Wandering Camera

Album 281
(Translated by
Maxim Shablygin)


Proceeding a walk in the park.
In this album we'll roam a little bit around Konstantinovskiy palace looking at the park.


First we'll survey the view from downstairs ascending then to the upper stage and going through an archway to the opposite side of the palace.
A hall could be visible from the palace. We'll touch upon it a little bit later - from upstairs where the sight is better.

In the previous album I've told shortly the general history of the park, now I'm going to express in details about the palace.

Construction has been started in 1720 under the project of N.Minketti approved by emperor Peter I.
After that it was continued by M.Zemtsov, T.Usov, P.Eropkin.

In 1730-s the building process was temporary stopped because of funding shortage.

In 1743-1750 F.B.Rastrelli takes part in the construction.

In 1797 the palace was given to Konstantin (the son of emperor Pavel I) and thus reconstructed under the supervision of F.Vilster and A.N.Voronikhin (year 1802, western wing) for serving as the residence of the Grand Prince.

In 1803 the palace was once in fire.

In years 1804-1805 the building was totally reconstructed under the project of L.Rusk in collaboration with P.Pilnikov and A.N.Voronikhin. Interior was changed to the classic style. A belvedere was raised.
The fronts in general remained the same as were planned by Minketti and almost were not changed afterwards.

In 1831 the palace was given to Konstantin Nikolaevich, the son of emperor Nikolay I. In 1847-60 the palace interior was reconstructed under the project of architects H.F.Meyer, A.I.Stakenschneider in collaboration with Langwagen.

Since 1892 Grand Prince Dmitriy Konstantinovich owned the palace.

After the revolution in 1917 child educational institutions were arranged in the palace including labor commune and secondary school. The palace's furniture was given to museums of St.-Petersburg.

Since 1937 till 1940 here was a sanatorium health center.

In 1940 advanced training courses for USSR Navy admirals and senior officers were opened here.

During the World War II in 1941-45 the palace was totally destroyed (only walls remained).

In years 1945-50 the building with the park was given to the Northern Sea Path Navy. In 1949-55 the building was reconstructed and overhauled with significant differences from the pre-war palace. Leningrad Arctic School was arranged here. Only Marble and Blue halls were restored inside.

In 1990-s the School was closed and the building and the park began to fall into decay.

Since year 2000 the palace was owned by the Administrative Department of the President of Russian Federation and now restored and reconstructed to be the President Residence (State complex "Congress Palace").

However, enough of history. Returning to the survey. Behind the arcs you see alongside the palace there exist grottos similar to Peterhof ones (but without statues).

The grotto has been built in years 1803-1805 under the project of A.N.Voronikhin as a Dorian colonnade (only rounded stone sides remained from that project). In 1873-1845 H.F.Meyer overhauled the grotto. Following the demand of emperor Nikolay I in years 1848-49 the grotto has been reconstructed by A.I.Stakenschneider and acquired the appearance we see nowadays.
Grotto "extension"
It's quite low here - one needs to bow.
One of palace entries
Young spruces and many of other trees are just planted thus looking faintly.
A pair of stairways at the both sides of the palace guide upper.

Let's ascend.

The view at the park with foot-bridges.

"A wood" in the front is obviously just planted, but what is interesting - were the trees in the background also planted being such big ones or they remained from former times?

Only now staring at this picture I wondered, do these pathways expressly have grass, or it's not assumed to walk here at all?
Now I'd like to touch minutely upon the negotiation hall located on the round Peter island at the end of Peter channel.
There were no buildings there before 2003 (only trees on the right and left).

There probably were some projects in the past to build something there, but it was then decided that a building closes a gulf view.

What is now constructed I consider quite nice leaving the historical correctness of course.

There were proposals to make the hall being able to lower itself under the ground, but the project wasn't implemented.

Negotiation hall facade and interior was designed by American architect J.P.Molineux. The project was architecturally and constructively detailed by U.N.Lobanov Architectural Studio.
The building vaguely associates for me with Tavricheskiy palace, though it shouldn't.

A cooling tower and a chimney of North-Western heat station could be seen on the right in the background.
I find quite strange an idea to paint the cooling tower as Russian tricolor (invisible gray-blue would be better). However president Bush must have liked it. :)

But let's divert from the means of close zoom and return to the upper stage of the palace from where previous shots were taken.
A couple of details


I guess the material it is made of was one of issue points in discussion with Monument Protection Committee. Correct me please if the balcony has the same look in the past.

Let's go now through the archway to walk out at the opposite side of the palace.
Same as in the grottos the lanterns shine here despite the sunny day.
Yeah, nothing similar to my street in the bedroom community :-)
We're at the square in front of the palace.
Excursion groups enter the palace through an unassuming side door in one of the wings.
Monument to Peter I in front of the palace

The original of this monument (sculptor - professor Shmidt-Kassel) was since 1910 located in the center of Riga being placed in connection with 200-th anniversary of release from the Swedes.

In 1915 it was sent to Petrograd but the vessel was torpedoed and sank. 20 years later the statue has been lifted up by Estonians. The city council of Riga decided then to redeem the monument from Estonians. It was restored and ready to be settled in the center of Riga yet in the end of 20th century. But afterwards the decision was changed (seems strange it ever existed :), and it was determined to present the monument to St.-Petersburg as a gift for 300-year anniversary. But Russian community of Latvia (!) asked the governor of St.-Petersburg not to accept the gift. Finally the copy was made in Russia, and it stands now in front of the palace.

And before, in year 1872 the statue "Archangel Michael defeats the dragon" has been placed here, and after year 1917 (I don't know since when exactly) till the middle of 1990-s here was settled a monument of Lenin.

In the next album I propose to compare the view of the park before and after the reconstruction.



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