Alexander Palace - Steeped in History
Home to the last Tsar of Russia, Alexander Palace may not be one of the most impressive palaces in the country, but it is certainly steeped in history. Located just 15 miles from St. Petersburg, Alexander Palace is situated on the Tsarskoe Selo estate. Alexander Palace is definitely worthy of attention.
Tsarkoe Selo estate takes in some 1 482.6 acres of land, chiefly donated by Peter I to the Russian court way back in 1701. The original palace on the grounds of Tsarkoe Selo was only a 16 room summer palace. Peter I had it constructed for his wife Catherine Alekseyevna. His daughter, Elizabeth, later had the palace enlarged and improvements were made. Years later Catherine-the-Great also added her input to the Alexander Palace. She spent much time on perfecting this project. This new palace was built for Catherine's gandchild, Alexander I. Alexander Palace was given to Alexander and his bride in 1793 as a wedding gift. He too contributed to the design of the remarkable Russian palace.
Alexander Palace's chief architect was Giacomo Quarenghi. The palace was designed to be a home and was thus simple, but elegant. In the end the design left out ornamental structures and expensive interior additions. It certainly cost much less than the opulent Romanov summer palaces. Even ornamental statues planned for the roof were removed to further simplify the design. The final product included both Roman and Paladin styles with a touch of Neo-Classicism. The facade that greets visitors is marked by a double row of columns which link two pavilions, making up the entire Alexander Palace structure. Perpendicular wings creating the courtyard of the entranceway give the palace an urban feel. In the 1830s the Alexander Palace was adorned with two bronze statues. Located in the central colonnade they provide images of young men who are playing Russian games.
In 1905, Tsar Nicholas II and his family came to reside at Alexander Palace. He remained her until August 1917, the date when he was taken with his family by the Bosheviks. They were later shot in 1918. In 1997 the “Recollections of Alexander Palace” exhibit was set-up in the left wing. Alexander Palace holds a unique place in the history of the Russian monarchy.