DURATION: 6 hours including transfer
Gatchina town is to the south-west from St. Petersburg. Whether you have already visited the impressive palaces of Tsarskoye Selo, Peterhof, Pavlovsk or Oranienbaum, this is another suburban summer residence which is worth visiting, especially the imposing Gatchina Palace and the huge and picturesque landscape park with its Birch house and other pavilions, lakes, and the “Echo” grotto.
The rich count Grigory Orlov, favorite of Catherine II, was one of the owners of Gatchina. The Grand Gatchina Palace was initially constructed for him by Antonio Rinaldi. Orlov started the collection of old arms still represented in the palace as well as the items of the famous “Hunting” service. In 1783 Gatchina was passed to the future Emperor Paul I who expanded the palace ensemble. He also commissioned the architect Nickolas Lvov to build the Palace of Priory (“Priorat”) which is a modest but unique structure made of boulder clay. This palace was assigned for the members of the Grand Russian Priory of Maltese Order that was organized on the Polish territories in 1797 in terms of Russian friendship with Malta and Maltese knights. This palace is also worth seeing in your free time.