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Forty kilometers from St. Petersburg on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland lies the town of Lomonosov. The city was built during the reign of Peter I and was presented to a close friend of Peter I Alexander Menshikov, who, in turn, began the construction and improvement of country residences. Originally the city was called Oranienbaum which means “an orange tree” in German. The name was given by Peter himself, who, according to a legend, noticed a small greenhouse with wild orange trees near the city. Until 1917 Oranienbaum remained the residence of the Imperial family and afterwards became a museum complex. In 1948 Oranienbaum, like many cities of that time, was renamed to Lomonosov, and to this day bears the name of the outstanding Russian scientist.
During the great Patriotic war Oranienbaum was the only suburb of Leningrad that German army didn’t occupy. Palaces and parks were damaged but not destroyed and looted. Therefore, palaces and gardens of Lomonosov have a great cultural and artistic value as genuine architectural and landscape monuments.
On a guided tour you will see the beautiful interior rooms of the Grand Menshikov Palace and enjoy the sophisticated Chinese Palace. After that you’ll get a chance to take a pleasant walk in the splendid landscape park of Oranienbaum, which harmoniously combines complex geometric patterns of lanes and tracks, mazes, ponds and sumptuous architectural monuments such as bizarre Sliding Hill Pavillion (in the 18th century the prototype of a modern roller coaster was located here) and ceremonial Stone hall which served as a local theater.
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The Great Menshikov Palace
The most grandiose structure which can be found in Oranienbaum is the Great Menshikov Palace, which was built in the early 18th century and has maintained its beauty up until today. Many believe that this building outbids the palace ensemble in Peterhof with its grandeur and magnificent interior.
During the tour on the Menshikov Palace you will plunge into the world of luxurious interiors of the Peter’s epoch, that strike with its elegance and splendor. Your will certainly be amazed by 14 vintage rooms with thoroughly recreated genuine interiors of one the most vivid periods in the history of imperial Russia.
The Chinese Palace
The Chinese Palace can rightfully be called a treasure of the Oranienbaum Park. The name “Chinese” appeared for the reason that in the 18th century, during the reign of Catherine II, Chinese art became very popular in Europe and therefore several rooms of the Palace were decorated with Oriental motifs. However, the art of China was very loosely interpreted by artists of the time.
Unlike other Imperial residences of St. Petersburg, which were destroyed during the Second World War, the Chinese Palace retained original interiors of the 18th century. That is why the venue is open only in summer: the rest of the time it is closed because of the cold and wet air that can be very harmful to the interior materials.
The Palace abounds with luxury interior decorations: walls and ceilings fine painting, stucco ornaments and flower garlands, intricate parquet floors of rare woods, the glitter of gilt and mirrors.
You will be amazed by a large number of original pieces of art from Japan and China, a valuable collection of Italian painting as well as unique porcelain and luxurious furniture by Russian and European masters of the 18th century.
In front of the Grand Palace lies the Lower Garden, which covers an area of almost 5 hectares. It is one of the first regular gardens in Russia with the layout on the French model. In the center of the garden there is a main avenue, flanked by symmetrical bosquets of trimmed lindens, maples and firs.
And to the South-West of the Grand Palace there is an Upper Park, covering a large area of 160 hectares. It offers a lot of alleys, a maze of ponds, canals, and bridges. Gorgeous landscape located of the Oranienbaum Park is striking in its beauty at any time of the year.
Our guided tour gives an opportunity to visit a precious sample of landscape gardening art of the 18th century. Some trees here are older than a hundred years and the air is fresh and pure. There are a lot of wild birds around and even a small zoo. So a stroll in the park will definitely be one of the brightest spots of the day and will provide you with peace and relaxation among beautiful scenery.
Alternative Tour Sights
This tour can be customised with a visit to the Palace of Peter III – a miniature building that served as a resting place for the Emperor. Modest outside, it resembles a small casket filled with amazing interiors and art objects that haven’t changed since the palace foundation.
The rooms of the Palace of Peter III are small, but paintings, lacquers, precious textiles and noble wood make them extremely vivid and emphasize gorgeous decorative finishing. Soft street light makes the decoration even more colorful, and on a clear day large windows of the palace offer a great view of the Oranienbaum Park.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS
- Feel the spirit of the luxurious 18th century royal country residence that is included into the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Touch the gorgeous ancient oaks and firs
- Visit a stone bench of Catherine II which is told to be shrouded in a mystical atmosphere
- Learn about the vintage Russian Hills ride that used to entertain royal guests 300 years ago and visit its remaining pavilion
- A day out of town full of bright impressions and high spirits
- A friendly professional english-speaking guide that won’t let you get bored
- A close look at splendid exteriors and interiors of 200-years old architecrural gems
- A relaxing walk in a 160-hectares park full of wildlife and undisturbed nature
- Orange trees. Because in the place called “The Orange Tree” (Oranienbaum) no one has ever seen a single orange tree
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