Enjoying the outskirts of the city is one of the highlights of every Saint Petersburg tours. And right there, somewhere on the way to the lovely Peterhof, you spot a Versailles-like building, a huge Chateau D’Eau bordered by the blue of the Finland Gulf. Located in nearby Strelna municipality, the magnificent structure is called the Konstantinovksy Palace (also knows as Konstantin Palace or Strelna Palace) and is one of the most exclusive St. Petersburg attractions.
Just so happens that this impressive edifice is the official residence of the Russian presidency, restored to its grandiose Peteresque origins for this particular purpose. The luxurious State Complex is where President Putin resides coming to St. Petersburg and where, like Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, the official gatherings take place. Most recently, the Konstantin Palace hosted the G8 Summit and the draw for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Until recently, the Konstantinovsky Palace was all but closed for visitors; it is still very much restricted as every visit requires a granted request and a rigorous control at the entry. One does not simply bump into the palace, but the beforehand planning is well worth it.
Few Russian travel agencies provide the access, but at Pradiz we are proud to be the official partner of the Palace in position to acquire the exclusive tour permission. But enough talk, join us in exploration of this fascinating building!
The Strelna Palace Then and Now
Glorious in beauty and grand in scope, its intention is clear from the initial glance; building the Palace, The First Russian Emperor Peter the Great sought to eclipse the shine of French court Chateaus. What particularly strikes the visitors is the organic blend of the complex and the surrounding landscape, the most notable being the imposing Finland Gulf. The central building is ordained by an intricate web of fountains, parks, canals, and rosaries, while its walls hide one of the most impressive art galleries in Russia this side of the Hermitage.
Throughout the glory days of the Russian Empire, the Konstantinovky served as a luxury ball and concert venue, welcoming the performances of such prominent figures as Tchaikovsky, Rubinstein, Rimsky-Korsakov, or Strauss. For more than a century it served the Grand Dukes of the House Romanovs and enjoyed its highly deserved reputation as one of the pinnacles of XVIII century architecture. But then the fateful 1917 came. After the Bolshevik Revolution the once eye-catching imperial palace fell into a complete neglect. The building saw number of uses since, none of which deserving of its delicate beauty. These changed – colony school, sanatorium, Nazi observation camp until the complex fell into private hands prior to sinking into oblivion.
But then the year 2003 came, and Strelna Palace restored its former beauty now as part of the spectacle for the St. Petersburg 300th anniversary. Not only that, it also received a status of ‘The National Congress Palace’ effectively becoming the Presidential Residency in the Peter the Great’s city.
Inside the Premises
The grandeur of the outer area zooms out as you enter the palace premises. The word splendor immediately springs to mind. Pacing the vast marble, sharply acoustic rooms, you are transported back to the time of the Empire, but always in the know that these exclusive halls host the most important diplomatic events in the world. The palace contains around 100 rooms, each with its distinctive air and decorative manner. The most exclusive among them are the Belvedere Hall and the Presidential floor interiors.
The Presidential floor interiors is a highly exclusive visit that only an official Palace partner can provide access to. Pradiz will be glad to arrange your visit there, always seeking to offer the most exclusive and complete service.
Equally impressive are the items found in these rooms. Centuries old furniture, decorative porcelain, and art glass are some of the more eye-catching of those. But probably the most significant is the vast collection of Russian art masters. The masterpieces of Rastopovich and Vishnevskaya hold a special place inside the Konstantin Palace, to name but a few.
Explore the Surrounding Parks of Konstantinovsky Palace
Built to impress, The Konstantinovsky Palace basks in the luscious greenery around it. Best displayed during spring and summer, take some time to marvel at its stunning 200 hectares of surrounding area. You’ll see lovely parks, beautiful fountains and, on the Petrovsky island, the astonishing draw bridges and canals. The island also contains Ceremonial Hall and Pavilion of Negotiations offering some of the most picturesque views of the palace. The surrounding is naturally ordained by the Finland Gulf, a body of Water that turns frozen during wintertime. An especially slightly scene!
Exploring the surrounding parks is part of a pre-confirmed excursion and lasts for 1.5 hours. If you’re planning to cover more ground, check with your Russian travel agency about renting a golf cart.
The Art of Wine Making
Wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts will appreciate the palace cellars where some of the best Tokaj wine is maturing. Booking in advance, you can schedule the palace pleasing activity of wine tasting, and learn more about winemaking and drinking culture. The cellars contain an array of diplomatic gifts from all over the world, including some exceptionally exclusive bottlings.
Scheduling a Visit
Aside from the marvelous sight of the frozen Gulf, the Konstantinovsky Palace is best visited during warmer parts of the year. That’s when the site’s splendor really open up – the parks, the fountains, the cascading ponds are more than worth the visit.
Being such an exclusive sight, visits are limited and have to be in accordance with the Presidential schedule. The security is also very tight, especially during a diplomatic visit. Available only by request, just let us know your preferred date and we’ll arrange for the Konstantinovsky Palace visit for you.