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Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna
The Grand Palace at Oranienbaum opened four newly restored rooms to the public today. This brings the total number of rooms open to visitors to fourteen.
Elena Kalnitskaya, CEO of the Peterhof Palace Museum Complex greeted visitors this morning with a brief welcome speech.
"Restoration at Oranienbaum can not be stopped, and I have no doubt that it will continue at a rapid pace," she said.
Five years ago the palace was in a terrible state of disrepair. The experts sounded the alarms and it was at this time that the palace administration decided to bring the palace back to life.
Reparing cracks in the walls, installing a new heating system, and re-planting the Lower Park were just a few of the problems that had to be addressed. The palace opened its doors last year to coincide with the 300th anniversary of Oranienbaum. Ten rooms had been restored and decorated with many original items from the Oranienbaum storage and archive facilities.
The four newly restored rooms focus on the private life of the Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna (wife of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich), nicknamed "the Freedom Princess" due to her support of the abolition of serfdom in Russia.
She lived at the Grand Palace for more than ten years. It was here that the former Princess of Wurttemberg, discussed such topics as Peasant Reform, her exhaustive charitable work, and the arts. Her palace was "cozy" and reflected the trends of the time. Visitors to the palace can now see her bedroom, decorated in pink, her favourite colour.
There are now plans for the restoration of the rooms of Princess Elizabeth Vorontsova, the mistress of Emperor Peter III.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 4 August, 2012