The Summer Garden is bounded on the south by the Moika River. Here, on the site of the wooden Summer Palace of the Empress Yelizaveta Petrovna (Elisabett), the Mikhailovsky (Michael), or Engineers’ Castle had been built for Paul I. It was erected in accordance with ideas of the future owner and to the projects of V.I. Bazhenov and V.F.Brenna. The construction was going on for four years only and was completed in 1800. None of the four facades repeats the other in the architectural form, but at the same time they are united by the stone decoration. On the order of Paul I, who pressed on ending of the construction, stone for its decoration was taken from the unfinished third Isaac’s cathedral by A.Rinaldi and from the palace of Catherine II that was built at the farm Pella situated at a distance of 40 km to the East from Petersburg, on the left bank of the Neva.
Grey Serdobol Granite of the plinth and staircase contrasts in colo-ur with plasterd walls of the Mikhailovsky Castle, setting them off.
A socle floor of the Mikhailovsky Castle along the entire perimeter is faced with huge blocks of dark-grey fine-grained Serdobol Granite homogeneous in its texture. Rather thick light veins cutting the massive granite are observed in slabs of the socle of the eastern facade.
The stone decoration of the main, southern facade of the Mikhailovsky Castle is especially rich. The Ionic Order columns and pilasters here are cut out of pale-rosy Belogorsky (Tivdiya) Marble. The lower part of the portico is faced with rusticated slabs of grey Ruskeala Marble in which insertions of effective Juven Marble with distinct pattern of black-grey banding are put in. Ruskeala Marble was used also to line niches of the portico where marble statues were standing earlier. Of the same marble bases of the columns and pilasters and a cornice of the building are made. A balustrade of balconies were done of rosy Belogorsky Marble. A tympanum of the fronton bears the bas-relief “The Glory of Russia is recorded by History in its tables of commandments” carved by the sculptor P.Stadgi of yellowish-grey Revel Marble. Monumentality of the southern facade of the Castle is emphasized by a wide frieze of fine deep-crimson Shokhan Porphyry (Shoksha Quartzite).
The high relief adorning the pediment of the Mikhailovsky (Engineers') Castle is carved in the only one monolithic slab of Estonian marble. Pink stone used for the frieze is Shoksha Quartzite.
Flat obelisks with relief compositions of armour situated on both sides of the entrance to the courtyard of the Mikhailovsky Castle are cut off pale-rosy Belogorsky Marble. This entrance is adorned with a rich and massive inner colonnade made of rapakivi-granite. The colonnade can’t be seen from outside as it is concealed behind an oak gate. Of rapakivi-granite are there high staircases leading up to four entrances within the courtyard having an octagonal form.
In front of the Mikhailovsky Castle, in the middle of the former Connetable Square, the monument to Peter I had been put up. It was the first equestrian statue in Russia that in 1746 already was casted of bronze by the sculptor Carlo Rastrelli - a father of the well-known architect. The pedestal of the monument is faced with rosy and grey Belogorsky Marbles, Ruskeala and Serdodbola granites. More modest and simple architectural style is characteristic of the facade facing the Summer Garden. Ten pair columns of Belogosky rosy Marble buttress the open terrace. The high attic is decorated with marble statuary and bas-relieves. The stately staircase of Serdobol Granite is embellished with the statues of Flora and Heracles. For a long time these figures were represented by concrete copies of the marble Italian sculptures that stand in the garden at the Admiralty. Nowadays they are replaced by the bronze copies.
At the present time the building has been turned over to the Russian Museum. It is carefully restored inside and outside and opens gradually for visitors.
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