Friday, 29 June 2018

Nicholas II at the Grotto in the Alexander Park, Tsarskoe Selo

A baroque hunting pavilion called Monbijou [My Jewel] was built in 1749 for Empress Elizabeth west of the Grand Palace in Tsarskoe Selo. By the 1780s hunting was transferred to Gatchina and the forested area gradually transformed into a landscape park. In 1819 Monbijou was dismantled and the following year architect A. Menelaus began construction of a Gothic pavilion. It was only in the late 1830s that the interiors were completed and became known as the Arsenal with its collection of weapons.

A short distance from the southwest tower of the Arsenal is a grotto with cold spring water.

Photographs (below) of the Arsenal and Grotto

Map (below) with the Arsenal #10 and Grotto

During his walks through the Alexander Park, Nicholas often took the route past the Arsenal. On Saturday May 12th 1907 he ‘looked over the Arsenal in the park’.

Photographs (below) of Nicholas II in the Grotto

A new book on the Arsenal by G. Arlyuk and V. Vekshin was published last year.


  1. Just Wonderful, as usual. Thanks!

  2. The spring water is delicious and cold!

    1. Joanna, thanks for this post, I got to drink from there too! Was wondering where you found these photo of Nicholas, I don't think I've ever seen them before!

    2. Helen, yesterday I saw your photo at the spring! The photos are in Anna Vyrubova's albums at Yale and recently in Nicholas' albums at GARF.

  3. I pay my respects and homage to HIM the Emperor Nikolai II and his family and all members of the dynasty murdered in 1918 and 1919, 19 in total. Eternal Glory to the martyrs and all those millions and millions murdered by Lenin and Stalin, including members of my own family.