State Reserve-Museum Oranienbaum
This Reserve-Museum is located 40 km west from Saint Petersburg in the city of Lomonosov. Renamed in 1948 after Russian scholar Mikhail Lomonosov (18th century), the city used to be called Oranienbaum (orange tree in German).
The largest architectural structure on its ground is Great Menshikov’s Palace. Its construction started in 1710 under supervision of architect Giovanni Fontana and was completed in 1725 under that of Gottfried Schade. Its first owner was Alexander Menshikov, a friend of Peter the Great and first governor of Saint Petersburg. From 1743, Grand Duke Peter Fedorovich, future Peter III, made it his home. He lived there with his wife who became Catherine II after he was murdered. This Emperor only reigned six months. The Palace was then rebuilt by architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. It underwent other modifications throughout its history. In Baroque style it now stretches like a 210 meters long arch facing the Golf of Finland. It is known for its crown perched on the top of the main building.
The estate also contains the Palace of Peter III. It is the only building left today of the “Pleasure fortress” built by Grand Duke Peter Fedorovich and called “Peterstadt” (Peter’s city). The rococo palace was designed by architect Antonio Rinaldi. The work began in 1759, and ended in 1762. The unexpected death of its recipient the same year had the fortress and palace abandoned. The latter was saved by restorations in the late 19th century and in the 20th century.
The Italian architect of the Palace of Peter III was the one who then built the Chinese Palace (1762-1768). This rococo palace was requested by Empress Catherine II. Its oriental-style inspired rooms originated its name. The building was extended in the first half of the 19th century by Andrei Stackenschneider. It also underwent several restorations throughout the years, the last one was completed in 2011.
All these buildings as well as other smaller ones are located on a vast landscaped place.Great Menshikov’s Palace opens on the lower garden, one of the first even gardens in Russia. Facing the building a canal linked to the Baltic Sea was created. Behind the Palace begins the upper park, covering an area of 160 ha, containing several artificial ponds. Karasta River leads to Peter’s Park on which Peter’s Palace was built (15ha).
The State Reserve-Museum Oranienbaum has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.