The Catherine Palace, located in the town of Tsarskoye Selo near St Petersburg in Russia, was the summer residence of the Russian tsars.
The original palace was built in 1717 by Catherine I of Russia, but in 1752 it was demolish by Empress Elizabeth and replace it with a much grander building in Rococo style.
During Elizabeth’s lifetime, the palace was famous for its lavish exterior. Apparently more than 100 kilograms of gold were used to gild the stucco façade and numerous statues erected on the roof.
Another Catherine, Catherine the Great employed the Scottish architect Charles Cameron to refurbished part of the interior and to build her personal apartments. At the same time many remarkable structures were erected in the park like the Creaking Pagoda or the Marble Bridge.
When the German forces retreated after the siege of Leningrad, they had the palace intentionally destroyed, leaving only the hollow shell of the building behind. Before World War II, Russian archivists documented a fair amount of the contents, which proved of great importance in reconstructing the palace. Although the largest part of the reconstruction was completed in time for the tercentenary of St Petersburg in 2003, much work is still required to restore the palace to its former glory.