Pushkin – a palace worthy of a tsar

On my last day in Saint Petersburg I decided to go to Pushkin, a suburb named after the famous Russian poet who had begun his education in this place. After 30 Minutes on the metro and almost an hour in a crowded mini-bus that was speeding over ill-maintained bumpy roads I arrived, suspected that it had not been worth going through all that trouble. The town looked really unspectacular. But then I rounded a corner and was already proven wrong. I saw several golden domes glittering in the sun, sitting on what turned out to be the very edge of a vast palace.

Catharine Palace

I got a time frame ticket for the palace itself, and while waiting I started exploring the symmetrical park in front of the building. It turned out to be huge, with many sculptures and small buildings waiting to be discovered. Above it all: the autumn sun; making the colored leaves of the oak trees look especially beautiful.

"Small" Heremitage

When I was finally admitted to the palace I found myself in a long corridor, with hundreds of tourists, waiting to go through a completely pointless (like most of them here) security checkpoint before putting on a pair of overshoes (to protect the precious wooden floors).

Inside Catharine Palace

I climbed an extravagant, red carpeted staircase and entered a big hall with an equally big ceiling fresco. The wall decorators had clearly only known two materials: mirrors – and gold. And they had managed to overuse those, so it became way too pompous, certainly not functional any more and it did not even look especially nice (my subjective opinion, of course)…

The Amber Room

The reconstruction of the lost amber room which is exhibited in one of the smaller rooms is a different story though: I spent a long time marvelling at all the variations in color – from almost white to saturated yellow to ruby red they had managed to get their hands on enough stones to decorate three entire walls of this room, only leaving space for mirrors and an occasional picture.

The Amber Room

The Amber Room

And they had done a great job: Every stone fit perfectly, in size and shape as well as colorwise.
Afterwards I spent several more hours wandering through the palace parks, savoring one of the last beautiful days of autumn, discovering a mosque, a pyramid, a chinese village and many more curiosities.

Decorative Bridge

Autumn lake

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