Monday, 15 July 2013
Departing Latvia 13 July 2013
So far, other than wandering about the streets, we have had tours of the Peter and Paul Fortress Island which includes the Peter and Paul cathedral and a still operating mint and saw various buildings of renown but no longer have much of an idea as to which is which especially all the ornate orthodox churches built to honour some Tsar or the other or success in some battle. too much too soon and too many Peters, Alexanders, Elizabeths and Catherines, generals, writers, philosophers etc. Great memorials and buildings though. Nice wide streets as it is a planned city (started 1703). Today we went to the Imperial Summer Palace at Pushkin, a little up-country from St Petersburg. It was started by Empress Elizabeth and extended by subsequent rulers; most notably by Catherine II usually known as Catherine the Great. It is ridiculously large and ornate but not original as it was extensively looted and damaged by the Germans during their seige of the city of St. Petersburg (then known as Leningrad). They occupied Pushkin at that time. So the palace has been largely reconstructed from the ruins and the work is still continuing. The grounds of the palace are extensive and include other buildings, parks, gardens and water features. The adjacent hunting forest is no longer there though. As we understand it, the primary purpose of this palace was to impress visitors from other powers of the period.
You can see a selection of our photos in our St Petersburg album. We have also added a few to the general Riga album.