Welcome to Oranienbaum

While Peter was building Monplaisir, his right-hand man, Alexander Menshikov, began his own palace, Oranienbaum (Orange Tree), 5km down the coast from Peterhof. This grand enterprise eventually bankrupted Menshikov. Following Peter’s death and Menshikov’s exile, the estate served briefly as a hospital and then passed to Tsar Peter III, who didn’t much like ruling Russia and spent a lot of time there before he was dispatched in a coup led by his wife Catherine (later the Great).

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Oranienbaum activities

$80 Cultural & Theme Tours

Russian maritime glory, Kronshtadt, Oranienbaum, Peterhoff

Peter I who started the Northern campaign in 1700 against Sweden that had occupied this territory for the last 100 years and in spite of being  defeated initially by Charles XII who was almost alter ego for Peter, being of the same age and character, found himself  in marshy lands of the former Great Novgorod city principality. His resilience and ability to learn the lesson and get up after being knocked down gave Peter I the opportunity not only to create from scratches the most advanced Army and the Navy, but also build practically on empty spot a new capital surrounded by fortresses and sea forts defending all approaches from enemy side.Upon arrival we can start from visiting imperial yacht museum. We continue through the lower park, which Peter I called his paradise and which with all the constantly flowing cascades and running fountains supposed to outshine Versailles. Along the way we see the Big Palace, Marly, Hermitage and Monplesir palaces. After going through upper garden we continue on land to the next imperial residence, built in Oranienbaum. We will visit Menshikov palace, Rollercoaster Pavilion and Chinese palace, which was built by Catherine the Great and is the only one, that was not destroyed during WWII, because it was in a pocket of resistances, which Germans failed to capture. We continue our trip to the other side of Gulf of Finland, but this time not by the boat, but by land transportation, because we will use the road running on top of the protective barrier to the former Kronshtadt island, wich is now connected by it to mainland on both sides of the Gulf of Finland.We would be able to see closed until recently first Russian Navy base located in the city of Kronshtadt, that just recently has been opened for visitors. We'll see remnants of the first little manmade island, which apeared during winter, when Peter had wooden logs dragged on ice and after crates filled with stones sunk built on top of it artificial fortification, named Kronshlot, by which no enemy ship was able to pass since then ,  because it was designed and strategically placed off Kronshtadt island by Peter himself, who waded through freezing water, sometimes chest deep to measure navigable depth of the Gulf of Finland and calculated gun range coverage to prevent unobstructed passage of Swedish ships. We would be able to see city harbor, dry dock and fortifications, that were designed and personally supervised while under construction by Peter the Great and his closest associates. And after that we visit recently restored Main Navy Cathedral with its distinct sea-world theme decoration such as dolphins and sea creatures, that was built to commemorate Russian maritime glory. Also we visit navy memorials of WWII heroes, such as of Russian submarine captain Marinesku, who was proclaimed Hitler’s enemy number one after the so called attack of the century, when he managed to sink the biggest transport carrying the elite of German Navy officers.