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Gatchina(gä`chēnə), city (1989 pop. 80,000), NW European Russia. The city developed around the imperial palace (built 1766–81), which was used as a summer residence by Paul I in the 18th cent. and was a favorite residence of the Russian czars. The palace (now a museum) was looted and damaged by the Germans in World War II and has been partly restored. The Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute is in Gatchina.
a city in Leningrad Oblast, RSFSR. Railroad junction 45 km southwest of Leningrad on the Leningrad-Pskov line. Population, 63,000 (1970).
Gatchina was first mentioned in 1499 under the name of Khotchino as a Novgorod possession. Later, it belonged to Livonia and Sweden. After 1721 it was returned to Russia. In the 1720’s, Gatchina belonged to the sister of Peter I the Great, Natalia Alekseevna, and from the mid-1760’s it belonged to G. G. Orlov. In 1783 it was bought by Catherine II the Great, who made a gift of it to the heir apparent, Pavel. In 1796, Pavel I conferred on his residence the status of a city.
Gatchina includes an 18th-century palace and a park ensemble. The main building of the complex is a palace in early classical style (1766-81, designed by the architect A. Rinaldi, enlarged during 1793-97 by the architect V. F. Brenna, and rebuilt during 1845-51 by the architect R. I. Kuz’min). It is a three-story rectangular building with two pentahedral towers and two side structures. The interior of the palace was decorated by Russian masters between 1760 and 1790 from plans drawn up by the architects A. Rinaldi and V. F. Brenna. The Gatchina parks are picturesquely designed. (They are the Dvortsovy, the Prioratskii, and the Zverinets parks, with a total area of about 167 hectares.) The three parks have numerous bridges (including the Kammenyi and L’vinyi), terraces, and pavilions (Orel, Venera, Na Ostrove Liubvi, Ferma, and Ptichnik). There are also the Berezovie and Admiralteiskie gates and other structures, built at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century according to the plans of architects such as V. G. Brenna and A. D. Zakharov. The parks with their various structures are among the best examples of landscape architecture in Russia. The rammed-earth Prioratskii Palace, which is reminiscent of a medieval castle, was constructed using an unusual technique during 1798-99 by the architect N. A. L’vov. During the Great Patriotic War (1941-45) the palace and parks were destroyed. Immediately after the war their restoration was begun. Industrial enterprises in the town were rebuilt, including a plant producing equipment for cellulose-paper enterprises, a machine-building plant, and a furniture factory. Gatchina is the site of a proton synchrocyclotron. It also has a pedagogical school.
REFERENCESRuzov, L. V., and Iu. N. lablochkin. Gatchina. Leningrad, 1959.
Shvarts, V. Prigorody Leningrada. [Leningrad-Moscow, 1961.]