Pavlovsk Great Palace

Around St Petersburg

One of the most tragic and mysterious characters in the Romanov royal family, emperor Paul I was intensely disliked by his own courtiers, who eventually strangled him with a scarf. Whatever historians say about him, however, he had great taste, as displayed in this glorious palace, the finest rooms of which are on the middle floor of the central block.

Charles Cameron designed the round Italian Hall beneath the dome and the Grecian Hall to its west, though the lovely green fluted columns were added by his assistant Vincenzo Brenna. Flanking these are two private suites designed mainly by Brenna – Paul’s along the north side of the block and Maria Fyodorovna’s on the south.

The Hall of War of the military-obsessed Paul contrasts with Maria’s Hall of Peace, decorated with musical instruments and flowers. On the middle floor of the south block are Paul’s Throne Room and the Hall of the Maltese Knights of St John, of whom he was the Grand Master.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Around St Petersburg attractions

1. Private Garden

0.06 MILES

A formal garden restricted to members of the royal family. When the flowers are in bloom, it's a stunning sight.

2. Three Graces Pavilion

0.07 MILES

Late 18th-century sculpture purchased by Alexander I and given as a present to his mother Maria Fyodorovna.

3. Rose Pavilion

0.58 MILES

Russian architect Andrei Voronykhin (who rose from serfdom to become one of Petersburg's master architects), designed this simple but elegant pavilion. It…

4. Pavlovsk Park

0.97 MILES

You'll have to pay to enter the serene Pavlovsk Great Park just to access the palace, so it’s worth exploring while you're here. Filled with rivers and…

5. Chesme Column

2.66 MILES

This is a monument to the Russian victory in the Battle of Chesme in 1778.

6. Great Pond

2.67 MILES

This large ornamental 'pond' is more of a lake, and forms the centrepiece of the landscaped gardens at Tsarskoe Selo.

7. Grotto Pavilion

2.69 MILES

With a gorgeous location on the shore of the Great Pond, the Grotto Pavilion is sometimes used to host exhibits.

8. Turkish Bath

2.72 MILES

With its minaret and mosaic-covered interior this pavilion perched over the water was meant to resemble a mosque. The building closes during bad weather.