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Oranienbaum

The Palace-and-park ensemble on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland opposite the town-fortress Kronshtadt (architects D.Fontana and J.Schedel). In 1743, Oranienbaum became the summer residence of the future emperor Peter III. A fortress ensemble with a petite palace was constructed for him to the design of architect A.Rinaldi. Later, A.Rinaldi was commissioned by the Empress Catherine the Great to erect the Chinese Palace and the Katalnaya Gorka (Sliding Hill) with a pavilion. The palace ensemble of Peterstadt features the Gate of Honour (1757, architect Rinaldi) - a relic of the Poteshny (Toy) Fortress of the heir to the throne (the future Emperor Peter III), Peter Ill's two-storey palace (1758-60, architect Rinaldi) and Peter's Park, which acquired its present form in the 1830s. The rooms of the palace abound with painted panels, intricate stuccowork and parquetry designs. On display is a collection of 17th and 18th century Western European paintings. There is also an exhibition devoted to the history of the construction of the palace and park ensemble in Oranienbaum. The ensemble of the "Personal Dacha" consists of Catherine II's Chinese Palace (1762-68, architect Rinaldi), the Sliding Hill Pavilion (1762-74, architect Rinaldi) and the surrounding Upper Park. The highlight of the estate, the Chinese Palace - is a splendid monument of Rococo architecture. Its interiors are striking for the wealth and variety of their decor. Particularly exquisite is the Buglework Study. The state rooms are adorned with stylized Chinese motifs, hence the name. The palace houses collections of paintings by artists of the Venetian School, Russian and Western European porcelain, furniture and works of Oriental decorative and applied art, which were very highly rated in the 18th century. The halls of the Sliding Hill Pavilion (the hill itself has not survived) contain a display of porcelain statuettes from Meissen. The Great Palace, Sliding Hill Pavilion and Picture House are currently under reconstruction.

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