The construction of the stone palace started in 1782 by Charles Cameron, who was one of the favorite architects of Catherine II. He was the great admirer of ancient architecture and works of the Italian architect of the 16th century Andrea Palladio.
Italian Villa on the hilltop
Based on these ideas, Cameron designed an Italian villa on the top of a natural hill in the river valley. The architect planned a modest three-storey building crowned with a flat cupola. Adjacent to the central building were semi-circular galleries which formed a wide parade ground.
The interior of the Imperial Palace
The interior decoration was supposed to be according to the fashion of that time. It has been preserved on the first floor- the Egyptian Vestibule, the White Dining Room, the Billiards Room, the Old Drawing Room. In 1796 Paul I became the Emperor and architect Cameron was dismissed.
V.Brenna was invited to complete the works and turned this country estate into the official Imperial residence. Brenna extended the palace and galleries, added the southern wing to accommodate the Church and the Throne Room, and decorated the interiors of the 2nd floor. In the early 19th century architect G.Quarenghi worked in the palace and created the Corner Drawing Room, some interiors for Maria Fedorovna on the 1st floor.
After the fire of 1803 architect A. Voronokhin took charge of the reconstruction of the palace. In 1822-24 architect C.Rossi participated in the interior decoration of the palace and added the wing for the Grand Palace Library.
A unique collection of Catherine II
The palace possesses a unique and comprehensive collection of furniture, bronzes, fabrics, glass, porcelain, paintings, and tapestries. Many of these priceless items were brought from Paul’s and Maria’s journey to Western Europe in 1781.
The Empress was noted for her exceptional talent for handicrafts. She embroidered, drew, and carved in stone and ivory. To this day the halls of the palace contain many works made by her hands. The Pavlovsk Palace is famous for its collection of antiquities. The largest part of it was purchased by Catherine II and later transferred to this palace.
The monument to Paul I
The monument to Paul I in front of the palace was unveiled in 1830 made by sculptor Vitali.