Wandering Camera

Album 280
(Translated b
y Michael Chereisky)


In our previous album, we surveyed the environs of the State Congress Palace in Strelna.
Today lets stroll around the park as far as possible.


Well begin with a section of the parks modern plan borrowed from http://www.strelna.ru (highly recommended). Ive marked our route (yellow circles) and major sites (labeled rectangles).

The places passed over in the previous album are on our right: the Baltic Star hotel and cottage blocks.

Now we enter the park premises. Our main targets will be those marked on the plan: the gates (right and left), the cellar, the Konstantinovsky Palace (below in the middle), the island pavilion (above, circled by canals), and the Stables court (below on the right, marked 1).

It is from the latter that we start our hike.

The former Main Stables court is the next - after the palace - most important historic building.

It was constructed in 1848-1849 by Ch. F. Meyer, under direction of A.I. Shtakenshneider.

In 1893, the northern part was widened and converted to a riding ring. Now, upon the reconstruction, it houses administration, maintenance and security services.

Since the territory is now tightly secured, any movements around are quite constrained. Besides that, the whole complex may be suddenly closed without prior notice for some function or a VIP visit.

One has to buy a ticket (prepare 130 rubles plus 50 for a photo permit), and then wait till a group of 15 is formed. Tickets are limited: we arrived at 11:30 and entered the last wild group on that day. After us, only pre-booked groups were allowed, arrived by tour buses.

The tour starts with a check-post, complete with a metal detector, x-raying of bags, and visual inspection.

The security is run by the FSO - the Federal Protective Service.
Theyre quite polite and civilized the first round is always shot above the head. A joke :)

A few words about the parks history.

The first park in Strelna was set up during the Peter Is reign in 1707 and included a wooden palace, a garden and a couple of fountains all still in existence and located a kilometer away to the left.

In 1714-1715, a large regular park was started on this particular place, also with fountains for which purpose the Strelka river was crossed with a dam, resulting in the Orloff pond across the todays Peterhof road. Later however it became apparent that the marshes around Peterhof would allow the fountains to reach higher, so the Strelna works were abandoned.

In 1716, B.-C. Rastrelli designed a general plan of the ensemble. During the same year all Strelna works were handed over to the architect J.-B. Leblond.

In 1719 the work was headed by N. Miketti, who in 1720 built the foundation of a full-scale palace almost similar to the existing one.

From 1721 till 1741 the construction was managed by M. G. Zemtsov, then from 1747 till 1761 by B.-F. Rastrelli.

In 1797, the palace and the park were given to Grand Duke Constantine, son of Paul I. Another Constantine, son of Nicolas I, acquired the ownership in 1847, and since then the palace is known as Konstantinovsky.

During the WW2 in 1941 1945 many structures, including the palace, suffered serious damages. After the war the repair works were undertaken, then abandoned until the latest reconstruction.

Dogs at this secure site are worthy of a special mention. Right after our passing the check-post, we were accompanied by this doggy. It behaved nicely asked for nothing, bit nobody. Approximately at the middle of the park it disappeared to be replaced by another one, of the same mongrel terrier breed, under whose escort we proceeded till the palace.

I wonder whats their rank and where do they keep their walkie-talkies :)

The check-post is on the back left.

As to the structure on the right

In theory, its a palace cellar, built by A.I. Shtakenshneider in 1850.

But it seems much more like a bunker.

The rules of conduct on this tour forbid one to step aside for any notable distance or to lag behind.

Judging by a somewhat nervous mood of our guide, she is regularly reminded of her security duties.

In fact, the park tour consists of a fast stroll from the check-post to the palace with several stops. The way back is slightly different (in this album, the there and back pictures are arranged rather topologically than chronologically).

We approach the gate.

The Konstantinovsky palace is seen far off.

The gate was designed by F.-B. Rastrelli in the 1750s.
The Stables court has been left behind.
A few words on the organizations that carried out the reconstruction works:

General designer: GIPRONII (Design & Projects Institute) of the Academy of Science, St. Petersburg.
General contractor: the 16th Building Company.
Communications & Data systems: the Atlas North-West R&D Center (associated with the FAPSI governmental security agency).
Hydro-engineering works: the Lenmostostroy company.

And a few more, of course.

Now lets ascend the stairs and take a few shots.
The Stables court and the gate, this time from afar.
This is the Upper garden closer to the palace (which is behind us).
Apparently a transformer booth, built in the 1950s.
Now downstairs again and the Konstantinovsky palace is in front of us.
Unable to shoot the palace from an appropriate distance, lets settle for such a view.
The Petrovsky canal connects the Finnish bay with the palace, so it can be reached by boat.

The Eastern and Western canals run in parallel to the Petrovsky on its left and right, respectively.

They are interconnected with other canals forming a kind of network.

One of the several bridges.

Another, a larger drawbridge, is situated closer to the bay, unseen from the palace.

The original bridges were lined with limestone, but granite was used for the current ones.

As far as I understand, the Monument Protection Committee was unsuccessful in defending its opinion on several reconstruction issues, including those concerning the palace itself.

The negotiations pavilion.

Its located on the circular Petrovsky island. The Petrovsky canal flows into the Koltsevoy (Ring) canal that rounds the island. The canal runs into the bay to the pavilions left rather than just behind it a bit strange in my opinion.

The area between the Finnish bay and the palace is called Yuzhny (Southern) park.

According to various photos, the park currently ends, on its bay side, with a promenade and a pier, complete with a monument of Peter I and Catherine I. Some statue of Peter I was also there during the second half of the XIX c., to the left of the todays pavilion, but we have no idea what happened to it.
A modern press center has been built (or rebuilt from a 1960s building?) on the shore to our right.

The gate opposite to that mentioned above, on the parks other side.
Something white on the ground is a sort of small pebbles, an adornment apparently.

Because of a tight time schedule, the park is thin on vegetation: some of the trees had to be cut down in order to lay down communications lines, and those newly planted still look more like rods.

Interestingly, the whole work area (i.e. everything in your sight) has been raised with earth by 0.5 meters.

In the next album well look at the palace from a closer distance: enter the grottos and go upstairs to enjoy a nice view.

By the way, you may get to Strelna by tram 36 from the Avtovo metro station,
or take a shuttle minibus, or arrive by train from the Baltiysky station.



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