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One of the most picturesque and at the same time intriguing suburbs of Saint-Petersburg is located 19 km from the city, just on the south shore of the Gulf of Finland. It owes its name to a small river Strelka which flows through these grounds. The history of this palatial complex dates back to the time of Peter the Great when the former Swedish mansion began to be used as the royal estate resting place where the Tsar and his court used to make stops on the way from Saint-Petersburg to the fortress Kronstadt and Oranienbaum.
Being inspired by the beauty of Strelina Myza ( the original name of this place), Peter the Great wanted to turn this plot of land into a state summer residence which grandeur and splendor would rival the best residences of European monarchs. Such prominent architects as Rastrelli the Senior, Zh.-B. Leblon and Nikola Miketti were involved in carrying out of this ambitious project. Among the submitted sketches Peter approved the one that was designed by Miketti. This high-flier was not chosen at random, he swore to create something that had never existed on the earth. The works on the construction of the palatial residence were carried out at a rapid pace for the whole year however the project was not completed due to the fact that the autocrat decided to switch his attention to the Peterhoff grounds which self-evidently had more advantageous location.
Half-forgotten summer residence was partly revived during the reign of Elizabeth, who being the devoted daughter strived to complete the plans of Peter the Great. However the acme of perfection it achieved at the end of the XVIII century and this new epoch is closely connected with the son of Emperor Paul–Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich. Although the palace was almost ruined, the new owner entrusted the reconstruction of the complex to the prominent Russian architect A.N. Voronikhin, who was to preserve the historical legacy of the past thus paying tribute to the personality of the great ancestor but at the same time to make this place habitable. In the course of time the Konstantinovsky palace was the residence of the Romanov family. Among them one needs to single out the persona of the famous poet and translator Grand Duke Konstantin Romanov (the grandson of Nicolas I) who initialled his works as “K.R.” The Konstantinovsky Palace was the place where the poetical talent of “K.R.” blossomed. Being infatuated with the enigma of these grounds, K.R wrote 16 verses which were later set to music and became popular romances.
After the October Revolution the former grand-ducal residence shared the destiny of the rest suburban palatial complexes. The grounds were nationalized, the personal belongings of the owners including unique objects of art and applied art, rare books and tapestries were dispersed among the different museums and the buildings on its territory were housed by the children labor school and sanatorium for people suffering from diverse mental illnesses. During the World War II the Nazi set up the observation post in Konstantinovsky palace and as a result of heavy bombardments and disastrous fire the former palatial complex was razed to the grounds and for decades it sank into oblivion.
The turn of the centuries appeared to be the turning point in the history of this palatial complex. In April, 2000 such prominent personae as Yuri Temirkanov, Mikhail Piotrovsky, Kirill Lavrov and many others being concerned about the deteriorating condition of this national treasury drew up a petition to Vladimir Putin. The adequate measures were carried out and in the year 2001 by the Decree of the Russian President the former Tsar’s residence gained the new status of the State Complex “Palace of Congress” that is meant to be used at present as a State residence, museum and business center. The foundation of the International Charitable Fund made it possible for the private companies to donate money for the repair and restoration work in the Konstantinovsky palace and park complex in Strelna
Despite all difficulties that appeared to be during the unprecedented restoration work, specialists managed to fulfill the task by the 300th anniversary of Saint-Petersburg, thus the dream of the founder of the Northern capital came true.