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Tuesday, 7 August 2012
Catherine the Great and Oranienbaum
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 4 minutes, 16 seconds
Topic: Oranienbaum

Video: highlights of the exhibition, plus magnificent footage of the interiors of the Chinese Palace and the ongoing restorations. 

Oranienbaum is hosting a new exhibition marking the events surrounding the ascension of Catherine the Great to the Russian throne in 1762.

It was at Oranienbaum that her husband, the Emperor Peter III reported a palace coup in which he was overthrown by his ambitious wife who went on to rule Russia until her death in 1796.

The exhibition is housed in the former kitchen building of the nearby Chinese Palace at Oranienbaum. The focus of the exhibit begins with Catherine's tumultuous relationship with her husband, and the events that unfolded which eventually opened the path to the Russian throne for her.

The exhibit also reflects on the August couple's love and interest in all things Chinese, perhaps one of the few things they actually shared. Peter sent envoys across Europe and to China in search of priceless 17th-century Chinese porcelain to add to his growing collection. The couple's passion for Chinese art eventually led to the construction of the Chinese Palace in 1757. 

It was not until 1768 that the palace was completed, but was to become a favourite of the widowed Empress.

The Chinese Palace is unique among the Imperial palaces as it remained unscathed by Revolution and war. An extensive restoration of the palace began some seven years ago and continues to this day. Last year, four of its seventeen rooms were reopened to the public. Work on the remaining thirteen rooms will continue, making it one of the most ambitious restoration projects in Russian history.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 7 August, 2012


   

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:09 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 8 August 2012 5:52 AM EDT
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