In the morning we took our bus to the town of Pushkin and the Catherine Palace, about 20 miles southeast of St. Petersburg. Construction began in 1717 but was redesigned in 1752 for the Empress Elizabeth. It is a sort of Russian Versailles and named for her mother and Peter’s widow, Catherine I (not to be confused with Catherine II, the Great, who despised the building’s excess). We toured the palace interior, including its famous amber room, destroyed by the Nazis in WWII but now faithfully restored with German financial assistance.

Below is the Carriage Courtyard on the North side of the palace

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The Ballroom

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Yes, those are dead birds on the walls below, the Empress Elizabeth liked to hunt.

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The above sign shows the before and after of the Green Dining Room from the WWII siege. The restored version of the dining room is also pictured below.

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Check out those booties. We wore shoe covers in almost all of the museums to protect the floors.

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The gardens were designed in the French and English styles

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In the afternoon we visited the nearby Imperial Lycée, the remarkable academic institution where Pushkin studied as a boy in the 1810s. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of it but more can be found here. We then took our bus to Novgorod, about 110 miles away.

Next: Day 11