Oranienbaum is a Russian royal residence, located on the
Gulf of Finland west of Saint-Petersburg.
The Palace ensemble and the city centre are UNESCO World
In 1707, four years after he founded Saint-Petersburg,
Peter the Great gave the grounds near the seaside to his
right-hand man, Aleksandr Danilovich Menshikov. Menshikov
commissioned the architects Giovanni Maria Fontana and
Gottfried Schädel, who built his residence, the Grand
Menshikov Palace from 1710 to 1727 (not to be confused with
Menshikov Palace in Saint Petersburg, built by the same
architects around the same time). The central part of the
Palace is connected by two galleries with the two domed
Japanese and Church Pavilions. The Lower Garden, decorated
with fountains and sculptures, and the Upper Garden were
laid out at the same time. The Palace is located near the
Lower Park, whose composite axis is a channel leading to the
sea. This channel is an imitation of one designed by Peter
himself at his nearby residence of Peterhof Palace.
Menshikov was deposed shortly after Peter's death, and died
in exile, and the palace passed out of his family. In 1743,
Oranienbaum became the summer residence of Grand Duke Peter
Fedorovitch, the heir of Empress Elizabeth (the future
Emperor Peter III). Over the last ten years of Elizabeth's
reign, Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli reconstructed the
Grand Palace, adding beauty to its decor.
The Upper Park was laid out from 1750 to 1770.