PHOTO: the Alexander Palace set against the backdrop of autumn colours
The first day of autumn officially arrives in Russia on 1st September. It seems only fitting that we celebrate one of the loveliest seasons of the year with these beautiful photos of the Alexander Palace and Park at Tsarskoye Selo.
Autumn is my favourite time of year to visit Russia. During a visit to St. Petersburg in October 2007, I decided to spend an entire week in Pushkin [Tsarskoye Selo].
Staying in Tsarskoye Selo was a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of St. Petersburg. I stayed at the Hotel Natali which is situated in the city’s historical district, with nice rooms, and a hearty breakfast included. The main reason I chose this hotel was that the Alexander Palace is literally at the top of the street!
The hotel’s location was ideal for visiting the Alexander and Catherine Palaces, but also the Alexander Park daily on foot at my own leisure. One day, I actually walked to Pavlovsk Palace, a distance of 7.3 km. [4.5 miles]!
The Alexander Park offers pathways leading to the parks numerous pavilions, as well as ponds and canals, which were often used during the summer months by Nicholas II and his children for boating.
Over the course of the past decade, numerous pavilions have been beautifully restored, including the Sovereign’s Martial Chamber, the Arsenal, the Chapelle, and the White Tower. The next restoration project in the Alexander Park will that of the Chinese Theatre.
The paths throughout the Alexander Park are now blanketed in beautiful red, yellow, gold
leaves that crunch under your footsteps. Cool autumn breeze blow through the trees spiriting loose leaves from their branches, allowing each one to dance in the air before falling gently to the ground, adding yet another element to the sprawling carpet of autumn colours. The setting is truly magical.
In addition, I had a wonderful opportunity to explore the town itself. While much of Pushkin was destroyed by the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), it still retains some beautiful architectural gems from the Tsarist period, including a number of palaces and churches – the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral is a must!
Numerous restaurants and cafes are within walking distance of the hotel, as well as a burgeoning souvenir market, where you can buy beautiful hand painted lacquer boxes, lace, and other items made by locals.
For any one planning a future visit to St. Petersburg, I highly recommend Tsarskoye Selo as an alternative place to stay. My autumn 2007 visit remains one of my most memorable visits to Russia, and it was the the season itself which enhanced the beauty of the Alexander Palace and the surrounding park.
NOTE: the first 15 interiors of the private apartments of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, situated in the eastern wing of the Alexander Palace, opened to the public on 14th August 2021. Since that date, nearly 17,000 people have visited the palace.
Click HERE to read my article Alexander Palace reopens for first time since 2015 + 30 colour photos and 2 videos, published on 13th August, 2021; and HERE to read my article First stage of Alexander Palace restoration cost $30 million published on 23rd August 2021 – PG
PHOTO: the Alexander Palace as it looked before the 2015-2021 restoration
PHOTO: view of the western wing of the Alexander Palace
PHOTO: one of the many paths in the Alexander Park carpeted with autumn leaves
PHOTO: memorial to the Russian Imperial Family, erected in the Alexander Park in 2007
PHOTO: the Children’s Island and House situated in the park near the Alexander Palace
PHOTO: the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral is a short walk through the Alexander Park
PHOTO: Russia’s first monument to Nicholas II was established in 1993, on the grounds of the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral
Click HERE to read my article Winter Views of the Alexander Palace and Park + 11 colour photos, published on 1st February 2021; Click HERE to read my article Summer Views of the Alexander Palace and Park + 10 colour photos, published on 29th July 2021
© Paul Gilbert. 14 September 2021