Visits of empresses

In the second half of the 18th century there was new life in the palace, in connection with the visits of two empresses – Yelizaveta Petrovna and Katherine II. The magnificent and festive visit to Kadriorg by Yelizaveta, the daughter of the founder of the palace, took place in July, 1746. By that time, the interior and decorations of the palace were finished. Rooms were furnished for the empress in the seaside wing of the building, originally designated for Peter I. The lavish and revelling empress spent more than a week in Tallinn. After that, the palace stood empty again until the 1764 visit of Katherine II, who had ascended to the throne as a result of a palace revolution in 1762. The palace was once again renovated and furnished, but most of the necessary furnishings were brought along from St. Petersburg or borrowed from Tallinn citizens.

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Yelizaveta Katherine II

Between the visits of the rulers, the palace was not in use, but neither did it stand completely empty. The palace complex was maintained by a castellan, or palace caretaker, who, in the 18th century, was usually an architect by profession and was in charge of maintenance as well as map drawing and construction of necessary buildings. From the completion of construction work until the rule of Nicholas I, four castellans-architects served in the palace: Jacques Broquet (appr. 1730–1751), Johann Georg Teichert (1752–1773), Johann Schultz (1773–1795) and Johan David Bantelmann (1795–1826). Their letters and drawings are the main source of the history of the palace, telling us of the life and worries in the palace in the sensible language of maps, plans and sums of money.

Throughout the 18th century, the palace kept its original appearance and function as the summer residence of Russian emperors, a wonderful symbol of the presence of authority in this relatively independent province by the Baltic Sea; figuratively speaking, it was a Baroque frame around the window to Europe created by Peter I.