The city of Lomonosov (formerly Oranienbaum)
Lomonosov is the only town in the environs of Saint-Petersburg which during the War of 1941—45, even at the time of very heavy fighting, remained in the hands of the Soviet army. The palaces and parks of the town have thus preserved their initial aspect.
The emergence and development of Lomonosov (formerly Oranienbaum) is linked with the construction of a palace and park complex which was carried outduring the entire eighteenth century. This ensemble occupies the area of the Lower and Upper Parks and includes the Chinese Palace, the Picture House, the Palace of Peter III, and the Coasting Hill Pavilion. The earliest structure of the complex is the Great Palace whose foundation-stone was laid in the early eighteenth century. At the same time as the palace the laying out of the LowerGarden was begun.
The 1750s—70s saw the creation of the Upper Park and of several new palaces and pavilions designed by A. Rinaldi. His earlier projects in Oranienbaum include the main gates and the Palace of Peter III. The Chinese Palace and the Coasting Hill Pavilion, situated in the central part of the Upper Park, formed the ensemble of "Her Majesty's Private Dacha", a summer residence of Catherine II. The central building of the complex is the Chinese Palace (1762—68), whose name stems from the Chinoiserie decor in some of its interiors.
The Coasting Hill complex was created at about the same time and comprised a pavilion, hills and a columned gallery. Coasting was a summer amusement, largely modelled on tobogganing, a favourite Russian winter pastime.
In the mid-nineteenth century the wooden trestle supporting the hills and the columned gallery were dismantled. The only structure that has survived to the present day is the pavilion, a unique specimen of Russian architecture.
Before 1917 the palaces and parks of Oranienbaum served as the summer residence of the royal family. In 1918 they were nationalized and in 1922 converted into a museum zone. After the war, large-scale restoration work was conducted in the town following which its museums were again opened to visitors: in 1946, the Chinese Palace; in 1953, the Palace of Peter III and in 1959, the Coasting Hill Pavilion.