Pavlovsk is very close to the summer residence in Trarskoe Selo. And in Elizabeth’s reign the dense forest traversed by the meandering river Slavyanka became a favorite place for hunting. Two wooden houses were even built here with the comic-sounding names of Krik and Krak. The first was burned down in the war and the second completely rebuilt in the 19th century.
It is usually said that the nickname Krik (The Scream) got attached to the hunting lodge because Pavel Petrovich had been startled by someone’s scream once on that very spot, but we rather believe that Krik and Krak are just traditional German names given to garden buildings and hunting pavilions.
V. Korbatov, History of Pavlovsk
In 1777 Catherine the Great presented this land, about 1000 hectares in all, to her son Paul and his wife, Princess Maria of Wurttemberg. The present was to celebrate the birth of their firstborn, the future Emperor Alexander I.
Two two-story wooden houses were built, romantically named Paullust and Mariental by the German princess. Already in 1780, however, Charles Cameron, who created the gallery and Roman baths in Tsarskoe Selo, began building a Great Stone Palace in place of Paullust.
Cameron modelled his design on villas created by the great Italian Andrea Palladio. The three-story rectangular building is topped by a drum with 64 columns and a flattish dome. Semicircular galleries connect the palace with square auxiliary buildings to form a grand courtyard on the east. Inside the palace the walls running from east to west divide it into three enfilades.
Until 1775, Pavlovsk was a small village. The Empress Catherine II presented it to her son the Grand Duke Paul. After a trip abroad in 1780, Paul decided to build a palace in the style of country houses he had seen in other countries. A fire destroyed it in 1803 and it was rebuilt based on a new plan. The estate was named Pavlovsk and was given to the Empress Marie, wife of Paul, who embellished the palace and made it her favorite residence during the summer season. Pavlovsk is located 28 versts (7 miles) from St. Petersburg.The central enfilade protrudes slightly to the east and west. It contains the Grand Vestibule, the oval Italian Hall and the rectangular Greek Hall. The third of the palace facing north belonged to Paul and the south section to his wife, Grand Duchess Maria.
St Petersburg Guide, 1874
About thirty versts from the city, is the Pavlosky, a truly charming place; perhaps as much indebted to nature, as to art, for its various beauties. This was the late emperor's favourite summer residence, and is, in consequence, equally prized by his widow, who makes it her chief abode. This lady, who is of a cheerful disposition, here assembles around her all the beauty and fashion of the country. The grounds of the Pavlosky are very extensive, beautifully laid out and wooded, and with numerous walks, tastefully disposed. The flower-beds, however, appear to be singularly arranged, each species having a parterre to itself.
Travels through Russia, James Holman, 1834
When construction of the palace began, the heir apparent Paul and his wife set off on a long journey round Europe under the name of the “Northern Counts”. The pedantic former princess of Wurttemberg demanded that the architect should send her regular progress reports. In her replies she expressed wishes concerning rebuilding and alterations. This slowed things down considerably, and the touchy Cameron grew annoyed. When the travelers eventually returned to Russia, a new architect, Vincenzo Brenna, was summoned to Pavlovsk. Obedient and pliant, he soon became Paul’s favorite. Cameron was removed, and Brenna entrusted with decorating the now ready interiors.
Read more on the Pavlovsk Palace here.