The park’s history starts in the first half of the 18th century in Catherine I’s times when a regular park began to be laid out around her palace. In the second half of the 18th century, English-style landscape parks became en vogue. Besides that, such parks fully matched Catherine II’s personal taste, so the park was partly redesigned and extended but in compliance with the new trends.
Today the part of the park in front of the palace is the regular park also known as The Old Garden, which gradually turns to beautiful landscape English park.
Besides the Catherine Palace and the Cameron Gallery which adjoins it, the Catherine Park has the famous Hermitage pavilion, the Lower Bath and the Upper Bath, the Turkish Bath, the Grotto Pavilion, and the Admiralty Pavilion. The central part of the park is also decorated with exquisite marble statues.
Landscape ponds began to be constructed at the same time when the park was laid out. The site had no natural lakes or rivers. The whole pond system is all manmade, yet the Great pond looks perfectly authentic – as if it had always been there.
In the center of the Great pond is an island on which the Hall on the Island pavilion was built. In the 19th century a ferry was operated between the island and the jetty to bring Court guests to the Hall on the Island where music concerts were given. Next to the island is the Chesme Column built to commemorate Russia’s victory in the naval Battle of Chesme in the Russo-Turkish war.
Near the jetty is the most famous statue of the Catherine Park called Girl with a Jug. A bare-footed girl is sitting on a huge stone. Near her feet is a broken jug from which a thread of springwater flows. Following an unspoken tradition, the best of poets who lived in or visited Tsarskoe Selo dedicated their verses to the sad maiden as if competing to each other.