In mid-17th century, the area beyond the Moscow Gate along the road to Tsarskoe Selo was known as Frog Marsh. It was destined to go down in the history of Russian architecture. In 1766 Russia signed an important commercial treaty with England. Everything English became very fashionable in St. Petersburg. In 1770 the so-called English Club was set up for the chosen few.
Three years later Catherine the Great ordered from Josiah Wedgwood a large dinner service consisting of 925 items painted with 1,214 views of old England, such as Gothic ruins, castles and abbeys. Each item also bore a tiny green frog. It became known as the Green Frog Dinner Service.
Catherine decided to build a palace on Frog Marsh where she could rest on the way to her summer residence. The English dinner service was intended for this palace. The palace itself was named not after the location, but in honor of the Russian navy’s brilliant victory over the Turks in Chesme Bay in the Aegen.
The architect Yuri Velten was instructed to build it in old English style. He modelled it on Longford Castle and the castle at Inverary erected by Robert Morris and James Adam. In plan it is an equilateral triangle with circular towers on the corners and a massive tower with a crenellated parapet in the middle. All the walls are crenellated. The palace windows are pointed at the top, almost gothic. Nearby is an exquisite church. It resembles a flower with four petals facing the points of the compass. The numerous fine vertical bands create an impression of soaring movement. This is reinforced by the row of gothic arches under the roof, the pinnacles on the parapet and the spires, later destroyed, instead of domes. In 1836 the palace was turned into in a home for invalids from the Napoleonic war. Today it houses a research institute. A branch of the Central Naval Museum was opened in the church in 1977.