Strelna, Saint-Petersburg Suburbs
The history of Strelna
The suburb of St. Petersburg called Strelna is famous for its marvelous palace and park complex, which was built by Emperor Peter I. So the age of this old settlement is now almost 300 years. It is situated 19 kilometers from St. Petersburg on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland. The area had been under Swedish protection before the Northern War. The rich Strelingof estate gave the name to the village. During the Northern War the estate was acquired by the Russian tsar. Peter I stayed there during his frequent trips from St. Petersburg to Kronstadt. Under the influence of the place’s beauty Peter decided to build there a residence that would surpass residences of European monarchs in brilliance and luxury. According to his plans cascades and grottos, and a huge garden were to be built in Strelna. The first palace there was erected in 1707; it was wooden and was named the Travel Palace. In 1720 the construction of Konstantinovsky Palace started.
However, Peter's plans did not come true: Strelna did not become the main residence of Russian emperors. After the death of Peter I construction works stopped. Only in 1797 Strelna came alive again. The new owner was the son of Paul I, Constantine. He completed the construction of the Konstantinovsky Palace. In 1847 Strelna once again changed the owner, the new one was the son of Nicholas I, Constantine Nikolayevich. From that time on he palace and the park were officially named Konstantinovsky.
The Travel Palace was the first to be built in Strelna. There, Peter I stayed during his trips from St. Petersburg to Kronstadt. During the Second World War the palace was destroyed. In 1950s it was restored and given to a kindergarten. Now it houses the museum. Among its exhibits are the portrait of Peter the Great, created during the lifetime of the emperor, the patchwork blanket made by Catherine I, the collection of porcelain vases from Japan and China, the paintings of Western European artists and a lot more.
According to Peter I’s plans Konstantinovsky Palace was supposed to surpass the famous French Versailles. But due to the circumstances the construction stopped for forty years. It was used as wine storage.
At the end of the 18th century the new owner of Strelna, Prince Constantine Pavlovich immediately resumed the construction, which resulted in the finished silhouette and modern look.
After the death of Constantine Pavlovich the estate passed to his namesake, Constantine Nikolaevich, the son of the Emperor Nicholas I. After the revolution all the valuables: books, papers, the rich collection of paintings and ceramics, personal belongings of the imperial family, were taken away. Some of them settled in museums, the others were lost. The residence was occupied by a school - colony. During the Second World War, the palace and park ensemble of Strelna was virtually destroyed. For many years the palace and the park remained in ruins. But after the decades of neglect the once beautiful suburban residence was remembered of. By the 300th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg the palace and park ensemble of Strelna were completely restored.