Gatchina will definitely surprise you! The main attraction of Gatchina is its splendid grand palace, built from travertine for Grigory Orlov - Catherine II's favourite and later augmented by her son Paul, who spent a lot of time in Gatchina with his family, trying to be as far as he could from his reigning mother. The palace underground passage that leads to the secret exit to the park is excites both children and adults.
When Paul became an emperor, he ordered to build a Priory Palace, that looks more like a castle from fairy tales, for Maltese Knights and it was constructed in several months from local...clay according to the plan of genius architect Nicholay Lvov. Lvov and Paul thought that it would not stay longer than for 50 years, but it is still there, surviving the World War Two and neglect of the 1990s, with its clay walls gradually becoming stronger and stronger.
Parks of the Great Palace and Priory Palace are one of the most romantic places around St. Petersburg and the town itself has its own very special character that you will feed during the day trip to this wonderful place. Unlike other royal residences, Gatchina was more a merchant town and it still has several old streets with typical wooden houses of former merchants, painted in bright colours and built in various styles from classical to Art Nouveau.