The parks of Tsarskoe Selo
Parks are an essential part of the Tsarskoe Selo royal residence with the Catherine park and the Alexander park being the key ones. They received theirs names after palaces that are situated there.s.
The Catherine park
Parks are an essential part of the Tsarskoe Selo royal residence with the Catherine park and the Alexander park being the key ones. They received theirs names after palaces that are situated there.
The Catherine park consists of two parts: the regular Old garden and the landscape English Park. The old (Dutch) garden was founded, according to a legend, by Peter I. At least it is known that the Dutch masters Roozen and Focht planned the garden in early 1720’s. However, many outstanding architects that worked in Tsarskoe Selo got a chance to express their talents here: for instance Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli built the “Hermitage” and the “Grotto” pavilions in the park, as well as the Sliding hill.
The Catherine Park’s territory comprises dozens of architectural constructions: from magnificent palaces and marble monuments to numerous pavilions, bridges and exotic buildings that give the park a unique character. All these objects are by all means worth of attention. It may take a whole day or even several days to explore and enjoy all the riches of the Catherine Park. But if you only have an hour or two, we recommend visiting at least the Agate rooms.
“The Catherine Park’s territory comprises dozens of architectural constructions: from magnificent palaces and marble monuments to numerous pavilions, bridges and exotic buildings that give the park a unique character.”
The Alexander Park, which has an area of about 200 hectares, adjoins the Catherine Palace from the courtyard. Its main entrance is located opposite the Catherine Palace. You can also get to the park through the gate, located near to the Alexander Palace.
The Alexander Park is divided into regular (the New garden) and landscape pieces. And both of them are masterpieces of landscape art.
One of the best examples of classicism in architecture is the Alexander Palace. It was built by the Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi. Unfortunately, it is not possible to get into the building now, because the interiors are under restoration until 2018. However, nothing stops you from admiring the Palace’s beauty from the outside.
The Babolovsky park
And finally we get to the last major park of Tsarskoe Selo – the Babolovsky Park which was initially designed for solitary walks and leisurely riding in carriages, hence its difference from the Catherine and the Alexander parks. There is no architectural refinements, museums, monuments or cafes onsite. Babolovsky Park looks modest, which of course does not diminish its beauty and cozy charm.
In the early nineteenth century the fashion for formal gardens had passed, and designers began to seek “natural” landscapes in the Italian style. Works at the current location of the Babolovsky Park began in 1850-1860’s, they included drainage of wetlands, cutting and uprooting part of the forest and planting birches, oaks, lindens, maples and other species of shrubs and trees. As a result, several picturesque meadows appeared. Also a wide circular path was created along the borders of the park, while roads for walking and driving appeared inside.
Despite its external modesty compared to other Tsarskoe Selo parks, the Babolovsky Park is rich in historic sites. These include a Sukhanov Grand stone tub, located in the Babolovskiy Palace (which was badly damaged during the war and still resides in the ruins), Vittolov and Taicky culverts, the dam bridge, Staro-Krasnoselsky gates, Suvorin residence and others. In addition, the Park became a favorite place for active vacation among locals and guests: people love skiing, biking, jogging and simply walking here.