The environs of Leningrad with their palaces, parks and fountains are famousthroughout the world as outstanding landmarks of Russian national culture.Their history is inseparably connected with the history of the city itself, whichplayed such a great role in the destinies of our country. It was here, in Lenin-grad, that the first socialist revolution began its triumphant march in 1917; itwas Leningrad which, during, the Great Patriotic War of 1941—45 againstNazi Germany, withstood the 900-day siege and then routed the enemy fromits walls.
Shortly after the foundation of Petersburg, the construction of royal summer residencies was started in its suburbs. The eighteenth century saw the creation of Peterhof (Petrodvorets), Oranienbaum (Lomonosov), Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), Pavlovsk, and Gatchina. Taking part in the building of these suburban complexes were famous architects, sculptors, painters, and landscape designers whose ideas were implemented by a multitude of serf workmen brought here from all parts of Russia. The contribution of these anonymous folk craftsmen will forever remain in the grateful memory of posterity. After the October Revolution all suburban palaces and parks of great historic and artistic value have been taken into state custody. Some royal residencies were converted into museums, others into health resorts.
The health-resort zone of the Karelian Isthmus is well known not only for its sanatoria and rest-houses, but also for places connected with the revolutionary struggle of the Russian working class and its leader Lenin. These places are sacred to every Soviet man and woman. During the War of 1941—45 the environs of Leningrad, except Lomonosov, were temporarily occupied by the enemy, destroyed and burned.
After the war the splendid palace and park complexes around Leningrad have been resurrected from the ashes, and the sanatoria and rest-houses reconstructed. A large number of well-appointed towns and villages have been built.
RAZLIV AND ILYICHOVO
There are places around Leningrad which are especially dear to the Sovietpeople, places connected with the life and activity of Lenin, leader of the worldproletariat, founder of the Communist Party and the Soviet state.
The hamlet of Razliv is world famous. It was here that Lenin hid to escapearrest by agents of the counter-revolutionary Provisional government in July andAugust 1917.
In the beginning of July 1917 the Provisional government seized powerand launched a campaign of open terror against the Bolshevik Party and itsleader. The Central Committee of the Party resolved that Lenin should go intohiding. On July 10, 1917, he came to Razliv to stay with the family of NikolaiYemelyanov, a worker of the Sestroretsk factory. That summer the Yemelyanovswere repairing their house and lived in a shed. Lenin chose the hayloft as the safestplace. To remain for long at Razliv was fraught with danger, and in a few daysLenin was taken by Yemelyanov across the lake to a meadow where in a hutof branches and twigs, covered with hay, Lenin lived in the guise of a moweruntil August 8. In the thick underbrush close by a clearing was made, and twosections of tree-trunks brought over. One served as a writing-desk, the otheras a chair.
Here, in his «green study», Lenin began to write his book The Stateand Revolution and through his assistants directed the work of the 6thCongress of the Party which took the course of preparing an armed uprising.At the end of July, when the police stepped up its search for Lenin, the CentralCommittee arranged for him to leave for Finland. On his way to Helsingforsin August Lenin stayed briefly in the village of Yalkala (now Ilyichovo, nearZelenogorsk), in the house of the Finnish worker P. Parviainen. Today a me-morial museum has been opened here.
During the Great Patriotic War of 1941—45 the front line ran within a fewkilometers of the Hut. Soviet soldiers swore loyalty to the Motherland, andsoldiers and officers were decorated for bravery in action. At present the Leninmemorial places at Razliv and Ilyichovo are visited by hundreds of thousandsof people.
The palaces and parks of Petrodvorets, situated within 29 kilometers of Lenin-grad, constitute one of the most splendid suburban complexes of the eighteenthand nineteenth centuries. It was conceived as a triumphal monument to thevictory of the Russian army and navy in the Great Northern War of 1700—21,as a result of which Russia gained an outlet to the Baltic Sea.
The construction of Peterhof was begun in 1714. The site — hard by thevery waters of the Gulf — was chosen by Peter I. He also worked out the basiclayout of the parks. The architects J. Braunstein, A. Le Blond and N. Michettidesigned the regular Lower Park and the Upper Gardens, the canal, the UpperChambers, the Great Cascade, the Monplaisir and Marly Palaces, as well as thepavilions and fountains. The 22-kilometre long conduit system feeding the foun-tains was built by the hydraulic engineer V. Tuvolkov. It is a unique structurewith no water-towers or pumps whatsoever. In the 1730s—40s the architectsM. Zemtsov, I. Blanc and I. Davydov, the sculptors C. Rastrelli and K. Osneradded a new lustre to the decor of the gardens and fountains. In 1735, a fountainwith the sculpture Samson Tearing Open the Jaws of the Lion was installed infront of the Great Cascade. It was executed by C. Rastrelli to mark the 25thanniversary of the Battle at Poltava. In the mid-eighteenth century the architectB. Rastrelli rebuilt the Upper Chambers into a luxurious Great Palace. In thelate eighteenth century the sculptors M. Kozlovsky, F. Shchubin, F. Shchedrin,I. Martos, and I. Prokofyev decorated Peterhof with some of their finest creations.A complex of ten royal and princely residencies was formed around Peterhof.
