The Tsarina's Pavilion 1842-1844, architect A.I. Stackenschneider

Olga's Pavilion 1846-1848, architect A.I. Stackenschneider

The Tsarina's Pavilion, was built by the architect A. I. Stackenschneider, for the Empress Aleksandra Feodorovna, during the landscaping of the territory to the south of the Upper Garden. Then, by means of "art and labor", on the site of the vast Hunting swamps, the flowing pond was created with two islands, where the two pavilions were built, first Tsarina's and, later, Olga's. The first one of them, was designed by the architect in the, fashionable at the time, "Pompeian spirit." It had to create an image of the ancient Roman buildings, discovered during the excavations of Pompeii. Unlike the previous century constructions, it added "a romantic note in the architectural symphony of Peterhof." Aleksandra Feodorovna liked to rest here, from the tiresome court ceremonies.

The exotic ancient Roman names of the interiors - Exedra (the room with three niches), Atrium with a pool and a fountain, intended in Pompeian houses for recreation, Triclinium (the dining room), Oikos (the living room), literally force to dream about Italy and visiting of Pompeii. The authentic Pompeian mosaic, skillfully set in the floor of the Dining Room, is reminiscent of this legendary city. The furniture, lighting appliances and other decorations for the Tsarina's Pavilion, were produced according to ancient Roman and Greek models. The abundance of polished colored stone and marble of different shades, is one of the main features of the pavilion. The columns, fireplaces, mosaic floors and tables are made of this material.

The bright colorful drawings on the walls and ceilings of the pavilion, were created in the antique spirit. Even the service for breakfast and afternoon tea, is made in the style of ancient pottery found in Pompeii, and called "Etruscan". The fact that the pavilion is located on an island, is observable in the "Coral" teaservice, with its objects decorated with stylized branches of coral. The writing instruments in the Study of Aleksandra Feodorovna, are made in the technique of a red-figure vase art. The memory of the Empress is kept here, by the clock over the fireplace, the paperweight, the figurines, the books and two ancient, mysteriously shimmering twisted marble columns, decorated with Byzantine mosaic. They add to the Study an oriental colour, that used to remind the Empress of the Berlin festival in 1821, where she played the role of the oriental beauty Lalla-Rookh. Inside the Tsarina's Pavilion, there is a wonderful collection of small bronze sculpture, brought in the XIX century, from Germany and France, and includes not only the copies of antique originals, but also the original works of the masters of the XVIII-XIX centuries. Among them, there are Nymphs, Bacchaes, Cupids, Venuses, Disk-throwers, Apollos and Bathing ladies, glorifying the beauty, bliss and sensory pleasure.

The ambience of the Tsarina's Pavilion created for the Empress, Aleksandra Feodorovna, an intuitive world, so dear to her, that embodied her ideas of the ideal. It was the image of Italy - the country of dreams and desires.

Olga's Pavilion is a gift of Emperor Nicholas I to his daughter, the Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, for the day of her marriage with Prince Karl of Württemberg. The pavilion was built in the style of country villas on the Sicily island, where, in the capital city Palermo, the question of marriage of the Grand Duchess was decided.

The pavilion is represented by the two-storey tower, with a terrace and stairs leading down to the waterfront. Before, the boats, gondolas and ferries were mooring here. The smooth walls of the pavilion are vivified by bas-reliefs, balconies, niches with marble busts and the original rainwater discharges in the form of winged dragons. The tower, smooth winding paths planted along with strawberries; trees, bushes, lilacs, barberries, jasmine, lawns and flowers - the entire ensemble of the small Olga's Island, created an atmosphere of serenity and peace. The illusion of the Eden Garden, where a man can be in harmony with himself, was maintained by the peacocks, walking around the island.

The interior finish of Olga's pavilion is fairly restraint, but it is not deprived of elegance: simple stucco and painted ornaments, parquet floors and marble fireplaces. On the ground floor there is the Dining room, where the tsar family had their breakfast and afternoon tea, where they drank coffee and "ate tea." The Empress and Olga preferred coffee, while Nicholas I enjoyed tea more, and, according to Olga's memories, "... ate pickled cucumber with it sometimes". The round table, near the fireplace, is served with items from the dowry of Olga Nikolaevna. They are the bleached linen napkins, silverware, porcelain and silver dinner sets. The dowry with its lists occupying dozens of pages, сorresponded to the rank and dignity of the Russian Grand Duchess. Olga Nikolaevna was very beautiful, that is evidenced by her portrait, painted in Palermo, by the artist P. Orlov, in 1846. The paintings in the Dining room with the views of Italy are reminiscent of her happy days spent in Sicily.

The landscapes "Countries of dreams" decorate the Cabinet of Olga Nikolaevna, which was designed without redundant pomposity - the daughter of Nicholas I was brought up in Spartan simplicity. On the desktop of the Cabinet, there are writing accessories, including the mosaic paper-press with the depiction of the Sicilian emblem. On the separate table, the box for needlework. The tsar daughters were skilled in embroidery, in addition, they could play music and were taught drawing, singing, dancing and horseback riding.

On the second floor of the pavilion, there is the Cabinet of Nicholas I, designed even more humbly than the daughter's interiors, and adorned with the sculptural portrait of the emperor himself, work of Ivan Vitali. As well as engravings, depicting the cities of Italy, that the father of the Grand Duchess visited.

From the upper terrace of the pavilion, there is a beautiful view of Peterhof and its surroundings. From here you can see the Belvedere, resembling a Greek temple, and the five-domed Church of the Dignified Queen Alexandra, built on the Babigon Hill by the architect A. I. Stackenshneider on the order of Nicholas I, who considered Peterhof as his favorite place for summer holidays.