Hardly anyone of my acquaintance has ever seen the
Kamennoostrovsky Palace from close quarters. Tourist access is impracticable
because the palace has been occupied by an Air Force health centre ever
since the Soviet times. Only occasional adventure tourists have dared to
trespass on its premises.
A couple of days ago I was told that the park gates were
thrown ajar. It seemed to be a rare opportunity not to be lost :)
As evident by its name, the palace is located on the
Stone (Kamennyi) Island, on the side opposite to the riverbank of
dilapidated mansions and villas.
The gates which permitted our entrance to the park are
situated right behind the church of St John the Baptist (the red one,
with a turret).
Having been laid out in a gridiron
pattern in 1782, the palace park was subsequently redesigned by the
architect Thomas de Thomon and by the master gardener Feodor Lyamin
conforming to the latest fashion of natural gardening.
I'm not certain
if the original trees and park area have been preserved intact.
Let's approach the palace along the
The Stone Island Palace had been erected
from 1776 to 1781. Building activity was temporary suspended due to the
heavy flooding in 1777.
Construction works were supervised by Georg
von Velten and (after the inundation) by Giacomo Quarenghi. It's not
clear who authored the original design.
The palace was commissioned by Catherine
II for her son and heir, Pavel Petrovich. The Empress had granted the
whole island to the tsesarevich as early as 1765.
Pavel Petrovich was the future Emperor Paul. After his death the
palace was reconstructed by Vasiliy P. Stasov.
This sculpture seems to date back to the
There are three or four similar gates
around the palace, all designed by Georg von Velten.
These ones lead to the Malaya Nevka.
This is how the palace looks from the
...from the Malaya Nevka (rather, from
the spit of Kamennyi Island).
A view from the spit.
A small sandy
beach where somebody was sunbathing at that moment.
...a view in the opposite direction
...a view looking forward - at the TV
The Bolshaya Nevka gates are set apart
from other structures.
The same gates, from another direction.
The gates used to lead to a narrow floating bridge, set up in 1781 to
the right from the extant Ushakovsky Bridge.
The Military and Naval Academy on the
other bank of the river