Coordinates: 59°35′N 30°08′E / 59.583°N 30.133°E / 59.583; 30.133
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Aerial view of the Gatchina Palace
Aerial view of the Gatchina Palace
Flag of Gatchina
Coat of arms of Gatchina
Location of Gatchina
Gatchina is located in Leningrad Oblast
Location of Gatchina
Gatchina is located in European Russia
Gatchina (European Russia)
Gatchina is located in Europe
Gatchina (Europe)
Coordinates: 59°35′N 30°08′E / 59.583°N 30.133°E / 59.583; 30.133
Federal subjectLeningrad Oblast[1]
Administrative districtGatchinsky District[1]
Settlement municipal formationGatchinskoye Settlement Municipal Formation[1]
First mentioned1499[2]
Town status since1796[2]
100 m (300 ft)
 • Total92,937
 • Estimate 
94,447 (+1.6%)
 • Rank184th in 2010
 • Capital ofGatchinsky District,[1] Gatchinskoye Settlement Municipal Formation[1]
 • Municipal districtGatchinsky Municipal District[5]
 • Urban settlementGatchinskoye Urban Settlement[5]
 • Capital ofGatchinsky Municipal District,[6] Gatchinskoye Urban Settlement[5]
Time zoneUTC+3 (MSK Edit this on Wikidata[7])
Postal code(s)[8]
188300-188310, 188319, 188399
Dialing code(s)+7 81371[9]
OKTMO ID41618101001
Town DayThird Saturday in September[10]

Gatchina (Russian: Га́тчина, IPA: [ˈɡatːɕɪnə]) is a town and the administrative center of Gatchinsky District in Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It lies 45 kilometers (28 mi) south-south-west of St. Petersburg, along the E95 highway which links Saint Petersburg and Pskov. Population: 92,937 (2010 Census);[3] 88,420 (2002 Census);[11] 79,714 (1989 Census).[12]

It was previously known as Khotchino,[2] Gatchina (until February 14, 1923),[13] Trotsk (until August 2, 1929),[14] and Krasnogvardeysk (until January 28, 1944).[14]

Gatchina, the largest town in Leningrad Oblast, is best known as the location of the Great Gatchina Palace, one of the main residences of the Russian Imperial Family during the 18th and 19th centuries. The historic center and Gatchina Palace are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site's "Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments".[15] Another popular tourist attraction in Gatchina is the Prioratsky Palace.

Gatchina has placed highly in quality-of-life rankings in Russia.[citation needed]


Early history[edit]

Gatchina was first documented in 1499 under the name Khotchino as a village in possession of the Novgorod Republic.[2] In the 17th century it was passed to Livonia and then to Sweden in a series of wars, until the early years of the Great Northern War at the turn of the 1700s when the area was returned to Russia.[2] In 1703, Gatchina found itself in the southern vicinity of the new Russian capital, Saint Petersburg, which was being constructed 45 kilometers (28 mi) north at the mouth of the Neva River. Despite technically still belonging to Swedish Ingria, in 1708, Gatchina was given by Peter the Great to his sister, Natalya Alexeyevna, and after her death in 1716 Peter founded an Imperial Hospital and Apothecary there.[16] In 1765, it became the property of Count Orlov.[2]

Imperial residence[edit]

18th century[edit]

Great Gatchina Palace.

In 1765, Catherine the Great, Empress of the Russian Empire, purchased Gatchina Manor from Prince Boris Kurakin, which featured the village and a small manor. Gatchina was gifted by Catherine to one of her favorites, Count Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov, who reportedly organized the assassination of Tsar Peter III three years earlier, resulting in her becoming empress. Between 1766 and 1788, Count Orlov built the massive Great Gatchina Palace in place of the original manor, with 600 rooms, an extensive English landscape park over 7 square kilometers (2.7 sq mi), with an adjacent zoo and a horse farm.[17] A triumphal arch was erected to a design by the architect of Gatchina Palace, Antonio Rinaldi, forming a monumental entrance. Upon Orlov's death in 1783, Gatchina Palace was bought by Catherine from his heirs, and gave it to her son Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich, the future Tsar Paul I.[2] During his ownership, Paul made alterations to the palace, but also began developing the village of Gatchina into a town using experience from his travels around Europe. After ascending to the throne, Paul granted Gatchina the status of Imperial City, an honorary designation for towns that possessed a royal palace. Gatchina Palace was expanded and altered numerous times by its subsequent imperial owners, with the addition of Rococo interiors designed by Rinaldi and Vincenzo Brenna, and executed by Italian stucco workers and Russian craftsmen.[18]

