In the 17th century, the estate belonged to a Swedish noble. After Peter the Great conquered Ingermanland, he gave the estate to his wife, the future Empress Catherine I, who started to develop the place as a royal country residence. All the tsars that have followed have erected something in area, the most important building being the Catherine Palace and Alexander Palace. The Neoclassical Alexander Palace was commissioned in 1796 by Catherine the Great for her favorite grandson, the future Alexander I, on the occasion of his marriage.
Become tsar, Alexander I invited Adam Menelaws in the 1810s to redesign the surrounding park, named also Alexander's Park, starting with an old dilapidated menagerie, and to design a number of buildings in the Medieval Gothic style to bring out the romantic character of the park. The scottish architect designed and built 12 structures, including the Egyptian Gates and three park pavilions: the large Arsenal (1819-1834), the White Tower (1821-1827), and the Chapel (1825-1828; a folly providing living quarter to the palace chaplain).
Alexander I gave the palace and the park to his brother Nicholas, the future Nicholas I, who also leaned to eclecticism and medieval legacy, as would be evidenced later by his reign. The last Russian tsar Nicholas II lived in Alexander Palace to the very moment when he and his family were taken away to begin the fatal trip that concluded in Ekaterinburg. Gillard noted, "During daytime walks all the members of the family, excluding the Empress, were engaged in physical work: they cleaned paths in the park from snow, chopped ice for the cellar, cut dry branches or old trees, storing firewood for the future winter."
The Chapel in Alexander's Park is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments, about which I wrote here.
About the stamp
The stamp is part of a series of two, Invasive plants of Belarus, issued on July 25, 2014:
• Sosnowskyi’s hogweed / Heracleum sosnowskyi (N) - It's on the postcard 1419
• Canadian Goldenrod / Solidago canadensis (A)
Tsarskoye Selo - Wikipedia
Alexander Palace - Wikipedia
Pushkin (Tsarskoe Selo) - infoservices.com
The Palaces and Parks of Tsarskoye Selo - Pushkin town website
Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) - Petropol Tour website
Sender: Elizaveta / Elias_Lucas (postcrossing) BY-1510384
Sent from Minsk (Minsk / Belarus), on 16.01.2015
Printed in USSR in 1983