Pavlovsk was the summer residence of Emperor Paul I, son of Catherine II, and his wife Maria Feodorovna. It is one of the most romantic palace and park ensembles of the late 18th century in the style of a Palladian villa.
Its first constructor was the Catherine II's court architect, the Scotsman Charles Cameron. The palace was constructed and decorated by Italian architects and decorators Vincenzo Brenna, Giacomo Quarenghi, Pietro Gonzaga and Giovanni Battista Scotti, as well as Russian architect Andrey Voronikhin. Simple square palace building with columns is crowned by a flat dome surrounded by 64 columns. The semi-circle wings form the parade grounds with the statue of Paul I in its center. The Italian hall is located below the dome with its antique statuary, a true masterpiece of Neoclassicism. It is surrounded by grand enfilades of male and female quarters. The premium works of art are located in the richly decorated halls; they were bought or commissioned by the owners of Pavlovsk or received as gifts from European monarchs in 1781-1782. It was then when Paul I, then-Grand Duke Paul Petrovich, traveled to Europe with his wife under the name of Count and Countess Severny. The Palace collection has original works of Western European painting and sculpture, and a rare collection of antiques bought at the excavation sites in Italy. The works of decorative arts are the basis of the hall decoration. There are unique Sevres porcelain items, carpets of French Royal textile mills, bronzeware and furniture by famous French, English, German and Russian masters. Only in Pavlovsk, you may see unique ivory and amber crafts made by the wife of Paul I, Maria Feodorovna, who had artistic talents. The private apartments of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna are a striking example of architectural and decorative interior design of the early 19th century with their unique glass, porcelain, and hard stone items, as well as furniture by Russian masters.
Pavlovsk is the embodiment of harmony of nature and art. New sentimental and romantic tastes are reflected in the planning of the landscape park: thanks to its picturesque natural scenes along the banks of the Slavyanka river, as well as its Arcadian and classic pavilions, Pavlovsk is known as the most poetic park of the world, inviting to dreams and contemplation.