Gatchina – This is not just a district center in the Leningrad Region, and one of the imperial suburbs of St. Petersburg, in whose territory is the integral part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Big Gatchina Palace.
Since 2015, Gatchina has been the status of the city of Military Glory of Russia for courage and heroism, manifested during the Great Patriotic War. The population of 95 thousand people makes this city the largest settlement of the entire Leningrad region.
At the border of Gatchina, the Izhora River flows, in the city itself, with the exception of ponds in palace parks, there are no large water bodies.
The name of the city of Gatchchina occurred from the name of the village of Hotchino, known in this place in Novgorod annoying since the XV century. Later, these lands moved to the Swedish kingdom, and in Peter Great returned to Russia again.
Being just 40 km from the new imperial capital, Gatchina estate was presented to Catherine II Gregory Orlov. They were built the first palace, the first parks and hunting grounds were created – Menagerie. After the death of Orlov, all this was transmitted to Paul I, with whose name the Gatchina is associated so far.
In subsequent years, other Russian emperors lived here, including Nicholas I, Alexander II and Alexander III.
In imperial times, Gatchina often became the place of various innovations – Here, for the first time in Russia, electric lighting of streets appeared, the first military airfield and the school of pilots. In 1900, Gatchchina received the status of the most comfortable small town of the Empire.
After the revolution, the city was twice renamed, in Trotsky and then to Krasnogvardeysk, the historical name was returned after the liberation of the city in 1944. Gatchina Palace and the park were strongly injured in the years of occupation of 1941-44, restoration work continued until the end of the 80s of the last century.
In 1999, Gatchina again was recognized as the most comfortable city of Russia with a population of up to 100 thousand people.
Main landmark of Gatchina – The famous Big Gatchina Palace, built in the late XVIII century on the project Antonio Rinaldi. It was originally built for the favorite of Catherine II Count Orlova, and after his death, the son of the Empress, the future Emperor Paul I, passed.
His monument today stands in front of the facade of the palace in which he lived a lot of years. Under it, under the leadership, Vincenzo Brenna Palace was reconstructed, the adjacent gardens, in which the famous pavilions appeared.
The entrances to the park are decorated with birch, admiralty, zerin and Sylvian gates, named according to neighboring attractions, some of which have not been preserved.
Also draws attention to the Priorat Palace with an adjacent park, also known since the end of the XVIII century. It is unique in its own kind of construction associated with the history of the Maltese Order, whose master became Paul I.
A lot of other historical development objects have been preserved in Gatchina: the area of the Connyabl with the famous high obelisk, the building of the former stables, where the horses for servicing the palace, the ensemble of buildings of the hospital town, orphan institute.
In the city you can see well-preserved noble estates, giving an idea of the peculiarities of the Russian architecture of the XIX century.
The main temple of the city – This is the Cathedral of St. Peter, and besides him in Gatchina, there are other Orthodox churches, as well as the cult facilities of other denominations.
The climate of Gatchina is almost identical to Petersburg. Long winter with frequent thaws and rare severe frosts, and in the summer in the city is not too hot, often it is overcast and rainy. Transitional seasons (spring and autumn) are often tightened for a long time, and local residents will no longer surprise the new year without snow or cold early June.
Optimal time to visit Gatchina – From May to September, but in January-February it is not worth riding, because to frost weather it is worth adding a short light day.
Be sure to take with you (or clarify the hotel) umbrella, because the weather here is very changeable and the rain can pour out from the bucket almost at any time.
How to get to Gatchina
Gatchina is located in close proximity to St. Petersburg (just 35 km from the ring road) and most tourists first come to the airport and the Northern Capital Stations before you go to this city.
Traveling on a personal vehicle without taking into account the traffic jams takes no more than an hour from the center of Peter, but traffic on the roads in this direction can be quite intense, which is 2-3 times the expected time in the way.
Most of the route to Gatchina – The road of the first category and only a few kilometers from the city of E95, turns into an ordinary two-way road. In the city itself, the condition of the road leaves much to be desired, a lot of deep holes even on the central streets.
The most convenient type of transport for visiting Gatchina – railway. From the Baltic Station of St. Petersburg regularly (every 45-60 minutes) electric trains are sent in the direction of the meadow, where you can reach Gatchina Railway Station, located just minutes on foot to the palace. Time in the way – about an hour.
Twice a day (in the morning and evening), modern high-speed trains run «Martin», they are faster and comfortable than ordinary trains, but also the cost of a ticket to them above.
In the reach of Gatchina, some trains also stop at the station «Tatiano» – Many tourists from her will be more convenient to reach hotels located in the northern part of the city.
Also in Gatchina you can come on a city bus or minibus from the metro stations «Moscow» or «Avenue Veterans». Transport runs regularly, from early morning to late evening, with small intervals.
In the peak hours there is a high risk to get into a traffic jam on the road from the city and lose a lot of time, which is the main disadvantage compared to rail transport.
In Gatchina, cars will be happy and cars of any St. Petersburg taxi services will be happy, but it will be significantly more expensive, even if you drive in four.