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The CATHERINE PALACE St Petersburg Russia ~ Although the palace is popularly associated with Catherine II ("The Great"), she actually regarded its "whipped cream" architecture as old-fashioned. It was originally built in 1717 for Catherine I, the 2nd wife of Peter The Great, as her summer palace.

The CATHERINE PALACE St Petersburg Russia ~ Although the palace is popularly associated with Catherine II ("The Great"), she actually regarded its "whipped cream" architecture as old-fashioned. It was originally built in 1717 for Catherine I, the 2nd wife of Peter The Great, as her summer palace.

Place of Solitude  The name of the Hermitage Museum, in St. Petersburg, Russia, came from the French and it means the "place of solitude." This was true when it was the Tsar's private museum, but now it is filled with millions of visitors a year. There are some quiet, elegant corners in the museum, but you really have to seek them out.

Place of Solitude The name of the Hermitage Museum, in St. Petersburg, Russia, came from the French and it means the "place of solitude." This was true when it was the Tsar's private museum, but now it is filled with millions of visitors a year. There are some quiet, elegant corners in the museum, but you really have to seek them out.

THE ROMANOVS RESIDENCES ~ Amber Room of the residence of Empress Catherine II in Pushkin Tsarskoye Selo, the 18th century

THE ROMANOVS RESIDENCES ~ Amber Room of the residence of Empress Catherine II in Pushkin Tsarskoye Selo, the 18th century

The Amber Room, Catherine Palace, Russia consisted of thousands of panels of Baltic Amber set with diamonds and other precious gems backed with gold. The panels were stolen by the Nazis in WW2

The Amber Room, Catherine Palace, Russia consisted of thousands of panels of Baltic Amber set with diamonds and other precious gems backed with gold. The panels were stolen by the Nazis in WW2

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