And now for something a little different on this Valentine’s Day…
This is the historic Venus Pavilion on the Island of Love, located in the Park of the Imperial Residence, Gatchina, Russia.
One might not immediately think Russia to be a bastion of romantic love and classical architecture, but lo and behold, there exists a tiny shrine to the Roman Goddess of Love on a triangular island in White Lake outside of Saint Petersburg.
It is located on the grounds of the Great Gatchina Palace, a favorite former residence of the Russian Imperial Family.
Since the February Revolution of 1917, Gatchina Palace Park has been a museum and public park, with the exception of the Second World War years, when the Nazis took it over, looted it and caused great damage. It has been under restoration ever since and and received UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1990.
This relatively small structure was designed by Vincenzo Brenna. It was modelled on the pavilion found on Prince de Conde’s estate at Chantilly, France. During his tour of Europe, the Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich toured Prince Conde’s French estate and was so taken by the little pavilion, he ordered his own to be built in his favorite part of the Gatchina gardens.
In 1791, canals were dug out to make the island on which it stands, and another two years were spent building and decorating the pavilion.
Interestingly, it is made entirely of wood but was made to resemble a classical stone temple.
Let’s have a look inside…
The interior is rich and elegant with inlaid wood floors, fountains, wall paintings, antique mirrors, and a spectacular ceiling mural depicting The Triumph of Venus, painted by Johann Jacob Mettenleiter in 1797.
Such history! This stunning little place exists for no other reason than to be a place of reflection on romantic love.
The Venus Pavilion is accessed by boat so one must make a deliberate trip to the isolated shrine.
House Crazy Sarah is guessing many a love-struck Russian couples have made the pilgrimage there and left happily engaged, or even married!
From Russia With Love