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The constraction of the Kadriorg Palace was started by the Tsar Peter the Great of Russia in 1718. It was named Kadriorg (in German Catharinenthal) in honour of his wife Catherine I. The palace was designed by the Italian architect Nicola Michetti and its abundantly decorated main hall is one of the most exquisite examples of baroque architecture both in Estonia and in northern Europe.
Kadriorg Palace has always been the crown jewel of Tallinn. The small festive tsars' palace in the style of Roman Baroque, surrounded by a regular garden, with fountains, hedges and flowerbeds, planned after the model of Versailles, was erected on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, according to the wishes of the Russian ruler Peter I.
Most of the Russian rulers visited the imperial summer residence. Great changes in the life and in the interior of the palace occurred in the fi rst half of the 19th century, when Tallinn, which had become a fashionable holiday resort, was often visited by Nicholas I and his family. The palace served as the main building of the Art Museum of Estonia in the 1920s, and again in 1946–1991. In the 1930s, it was the residence of the Head of State of the Estonian Republic. During that period, extensions to palace were added – the banquet hall and orangery; many rooms were redecorated.
In 2000, the palace was opened as the Kadriorg Art Museum, which displays the largest collection of old Russian and Western European art in Estonia.
On the orders of the Russian Tsar Peter I, the palace and park ensemble was established in Kadriorg. The architect of the palace was Nicola Michetti from Rome.
The two descendants of Peter I on the throne of Russia who visited the palace in the 18th century were the empresses Elizaveta Petrovna and Catherine II.
During the reign of Emperor Nicholas I, extensive reconstruction of the Kadriorg Palace and park ensemble took place. In the 19th century, the rulers' family members and courtiers came to Tallinn for summer holidays and spa treatments.
The palace was also used by the Civil Governors of Estonia.
The palace was seized by the Tallinn Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.
The palace belonged to the Republic of Estonia. The seaside wing housed the studio of the Estonian sculptor August Weizenberg; the halls of the palace were used for art exhibitions.
The Tallinn Museum of Estonia was located in the palace. In the year 1927, the museum, which had previously primarily housed ethnographic heritage from Estonia, was turned into the Art Museum of Estonia.
In connection with the visit of Gustaf V, King of Sweden, to Estonia in 1929, the palace was turned into the summer residence of the Head of State.
The palace became the official residence of Konstantin Päts, Head of State of the Republic of Estonia (architect A. Wladovsky). The building for the Office of the President was built in the upper garden of the palace (architect A. Kotli).
Kadriorg Palace was used as the residence of Karl-Siegmund Litzmann, Governor-General of the German civil government.
The palace served as the main building of the Art Museum of Estonia.
Extensive renovation and restoration work started in the palace, supported by the government of Sweden, within the framework of the project Österled.
22 July 2000
The grand opening of the Kadriorg Art Museum, a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia, dedicated to older Western European and Russian art.