Chesmensky Palace - the Imperial travel Palace, created by order of Catherine II

It is created by the architect Yu. M. by Felten in Gothic revival style. Together with the Chesmenskaya Church, it was once a unique ensemble, facing the former Tsarskoye Selo road. Named after the Russian victory in the battle of Chesmе.

In 1774, on the 7th verst of the Tsarskoye Selo highway, Catherine II ordered to build a travel Palace to rest during trips to the summer residence. The construction of the Palace was entrusted to Yuri Felten. The construction of the Chesmensky Palace together with the Chesmensky Church (Church of John the Baptist) was completed by 1777.

The Empress often visited the Palace and celebrated the patronal feast of the neighboring temple there. The round hall on the second floor was used by St. George's Cavaliers for meetings with the Empress. Kutuzov, Suvorov and many others were awarded the main military order of Russia here.

There is a legend according to which, just when the Empress was passing the 7th verst of the highway, a messenger came to her, bringing news of the victory of Russia in the battle of Chesme. However, this development is unlikely. This is indicated by the fact that the first 9 years of its existence, the Palace was called Kekerikeksinsky from the Finnish name of the area. Chesmensky Palace became in 1780 on the day of the ten-year anniversary of the victory of Russia in the corresponding battle.

In 1796, Catherine died, and the Palace passed into the possession of Paul I. The latter preferred Gatchina to the Tsar's village, and therefore did not use the Palace for its intended purpose. Then the Emperor made an attempt to reclassify the Palace as an almshouse and hospital. However, the idea did not find application. In 1799, a special Commission found the Palace an inappropriate place "for the establishment of the infirmary of the order of Malta..."

The refusal was justified by the lack of water, although this decision is often explained by Paul's dislike of everything Catherine. As a result, the Palace was returned to the jurisdiction of the Court Department.

During the reign of Emperor Alexander I, it was used only twice, and then not for its intended purpose — as a country house for girls who studied at the Catherine Institute.

In 1830, the history of the Palace as an Imperial travel mansion ended — the building was transferred from the jurisdiction of the Court Department to the possession of the Committee for the wounded. An almshouse was opened in the former residence. Soon, in 1831, the almshouse changed proprietress. The Palace moved to a possession of the Military Department.

The work on rebuilding the Palace for the needs of the almshouse for disabled veterans of the Patriotic war of 1812 began. Two-storey wings were added to the towers. The winter Church was moved to the second floor and placed in the Round hall. Previously, the St. George Cavaliers met there. On June 23, 1832, in the presence of Emperor Nicholas I, the Church was consecrated.

In purpose of recreation and rehabilitation, a large medical Park was set up in front of the Palace on the site of a wild forest. The basis of the green zone was 500 birch trees planted in 1834. The old Gothic stone gate was demolished and replaced with a new one. On the side of the Moscow highway, the Park was fenced with a cast-iron fence.

4 years and 4 days after the consecration of the winter Church, Nicholas I solemnly opened the almshouse. Subsequently, it was named Nikolaevsky. Initially, the almshouse was designed for 400 places for enlisted men and 16 for officers. Later, to each wing two floors were added. The capacity of the guest house has naturally increased.

The almshouse was closed only in 1919, after which the first concentration camp in Soviet history was organized in the building called "Chesmenka". In the 1930s, the Palace was transferred to the Automobile Institute, and in 1941-to the Leningrad Institute of aircraft engineering. During the Great Patriotic War, the Palace and the Church were extremely damaged. In 1946, the Palace was restored (architect A.V. Koryagin).

The Palace now houses the State University of aerospace instrumentation.


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