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Екатерининский дворецЕкатерининский паркАлександровский дворецАлександровский парк

The Landscape Park

The landscape part of the Catherine Park begins immediately behind Cameron’s ensemble and extends between the Ramp Alley and the road that runs beneath the Caprice to the Vittolovo Pond, along the south side of the Great Pond and across the land to the west of it. The park has an area of 70 hectares.

The creation of the landscape park began in the 1760s, but the bulk of the work on it was carried out in the 1770s and 1780s during the reign of Catherine II. The original plan was implemented by the architect Vasily Neyelov, assisted by his two sons Ilya and Piotr and also by the master gardener Trifon Ilyin.

To enable him to create the landscape area of the Catherine Park Neyelov senior was sent to England where he studied the latest examples of the art of parks, the chief characteristic of which was the imitation of natural landscapes. An analysis of engraved depictions of English country estates shows that the creators of the landscape park at the Tsarskoye Selo residence were inspired by many of them.

But the main plan that the workers followed at Tsarskoye Selo was devised by John Bush. On the whole his project followed Neyelov’s, but one senses in it the hand of an experienced master of landscape design. In 1771 Bush was placed in charge of all work in the parks and he remained so until his departure from Russia in 1789. His son, Joseph Bush, continued the work in the parks until 1810.

During the creation of the landscape park many water courses were dug out, hills and hillocks were piled up and thousands of trees of different species were planted. The Great Pond became the centre of the park. Organically incorporated into the park’s picturesque landscapes were exotic pavilions in the form of ancient ruins, “Gothic” and “Turkish” edifices, “Chinese” summer-houses, all sorts of bridges and columns, created by a range of architects – Cameron, Quarenghi, all three Neyelovs, Rinaldi, and Velten, and also a whole and alscycle of monuments to Russian victories over the Ottoman Empire. But, as Dmitry Likhachev pointed out, “the ‘Turkish’ structures in the Tsarskoye Selo park were not connected only with the wars against Turkey. They are not so much celebrations of victories as … a stylistic characteristic of Romanticism – to make a garden exotic and varied in national flavour.”

By the end of the eighteenth century the Catherine Park had in the main acquired its final appearance. In the nineteenth century it was only enriched by a few pavilions and works of sculpture.

Panoramic view of Great Pond from Granite Pier in autumn 2009
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The Landscape Park
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