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Ekaterinskii Dvorets (Catherine Palace), St. Petersburg

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Contact: +7 812 465 5308
Open Hours: 10a-5p W-M, closed last Monday of each month
The stunning centrepiece of the imperial residence of Tsarskoe Selo . The blue, white and gold baroque facade is over 300 meters long and unsurprisingly dominates the surrounding estate. The original incarnation was designed in 1752 by Rastrelli (of Winter Palace fame) under guidance from Elizabeth I. As photographs on display inside show, the palace was utterly destroyed by invading German forces and work still goes on to repair the damage. However, a good deal of the palace is open to the public, including the glittering Great Hall and the Amber Room, the original contents of which are still being sought in Germany.