ST.-PETERBURG — страница 4

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in the country. Being a patron of national arts and sciences, she established the Russian Academy of Arts. It has to be mentioned that Elizabeth was a very lively woman: she preferred to skip work when possible and enjoy balls, receptions, masquerades, firework displays, and other things which were a lot of fun. Elizabeth's nephew Peter III did not rule for too long. Shortly after assuming power he was overthrown by his wife, a German princess, who soon became the famous Catherine the Great. Under her rule St. Petersburg turned into a "Grand City". Catherine the Great assumed power in 1762 after a coup d' etat, which she engineered together with officers of the Royal Guard. Unlike her husband, she was well loved by the country's elite and received a very good press in

Europe thanks to her contacts with many figures of the French Enlightenment. Catherine's court was extremely luxurious. She was the first to move into the newly built Winter Palace. Catherine started a royal art collection which later became the world-famous Hermitage. Several additional buildings (the Small Hermitage and the Old Hermitage) were commissioned for the growing royal collection of art. The Hermitage Theater was built and the area around the palace was put in order and built up with the finest houses and palaces. The most prominent embankments on the left bank of the Neva river were upgraded to their present red granite look and the marvelous wrought iron fence of the Summer Gardens was built by Yuri Felten in 1773-86. Under Catherine's patronage science, the arts and

trade flourished. New buildings for the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Fine Arts and the first Public Library (now the Russian National Library) were constructed and the large Gostiny Dvor trading complex was opened on Nevsky Prospect. Many educational institutions were established. In Tsarskoye Selo ( now Pushkin) several additions to the royal palace were built. One of these new wings (the Cameron Gallery) served as the living quarters for Catherine the Great herself. The lovely park which surrounds the palaces still bears the stamp of Catherine's lively and luxurious court. Among Catherine's many reforms was the reform of St. Petersburg local administration. In 1766 the position of gorodskoi golova (a mayor) was established. In 1774 a Magistrat (municipal council)

was formed, and in 1786 it was transformed into the city Duma. A monument to Catherine the Great was built in 1873 in a garden just off Nevsky Prospect (by the Public Library and the Alexandrinsky Theater. Thousands of people come to visit her tomb in the Peter and Paul Cathedral. When Catherine the Great died in 1796 a whole new period in Russian history started. Catherine's son Paul I introduced some ultra-conservative policies, curtailed the St Petersburg local administration and made several major steps towards turning Russia into a bureaucratic state. The worst fear in Paul's life was the fear of being assassinated. The palace and Park ensemble was constructed in the end of the XVIII c on the land, bestowed by Catherine the Great upon her son Pavel I a future emperor of

Russia. The Palece, construction of which was directed by such famous architects as Ch. Kameron, A. Voronikhin, K. Rossi - is not as magnificent and rich as the Catherine's Palace, but it is nevertheless very distinctive and interesting with it's interior, a picture gallery and one of the best landscape parks in Europe. Thanks to the plan of the creators of this park, you will sec here absolutely unique landscapes that will enable you to feel the beau-ty of the northern Russian nature.  Trying to hide from possible plots, he built a well-protected palace for himself - the Mikhailovsky Castle. However that did not help, and on March 12, 1801 Paul I was assassinated in the newly-built castle, in his own bedroom. Ironically, the coup was engineered by his son Alexander, who had

sworn to continue the policies of his grandmother - Catherine the Great. Upon assuming power Alexander I had introduced a series of reforms. A political reform brought to life a new structure of government: in 1802 Alexander approved a system of ministries with ministers reporting directly to the monarch; in 1810 - the State Council was formed. For better or for worse, bureaucracy flourished. Soon St. Petersburg became a very bureaucratic, ordered city and its traditional regular street layout and heavy policing just contributed to such an image. During the reign of Alexander I the Russian army successfully stopped Napoleon's invasion of Russia and drove the French army back to Paris (1812-14). The captured French banners were put in the newly built Kazan Cathedral, where the