Pavlovsk Palace and Park: a single palace and park ensemble of the Neoclassicism of the late XVIII – early XIX century.
Pavlovsk Palace and Park: a single palace and park ensemble of the Neoclassicism of the late XVIII – early XIX century. The history of Pavlovsk ensemble begins with the founding of Pavlovsk in 1777. Originally it was the forest grounds where the royal hunts were held.
When the first humble wooden palaces Paullust and Marientahl were constructed, small gardens began to form around them, on the hilly banks of the Slavyanka river. Gazebos, bridges, ruins, and flower beds were typical for a Russian estate. The conversion of the forest to the park started with Charles Cameron, who created a plan of a new landscape park on the banks of the Slavyanka river, a linking artery of the park. It was the second part of the 18th century when the landscape parks became popular in Europe. This popularity began in England so these parks became known as English parks.
Working on Pavlovsk, Cameron develops the ideas and principles of this new landscape architecture for the first time. As the future park was a forest then, the works began with cutting the clearings. Charles Cameron created almost all the major park compositions: the Palace Area, the Slavyanka River Valley, the Menagerie and the White Birch. The large wide clearing that was converted to the Triple Lime Alley forms the Palace Area that is adjacent to the palace. Here, Cameron used the regular layout technique that is remarkably reflected in the Private Garden and the Aviary Pavilion plot. Later, architects Vincenzo Brenna, Andrey Voronikhin and Carlo Rossi will make their own additions to these areas, enriching them in general but never changing Cameron's plan.
In the 1790s, Vincenzo Brenna turns Pavlovsk into the Imperial residence and, along with the expansion of the palace, he pays great attention to the park, extending its boundaries as well. Near the palace, he creates the Great Circles that fit between the Triple Lime Alley and the Slavyanka River Valley seamlessly. Along the right bank of the Slavyanka river, he creates two new areas: the Old Sylvia (1795) and the New Sylvia (1800). The Old Sylvia, better known as the Twelve Paths, has a radial layout and is richly decorated with bronze statuary. The Kriek hunting cabin (lost), the first building of pre-Pavlovsk period, was located here too, as well as the Monument to Kind Parents constructed by Charles Cameron. The radial paths connect the Old Sylvia with the surrounding park. One of them leads to the Amphitheatre constructed on a high hill above the Slavyanka river. The stone Amphitheatre with the Green Amphitheatre laid down before it as well as the view on the Pill Tower (Vincenzo Brenna, 1795) opening from its platform became another scene in the landscape area of the Slavyanka River Valley.
The New Sylvia, with its regular layout, preserves the effect of a natural forest even better as its hall grounds and the corridors connecting them were cut in the midst of the forest. The Lands End Column was moved here, to the New Sylvia, and the Mausoleum of Benevolent Husband was constructed over the ravine. The New Sylvia is adjacent to the Slavyanka River Valley, smoothly transitioning to the White Birch. The last major creator of the Pavlovsk park landscape was the Italian decorator Pietro Gonzaga. Embracing the peculiar beauty of the Russian nature, Gonzaga managed to create the landscape compositions with the open view effect, using the techniques of theater and decorative art. This was especially clear in the White Birch and in the Parade Ground. While the Parade Ground was a newly planted park area, the White Birch was the result of the very complex decorator's work, mostly using tree cuttings to create the open views in the landscape, thus basically setting a milestone in the landscape art. In the cast area of the Great Star, Gonzaga created an exquisite romantic retreat: the Pond Valley with the New Shalet pavilion (lost) and the system of New Shalet ponds.
Pavlovsk park is located on both banks of the Slavyanka river and it ends with the Red Valley that is an extension of the Slavyanka River Valley and was decorated by Pietro Gonzaga. The Red Valley ensemble includes the Ruins and the Red Valley (Elizabeth) Pavilion, the romantic structures constructed by Cameron, as well as the New Sylvia Bridge and the Red Valley Bridge.
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