The Paul's Mausoleum (original name Temple of Paul I or Monument to Paul I) was constructed in the New Sylvia park area which is an architectural dominant of this area.
Wishing to memorialize her lamented husband, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna decided to construct an architectural monument in his honor. A competition for the best project was launched and the French expatriate Thomas de Thomon has won.
The construction lasted from 1806 to 1810. The building was designed like an ancient Roman prostyle temple. The majestic sandstone building stands atop the granite podium with wide steps. Its four-columned portico supports the pediment with the inscription “To the Benevolent Husband” on the front side and “To Paul I, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias. Born on September 20, 1754. Deceased on March 11, 1801” on the back side. Weeping masks are depicted in the frieze.
Tall fir trees were planted around the Mausoleum, further emphasizing the mournful nature of the building. The central facade of the Mausoleum standing over the ravine is clearly visible from the central path of the New Sylvia, but it can only be approached along a narrow path, passing the cast iron mournful gates and going around the Mausoleum, thus experiencing the entire monument.
The emotional impact the Mausoleum has on a visitor is most clearly reflected by Vasily Zhukovsky in his elegy “Slavianka”.
The temple interior is opened through the lattice door gates. A marble cenotaph is installed near the wall opposite to the entrance; it is decorated by the relief depicting the orphaned and mourning family of Paul I; the figure of the kneeling mourner in a crown is depicted at the pedestal, personifying grief-stricken Maria Feodorovna, reaching to the funeral urn. Behind the monument, there is a granite pyramid crowned by the marble medallion with the portrait of Paul I. The memorial was sculpted by Ivan Martos in 1809.