Be In the Know

Be In the Know. Sign up to have DesignDestinations delivered right to your inbox, weekly.

The Grandeur of St. Petersburg, Russia


When I walked out of an elegant evening at the Catherine’s Palace in St. Peterburg, my instinctive thought was, “ No wonder the Russians revolted.  They were starving and their Czars lived like this!”




Yikes, the extravagance of this and the seriously over the top palaces we saw in Saint Petersburg, Russia, revealed a dynasty that apparently couldn’t get enough gold and gilt. Apparently they were trying to outdo the French.

We visited Catherine’s Palace after the regular admission was closed and not only meandered through the public rooms without the thousands of tourists who are there during the day and enjoyed a lovely concert in the grand ball room.


It was blindingly gorgeous. And so was Peterhof Palace. And what we saw of the Hermitage. We visited both of those during the normal tourist hours.  The gold and the gilt is not my style, but fascinating to see.  The clothing of the wealthy reflected this fascination with fancy stuff.


The glittering Amber Room, a copy of the original one, is famous world wide.  The original room, dismanteled during WW II to prevent the Germans from stealing, has been in the news lately because the hiding place may have been discovered.


The parks. The fountains. The ballrooms. The art. All so extravagant and grand.  I keep using the word extravagant.  How about lavish, excessive, ornate, elaborate, gaudy, garish or ostentatious?  You tell me.








What do you think?

Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    ann cabezas creed
    Sep 22, 2015 Reply

    Catherine’s palace is “beautiful” would love to visit. Thanks for the photos. Nothing like this in Costa Rica except one structure-the National Theatre in San Jose. It is a replica of Paris Opera House. The construction was funded by rich coffee barons in late 1800’s.

    ann cabezas creed

  2. posted by
    Barbara Rohwer
    Sep 22, 2015 Reply

    Your post brought back so many memories of last year and the adjectives you used were spot on! What we saw in the rural villages was in total contrast to the “gold and gilt” we also saw in the many palaces. Great post!

Leave a Reply