St. Petersburg is a city that is rich not only in history but also in cultural and architectural attractions. However, the surroundings of the city can serve as a source of even more inspiration. The palaces, many of which were built in the 18th century at the will of the tsar's family, deserve special attention and we will get acquainted with them on this trip.
Today we will plunge into the atmosphere of the XVIII century, visiting some of the main palaces of the Leningrad region, as well as visit the highest point of St. Petersburg.
The Grand Gatchina Palace is one of the main architectural sights of the Leningrad Region. Back in the 18th century it was built by order of Catherine II for her favorite Count G.G. Orlov, but after his death the palace was bought by the Empress for her son and future Emperor Paul I. Afterwards, only members of the royal family were owners of the palace until the February Revolution of 1917, after which it was decided to make the palace a national museum, which it is today. Inside the palace you will be met by an exhibition that will tell you about the history and owners of this place, you will be able to see personal belongings and rooms of Paul I, visit the palace's signal tower, which offers an incredible view of the park, and even visit the underground passage of the palace, a total length of 130 meters!
Then we will go to the Priory Palace, which is certainly not as luxurious as many others, but because of this is no less attractive, and moreover, it is the business card of Gatchina. This structure is unique in that it is the only 18th century landmark in Russia. The name of the palace goes back to the rank of knight "Grand Priory", which was approved in 1797 by Paul I. The palace was built by order of the Emperor for Prince Condé - Prior of the Order of Knights, who was in exile. It is hard to believe, but once upon a time there was an impenetrable swamp on the site of the palace, which had to be drained, ditches and ditches dug in order to erect the Earth Palace here, as it is often called. Today the building houses an exhibition of Oriental art, an exposition dedicated to the history of the palace construction, earth-moving machinery and the architect himself - N.A. Lviv.
Then we will go for lunch to the restaurant "Podvorie", which is considered "the most Russian restaurant in Russia". This restaurant is loved not only by locals, but also by foreign guests. The restaurant's menu offers a wide variety of dishes of native Russian cuisine, as well as an extensive children's menu. Here you can taste homemade dumplings, homemade borscht, royal ear, pancakes with caviar or cowberry pies. The interior of the restaurant will not leave you indifferent too: a stuffed bear that holds a tray with two glasses of vodka, harmonica, balalaika and wooden furniture.
The next place we'll visit is the Pavlovsk Museum Reserve, which is a model of Russian culture of the XVIII century. The Pavlovsky Palace here is the main attraction of the whole ensemble. A few centuries earlier, the palace served as the summer residence of Paul I. Often concerts of great composers were held here: in the Pavlovsk Concert Hall M.I. Glinka performed and Johann Strauss gave his concerts. Today in the halls of the Pavlovsky Palace you can see collections of paintings, books, furniture and sculptures of those times, see the quarters of the royal family, concert and ceremonial halls. You can view the exhibition yourself or be accompanied by an experienced guide who will be happy to introduce you to the history and secrets of the palace.
Dudengof Heights is a unique natural monument, where the highest point of St. Petersburg is located. From here you can enjoy the best panoramic view of the nearest fields and surroundings of the city. There are wooden stairs in the park, where you can climb steep moats, cleared paths and a 2.5-kilometer eco-trail. Here you can enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings, silence and calmness.
Our journey is coming to an end and it's time to go for dinner at the Nordic restaurant. The interior here is a complete reflection of Nordic style: panoramic windows, spacious forms, small bright accents and even an open kitchen equipped with the latest technology. Only fresh farm products are used to prepare the dishes, which is trusted. Here you can taste such Scandinavian dishes as lamb tartar with baked eggplant, boletus soup, pizza on rye dough with seafood, ice cream with flax flavour, white mushrooms and cornflowers, as well as at the restaurant there is an extensive bar list with strong drinks, saturated with aromas of herbs, berries and cones.