St Petersburg is such a fabulous city and everywhere you look there is gold.
On the buildings .. on the furniture ... on the paintings ... on the statues in fact almost everywhere you look
This photo is of Catherine Palace and it is in a place called Pushkin
To visit here you go through large ornate gates and on the way a Russian band was waiting to greet us.
It is reputed to have had over 100 kilograms of gold to cover the front and the domes of the palace
A lot of the palaces are painted in bright colors. Green, Pink, Blue, Orange and it gives a really pretty effect as you look around. This one is a kind of Sky Blue and White
The gardens in front are also beautiful and it would take you hours to walk around all of it.
When Catherine died this beautiful Palace was abandoned and it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times in its history
But let me take you inside to see some of the wealth that was around in Catherines day.
Everywhere you look there is grandeur and finery and it must have been a magnificent place to live.
You would need a map to get round it it's so big
They are wood burners and they are in many of the rooms ... several placed at intervals around the sides of the rooms as Russia gets very very cold
They are huge and the picture does not indicate their size ... but I bet it took a lot of wood to keep them going
The table was set with lovely ornaments and of course the gold is on them and on the chairs too.
The floors throughout the palace are gorgeous and a different pattern in each room.
Catherine Palace was well documented as it was built and it became invaluable when the whole building was intentionally destroyed during the war.
An empty shell was all that was left but a large amount of the restoration has been completed.
The Grand Hall has been used to hold concerts to attract funding and Elton John appeared there in 2001 to a private audience
This is the copy of the Amber room and the walls are covered in Amber and gold. It is beautiful and very ornate
During the war the original mysteriously disappeared and has never been found and so this copy has been painstakingly reproduced.
Here we could watch the craftsmen at work with the amber as they created pieces to fit this beautiful frame.
Amber is very light and is a fossilised tree resin that can be carved with really small tools.
The process of getting the different shades was explained and as we left we all received a piece of amber as a gift.
I hope you have enjoyed this trip to Russia with me and we have a few more stops along the way yet.
More tomorrow ...