Рус
Рус

1762-1774, architect A. Rinaldi

Among all the constructions of the Upper Park, the most impressive is the Sliding Hill Pavilion. Rising like a lighthouse, on the high coastal terrace, it is visible from far, from anywhere one looks. Its elegant silhouette emerges distinctly on the background of the sky. The Pavilion is part of what used to be, the vast amusement facilities of the Summer Sliding Hills, prototypes of the ice hills, that were created for the days of Spring festivities.

The complex of the Sliding Hill, consisted of the pavilion, sliding slopes and covered galleries-colonnades stretching for 532 meters. The coasting site was located at an altitude of 20 meters. The sophisticated engineering and technical construction of the Sliding Hill, had one straight and three wavy wooden ramps, with their height gradually decreasing and usually completed by inertia; as well as the three tracks: central - for sliding, and the side ones - for lifting of carriages. The coasting was happening on carved gilded carriages, specially designed by A. K. Nartov, in the form of "triumphal chariots, gondolas and saddled animals". The Sliding Hill was used until 1801, when it began to slowly disintegrate. Eventually, in 1813, the colonnades collapsed, and in the late 1850's, the ruins were dismantled.

From all the constructions, only the pavilion has preserved, with its laconic facades creating contrast with the elegance of the interior decoration. Each of the interiors is unique. The round hall is decorated with paintings, stucco and gilded works of Russian and Italian masters. The floor is faced with artificial marble of pale-blue, pink-blue and yellow-green tones. The ornament of the floor, echoes with the paintings on the walls and on the dome. An especially valuable piece of art is the Porcelain Cabinet, that accommodates the unique porcelain groups created specially for this interior, in the years 1772-1774, at the Meissen manufactory, by the sculptor I. I. Kandler. The porcelain pieces, represent allegorical narratives about life in Russia in the XVIII century, its glorious naval victories, and the rapid development of the economy, trade, science and art.

These interiors added to the pavilion, not only an entertaining but also, a representative function. After the completion of the Sliding Hill's construction, Catherine the Great held gala dinners and receptions here, including meetings with foreign ambassadors. For example, on July 28th, 1774, in Oranienbaum, there was a Supreme Privy Council, and on this occasion, a gala dinner was hosted in the Round Hall of the pavilion, which was attended by the Empress's entourage and foreign ambassadors. While on June 30th, 1777, there was a gala dinner given here in honor of the Swedish king, Gustav III.

During the Second World War, the Sliding Hill Pavilion was seriously damaged. Its restoration was done by the project of M. M. Plotnikov, who re-created the missing architectural components and the decor of the interiors. The former appearance of the artificial marble floors, unique in Russia, was returned. In 1959, the Sliding Coasting Hill Pavilion re-opened its doors to the visitors, as a History and Art Museum.

Nowadays the Sliding Hill Pavilion is closed for restoration and renovation.