Catherine Palace

Alexander Zelikov / TASS
The palace and the nearby park were designed in the early 1770s for Empress Catherine the Great by a trio of great architects: Antonio Rinaldi, Karl Blank and Giacomo Quarenghi. The palace took 25 years to complete: it was reconstructed several times, interiors and facades underwent several transformations, and the Empress herself never had a chance to enjoy it. After Catherine's death, her son, Emperor Paul I announced that he disliked this place altogether, and turned the palace, which was a part of his inheritance, into military barracks. In 1812, Napoleon's army completed the palace's destruction.

At the end of 1830s, another great architect, Joseph Bové, set out to renovate the palace. After his work was completed, the palace was turned over to the military. At first it housed Moscow's cadet corps, later – the Alexeyevsky Military School, and in the Soviet times it was given over to the Military Academy of Armoured Troops. The palace park is now called Lefortovsky Park, and it is a quiet place for solitude, with lots of footpaths and a beautiful grotto.