhat higher than the surrounding fortifications, and on the walls there are traditional loopholes. During the reign of Paul I, Round Riga was added to the household buildings, and in 1852 there was a fire. But the landmark was quickly reconstructed. You can get there by bus № 4 or 21.
This Gatchina landmark is a monumental portal in the city’s Palace Park, called the Mask, and a small birch house. Outwardly it looks very much like a traditional log cabin, but it is one of the most magnificent structures of the city. Inside, they placed an interesting pavilion. The house was a gift to Paul I. The construction of such buildings with surprises was a traditional attraction of the XVIII-XIX centuries.
In the improvised birch house there is a small painted plafond, which symbolizes masculinity. The medallions in the corners contain bas-reliefs of women depicting the seasons. Above them the signs of the zodiac were drawn. This landmark is located in the palace park.
The next cultural attraction in Gatchina is the humpback bridge, which is located in the Palace Park. This crossing allows you to see almost all trends in the design of the park area of Imperial Russia, which were delivered from other states. The bridge is located across the White Lake and is a pavilion-belvedere.
Each step that a tourist climbs allows you to see the decor of the bridge. During the Patriotic War, this landmark of Gatchina was significantly damaged. However, it managed to survive and the bridge was later reconstructed. The crossing nowadays includes 3 parts, abutments and the span.
Monument of the first Russian submarine
Among the interesting sights of Gatchina is a model of the first Russian submarine. This grandiose construction was presented by the engineer and inventor Stepan Dzhevetsky to Emperor Alexander III. The event took place in 1881. Testing of innovative armament on the territory of the lake. In addition to the tsar, the event was attended by his wife, Maria Feodorovna.
The inventor took the extremely risky step of surfacing next to the ruler’s boat from under the ice and giving his wife a bouquet of her favorite flowers. This was partly the reason Alexander III. allowed to launch the ship. And in 2006, in honor of the 125th anniversary of the first showing, an exact replica of the submarine was installed.