Oranienbaum is a Russian royal residence, located on the Bay of Finland west of St. Petersburg.
In 1707, four years after he founded Saint Petersburg, Peter the Great gave the grounds near the seaside to his right-hand man, Aleksandr Danilovich Menshikov. Menshikov commissioned the architects Giovanni Mario Fontana and Gottfried Shadel, who built his residence, the Grand Menshikov Palace from 1710 to 1727. The central part of the Palace is connected by two galleries with the two-domed Japanese and Church Pavilions. The Lower Garden, decorated with fountains and sculptures, and the Upper Garden were laid out at the same time. The Palace is located near the Lower Park, whose composite axis is a channel leading to the sea. This channel is an imitation of one designed by Peter himself at his nearby residence of Peterhof.
Menshikov was deposed shortly after Peter's death, and died in exile, and the palace passed out of his family. In 1743, Oranienbaum became the summer residence of Grand Duke Peter Fedorovitch, the heir of Empress Elizabeth (the future Emperor Peter III). Over the last ten years of Elizabeth's reign, Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli reconstructed the Grand Palace, adding beauty to its decor.
From 1756 to 1762, the architect A. Rinaldi built the Petrstadt Fortress ensemble on the bank of the Karost River for Grand Duke Peter Fedorovitch. In 1762 Empress Catherine II ordered the construction of the suburb residence called "My Own Countryside House". For that purpose Rinaldi built the Chinese Palace (1762-1768), a mix of Baroque architecture, Classicism and Chinese motives, the Katalnaya Gorka (roller coaster) Pavilion (1762-1774), a cupola pavilion, and the Gates of Honor with the tower crowned by a spire.
The Upper Park was laid out from 1750 to 1770.