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Pavlovsk

Pavlovsk

Pavlovsk, city (1989 pop. 25,500), NW Russia, a summer resort near St. Petersburg. Founded by Catherine the Great in 1777, it was named for Czar Paul I, for whose country estate it was intended. In 1796 it became the royal summer residence, and in the 19th cent. it also served as a summer residence for the nobility of St. Petersburg. Pavlovsk contains English gardens, villas, mansions, a palace (1782-86) in the Russian classical style, several park pavilions (1780-83), the Pil tower (1795-97), and the mausoleum of Paul I (early 19th cent.). From 1838 until the Bolshevik Revolution, Pavlovsk was the scene of symphonic concerts conducted by Johann Strauss, Aleksandr Glazunov, and other famous musicians. Heavily damaged during World War II, the buildings at Pavlovsk have been largely reconstructed.

Pavlovsk (Па́вловск) is a town situated in Russia, 30 km from and under jurisdiction of Saint Petersburg, just to the south of Tsarskoye Selo. It is located at , with a population of 14,960 (2002 census). The town developed around the Pavlovsk Palace, one of the most splendid residences of the Russian imperial family. It is part of the World Heritage Site Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments.

The palace of Pavel I

The town's history started in 1777 when Catherine II granted some 362 desyatinas of land along the Slavyanka River to her son Paul upon the birth of his first child. The name Pavlovsk derives from Paul's name in Russian, Pavel.

In 1780, the fashionable Scottish architect Charles Cameron was made responsible for construction activities in Pavlovsk. His Neoclassical design for the Grand Palace was approved by Paul two years later. Around the palace a huge English park was laid out, with numerous temples, colonnades, bridges, and statues.

When Paul ascended the throne as Paul I in 1796, the settlement near the palace was large enough to be incorporated as a city. After Paul's death the palace was proclaimed a residence of his widow, Maria Feodorovna. Then it passed to the Konstantinovichi branch of the Romanov dynasty.

Later history

Prior to the revolution, Pavlovsk was a favourite summer retreat for well-to-do inhabitants of the Russian capital. The life of Pavlovsk's dachniki was described by Dostoyevsky in his novel The Idiot.

To facilitate transportation, the first railway in Russia was opened between St Petersburg and Pavlovsk on October 10, 1837. The railway station was used as a sort of concert hall, with Johann Strauss II, Franz Liszt, and Robert Schumann among many celebrities that performed there. The impressive 'Vauxhall Pavilion' is also used to attract customers to the railway line. Strauss' finer pieces resulted around the time he held his concerts there. The pavilion's fame eventually caused the word "Vokzal" to enter the Russian language with the meaning "substantial railway station building".

The Pavlovsk palace is probably the best preserved of Russian imperial residences outside the capital. The sumptuous neoclassical interior of the palace was faithfully restored after the great fire in 1803. The damage sustained by the palace during the German occupation in 1941–1943, though considerable, was not so devastating as in the case of Peterhof and Tsarskoye Selo.

Birthplace of Russian Scouting

On April 30, 1909 a young officer, Colonel Oleg Pantyukhov, organized the first Russian Scout troop Beaver (Бобр, Bobr) in Pavlovsk. In 1910, General Baden-Powell visited Nicholas II in Tsarskoye Selo and they had a very pleasant conversation, as the Tsar remembered it. In 1914, Pantyukhov established a society called Russian Scout (Русский Скаут, Russkiy Skaut). The first Russian Scout campfire was lit in the woods of Pavlovsk Park in Tsarskoye Selo. A Russian Scout song exists to remember this event.

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