After the October Revolution the royal palaces were converted into museums,while the residencies of the Grand Dukes and the nobility began to serve asrest-houses.
Razed to the ground by the Nazis in 1941—44, the palaces and parks of Petro-dvorets sparkle again in their original beauty. In 1973, the town was decoratedwith the order of the Sign of Honour for the tremendous restoration workcarried out by its inhabitants.
Lomonosov is the only town in the environs of Leningrad which during the Warof 1941—45, even at the time of very heavy fighting, remained in the handsof the Soviet army. The palaces and parks of the town have thus preservedtheir initial aspect.
The emergence and development of Lomonosov (formerly Oranienbaum) islinked with the construction of a palace and park complex which was carried outduring the entire eighteenth century.
This ensemble occupies the area of theLower and Upper Parks and includes the Chinese Palace, the Picture House, thePalace of Peter III, and the Coasting Hill Pavilion. The earliest structure ofthe complex is the Great Palace whose foundation-stone was laid in the earlyeighteenth century. At the same time as the palace the laying out of the LowerGarden was begun. The 1750s—70s saw the creation of the Upper Park andof several new palaces and pavilions designed by A. Rinaldi. His earlier projectsin Oranienbaum include the main gates and the Palace of Peter III. The ChinesePalace and the Coasting Hill Pavilion, situated in the central part of the UpperPark, formed the ensemble of «Her Majesty’s Private Dacha», a summer residenceof Catherine II. The central building of the complex is the Chinese Palace(1762—68), whose name stems from the Chinoiserie decor in some of its interiorsThe Coasting Hill complex was created at about the same time and compriseda pavilion, hills and a columned gallery. Coasting was a summer amusement,largely modelled on tobogganing, a favourite Russian winter pastime. In themid-nineteenth century the wooden trestle supporting the hills and the columnedgallery were dismantled. The only structure that has survived to the presentday is the pavilion, a unique specimen of Russian architecture. Before 1917 thepalaces and parks of Oranienbaum served as the summer residence of the royalfamily. In 1918 they were nationalized and in 1922 converted into a museumzone. After the war, large-scale restoration work was conducted in the town,following which its museums were again opened to visitors: in 1946, the ChinesePalace; in 1953, the Palace of Peter III and in 1959, the Coasting Hill Pavilion.
The palaces and parks of Pushkin (formerly Tsarskoye Selo) are situated within25 kilometers of Leningrad. The main landmarks of the town are the ensemblesof the Catherine, Alexander and Babolov parks. The construction of this royalresidence was begun in the 1710s—20s with the erection of two-story stonechambers and the laying out of a regular garden with terraces designed byJ. Braunstein and F. Verster. Later on S. Chevakinsky and A. Kvasov rebuiltthe chambers into a palace, increased its dimensions and erected a church.In the 1750s the architect B. Rastrelli reconstructed the palace by creating thedecor of its façades and interiors. He also designed a magnificent railing withgates, built the Hermitage and Grotto pavilions, replanned the Upper Gardens(now the regular part of the Alexander Park) and enlarged the Catherine Park.Active at Tsarskoye Selo from the late 1760s to the end of the eighteenth centurvwere the architects A. Rinaldi, V. Neyelov, Yu. Velten, Ch. Cameron, G. Quarenghi,and 1. Neyelov. The most noteworthy structures of this period include the ColdBaths, the Agate Pavilion, the Hanging Garden and the Cameron Gallery, theAlexander Palace (designed by G. Quarenghi), as well as monuments glorifyingRussian arms: the Morea Column, the Kagul Obelisk and the Orlov Gates(designed by A. Rinaldi). In the 1810s—20s the architects V. Stasov and A. Me-nelach lent the landscaped Alexander Park a new, romantic aspect.
In 1918, Tsarskoye Selo was renamed Detskoye Selo and in 1937 was given thename of Pushkin. Along with the palaces and parks of the eighteenth centurythere are several places in the town connected with the life of Alexander Pushkin.The great Russian poet studied at the Lyceum and wrote his first poems here.Restoration of the Pushkin ensembles is under way. The Catherine Palace is beingresurrected from the ashes. Its state halls and living apartments are alreadyopen to view.
The town of Pavlovsk lies within 27 kilometers of Leningrad. Its palace and parkcomplex ranks among the outstanding achievements of world art of the lateeighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The construction of the complex wasbegun in 1777, when Catherine II gave these lands to her son Paul, then heir ap-parent. The centrepiece of the Pavlovsk complex is the Great Palace, built in 1782—86by Ch. Cameron and then expanded and completed by V. Brenna. Later on thePalace was decorated and reconstructed by A. Voronikhin and C. Rossi. Ch. Ca-meron also designed and built the Temple to Friendship, the Apollo Colonnade,the Pavilion of the Three Graces, the Aviary, and more than ten other structures.Among those who were active here mention should be made of the architectsTh. de Thomon. G. Quarenghi, the sculptors I. Prokofyev, I. Martos, M. Kozlovsky,F. Gordeyev, V. Demuth-Malinovsky, the painters A. Martynov and G. Scotti,and the landscape designer P. Gonzago.
