Tsarskoye Selo

Tsarskoye Selo (Russian: Ца́рское Село́, IPA: [ˈtsarskəɪ sʲɪˈlo] (listen), "Tsar's Village") was the town containing a former residence of the Russian imperial family and visiting nobility, located 24 kilometers (15 mi) south from the center of Saint Petersburg.[1] The residence now forms part of the town of Pushkin. Tsarskoye Selo forms one of the World Heritage site Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments.

Catherine Palace and Park

The town bore the name Tsarskoe Selo until 1918, Detskoe Selo (Russian: Детское Село, lit.'Children's Village') betwen in the years 1918–1937, then Pushkin (Russian: Пушкин) from 1937 onwards.


The Alexander Palace, view of the corps de logis from the cour d'honneur

The area of Tsarskoye Selo, once part of Swedish Ingria, first became a Russian royal/imperial residence in the early 18th century as an estate of the Empress-consort Catherine (later Empress-regnant as Catherine I (r. 1725–1727), from whom the Catherine Palace takes its name.

The Alexander Palace (built from 1792 onwards) originated as the home of the Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich, who later became Emperor Alexander I (r. 1801–1825).

The Royal Forestry School, perhaps the first such school in Russia, was founded in Tsarskoye Selo in 1803; it was moved to Saint Petersburg in 1811, to become the Imperial Forestry Institute.[2]

Nickname for elite Soviet neighborhoods

In the Soviet Union the nickname "the Czar's village" came to apply to blocks and small neighborhoods that housed the nomenklatura (Soviet elites). Their stores were better stocked, although they were still affected by Soviet-era shortages. The buildings in the neighborhoods were better designed, constructed and maintained.[3] One such neighborhood, west of Moscow, contained less industry and more parks than any other neighborhood.[4]

Catherine Palace, the Amber Room



See also


  1. Jabado, Salwa; Fodor's (2008). Fodor's Moscow and St. Petersburg. New York: Random House. p. 292. ISBN 978-1-4000-0717-2.
  2. St. Petersburg Encyclopedia. Accessed: May 6, 2012.
  3. Compare: Gessen, Masha (2017). The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia. Granta Books. ISBN 9781783784011. Retrieved October 22, 2020. Under the Soviets [...] the name 'the Czars' Village' began attaching itself to blocks and small neighborhoods that housed the Soviet elites.
    The stores here were better stocked, even though they were affected by the shortages. The buildings were better designed and constructed.
  4. Masha Gessen, (2017). The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.

Further reading

  • King, Greg (2006). The Court of the Last Tsar (hardback). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-72763-7.