Tsarskoye Selo

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Tsarskoye Selo (Царское Село in Russian, may be translated as “Tsar’s Village”), a former residence of the royal families and visiting nobility 24 km south of St. Petersburg. It was called Tsarskoye Selo after 1728. In 1918, it was renamed to Detskoye Selo (Children's Village) and in 1937 it was renamed again to the town of Pushkin, commemorating the 100th anniversary since the death of the greatest Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin.

Peter the Great gave Tsarskoye Selo to his wife — future Empress Catherine I of Russia — as a present in 1708. In the mid 18th century it became a royal country house. In the 18th to early 19th century they built palaces and created parks with different constructions. In the summertime, Tsarskoye Selo was a popular place of residence among the nobility. The guards regiments were also stationed here. There are two imperial palaces in Tsarskoye Selo: the Neoclassical Alexander Palace and the baroque Catherine Palace.

In the beginning of the 1770s, Catherine the Great founded the town of Sophia in the southern part of today’s Pushkin. In 1808, Sophia and Tsarskoye Selo merged and became one town. In 1811, the celebrated Lyceum was opened in Tsarskoye Selo. Aleksandr Pushkin was one of the famous students who attended this college in 1811–1817.

The first Russian railroad was built between Tsarskoye Selo and St. Petersburg in 1837. In the spring of 1917, Emperor Nicholas II was held under arrest in the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo. Tsarskoye Selo is also famous for its powerful government radio station that was set up here in 1917. On September 17, 1941 the Nazis occupied the town of Pushkin, ravaging and plundering many historical monuments, buildings and other cultural artifacts, including the famous Amber Room. The Soviets liberated the area on January 24, 1944. After the war, Tsarskoye Selo was reconstructed and one can still admire its beauty to this day.

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