The Park, like the Palace, is the work of many architects. Skilfully using thelocal topography, grouping different species of trees and including in naturalvistas a number of decorative pavilions, they accentuated the natural beautyof the countryside. Embodied in the Pavlovsk landscapes are the finest featuresof Western European park design combined with a deep insight into the inimi-table, lyric aspect of Russian natural scenery. The Park stretching over an areaof 600 hectares consists of formal and landscaped sections. Its main partpasses imperceptibly into the picturesque valley of the Slavianka River.
After the October Revolution the former royal residencies at Pavlovsk wereconverted into museums.
During the War of 1941—45 Pavlovsk was occupied by the Nazis. They cutdown the Park, blew up its bridges and destroyed the pavilions. After the war theSoviet people restored Pavlovsk in all its magnificent splendour. The Pavlovskpalace and park complex is not only a great artistic landmark, it is also amemorial to the creative genius of the people who have resurrected it from theashes.
Gatchina is located 45 kilometersfrom Leningrad. Its spacious parks and numerous lakes, marked by austere northern beauty, belong to the finest examples oflandscape architecture of the second half of the eighteenth century.
The construction of the palace and park complex was begun in the mid — 1760s,when Catherine II granted Gatchina to Count G. Orlov. The Great Palace(shaped like a hunter’s castle) was built and the Park laid out according to thedesign of A. Rinaldi (1766—81). Erected in the Park were the Octagonal Well,the Echo Grotto, the Eagle Column, and the Chesme Obelisk dedicated to thevictory over the Turkish Fleet at the Bay of Chesme.
In the late eighteenth century Gatchina became the property of the future tsarPaul I. The architect V. Brenna partially reconstructed the Palace, changed thelayout of the Park and erected the Eagle Pavilion and the portal of theBirch-tree House. On the shore of the Black Lake the architect N. Lvov builtthe Prior’s Palace, a remarkable structure made of compressed clay. A. Zakharoverected the Farm and Aviary pavilions, along with several other structures.The palace and park had been completed by the early nineteenth century. At thistime its vast green area included the Palace Park (143 hectares), the Prior’sPark (180 hectares), the Menagerie (400 hectares), and Sylvia (20 hectares).The layout of the so-called Upper, Lower and His Majesty’s Private Gardensnear the Great Palace was redesigned in the formal style.
Badly damaged during the War of 1941—45, Gatchina has largely regainedits former beauty. The restoration of the Palace interiors is under way.
The artistic complex of Gatchina in which the monumental palace is well in-tegrated with the surrounding lakes and parks vividly reflects the aestheticprinciples of Russian Classicism.
THE KARELIAN ISTHMUS
The Karelian Isthmus is famous for its coniferous forests, blue lakes, seasideparks and golden beaches which extend along the entire northern coast of theGulf of Finland.
This part of the Leningrad Region is also connected with the names of manyoutstanding Russian writers, artists and scientists. In the first half of thenineteenth century the country house Priyutino (near Vsevolozhsk), owned by thefirst director of the Public Library in Petersburg, was often visited by A. Pushkinand V. Zhukovsky, the painters K. Briullov and O. Kiprensky. The Penates.Repin’s country house, played host to M. Gorky, V. Korolenko, S. Yesenin,V. Mayakovsky, the scientists D. Mendeleyev and V. Bekhterev. Today thesemansions serve as history and art museums. The hamlet of Koltushi, where thegreat physiologist I. Pavlov worked from 1923 until his death, is well knownthroughout the world. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941—45 the KarelianIsthmus was the scene of many heroic battles fought by the Soviet people againstthe Nazis. In memory of those who stood to the death by the walls of Leningrada number of monuments have been erected: the Lembolovo Stronghold, theSestra, the Rumbolovo Hill, the Katiusha (rocket-truck), and the Flower of Life.These memorials are incorporated in a large complex called The Green Belt ofGlory.
After the war the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland was made a healthresort zone. Dozens of sanatoria, boarding houses, rest-houses and kindergartenswere built here amidst very picturesque natural scenery. Thousands of peoplefrom Leningrad and other Soviet cities rest and undergo medical treatment inthese health resorts provided with the most up-to-date equipment.
The Karelian Isthmus is also a vast sporting ground. The traditional Kavgolo-vo Games — ski jumping, ski racing and biathlone — take place here every winter.In summers competitions in academic rowing are held on Lake Hepo-Jarvi,and motor-cycle races in the very rugged area at Jukki. The Karelian Isthmushas a great many attractions for rock-climbers, yachtsmen and tourists.