19th century[edit]

In 1854, a railroad connecting Gatchina and Saint Petersburg was opened, and the territory of Gatchina was expanded with several villages in the vicinity being incorporated into the city.[19] The following year Gatchina Palace came under the ownership of Tsar Alexander II, who used it as his second residence. Alexander built a hunting village south of Gatchina into a retreat where he and his guests could enjoy the unspoiled wilderness of northwestern Russia. Following the assassination of Alexander II in 1881, Gatchina Palace was passed to his shaken son, the new Tsar Alexander III, who was advised that he and his family would be safer in Gatchina as opposed to at the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. Alexander spent most of his life at Gatchina Palace, which became known as "The Citadel of Autocracy" after the Tsar's reactionary policies. Here he signed decrees, held diplomatic receptions, theatrical performances, masquerades and costumed balls, and other events and entertainment. Alexander III introduced some technological modernizations new to Russia at the Gatchina Palace, such as indoor heaters, electric lights, a telephone network, non-freezing water pipes and a modern sewage system. His son, the future Tsar Nicholas II and the last Russian Tsar, spent his youth in the Gatchina Palace, although he and his family would make Tsarskoye Selo his home. His mother, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, widow of Alexander III, was the patron of the city of Gatchina, the palace and its parks.

20th century[edit]

Gatchina was honored as the best-kept city of Russia at the 1900 World's Fair in Paris (Exposition Universelle). The quality of life, education, medical services, and public safety in Gatchina were recognized as the best, and it was recommended as an example for other cities in Russia. In 1910, one of the first airfields in Russia was established in Gatchina, with the city becoming one of the first centers of aviation and engine technology in Russia.[2] The pilot Pyotr Nesterov was trained at the Gatchina airfield and made his first long-distance flight from Gatchina to Kiev. Gatchina Palace remained one of the official imperial residences of Tsar Nicholas II, who was presiding over annual military parades and celebrations of the Imperial Russian Army garrisons, stationed in Gatchina until 1917.

World War I[edit]

During World War I, major medical hospitals in Gatchina were visited by the Tsar Nicholas II and Empress Maria Fyodorovna, the mother of Nicholas II, his wife the Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, as well as their daughters Grand Duchess Olga, Grand Duchess Tatiana, Grand Duchess Maria, and Grand Duchess Anastasia.

In March 1917, the Russian Empire collapsed upon the abdication of Nicholas II following the February Revolution, leading to a decline in Gatchina's importance as the town and its palace became state property of the Russian Provisional Government, who converted it to a museum.

Russian Civil War[edit]

Shortly afterwards, the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution and the outbreak of the Russian Civil War followed. It saw Gatchina loyal to the White Movement, and the palace was visited by President Alexander Kerensky of the deposed Russian Provisional Government on October 27, 1917. During Kerensky's visit, fighting broke out in Gatchina between detachments of the Red Guards and Cossack units of General Pyotr Krasnov. The Reds won the battle, which had avoided the palace, and on November 1, they held a rally outside the palace in the main square, where Pavel Dybenko encouraged the Cossack units stationed in the palace to surrender and not to oppose the Red authorities. Kerensky left Gatchina Palace that night, and it was occupied by Red troops the following day.


In May 1918, the museum was re-opened by the Reds "for the victorious popular masses of the Russian Revolution" in Gatchina.[20] From 1918 to 1941, the Gatchina Palace and parks were open to public as a national museum. On February 14, 1923, Gatchina was renamed Trotsk (Russian: Троцк) by the new Soviet authorities, after Leon Trotsky.[13] After Joseph Stalin became General Secretary of the Russian Communist Party (b), Trotsky was gradually exiled (and later killed on Stalin's orders), and the town was renamed Krasnogvardeysk (Красногварде́йск, Red Guard City) on August 2, 1929.[14]

World War 2[edit]

Damaged Saint Paul Cathedral in Gatchina during German occupation; the visible weariness is due to both heavy fighting and neglect showed by the Soviet government in the preceding decades

Gatchina was occupied by Nazi Germany from Saturday, September 13, 1941, following the German invasion of Russia during World War II. The Germans renamed the town Lindemannstadt, in honor of the Wehrmacht general Georg Lindemann, and looted much of the Gatchina Palace for its collections of art. On January 26, 1944, the Germans abandoned Lindemannstadt during their retreat, setting fire to Gatchina Palace and vandalizing much of the park. The town was quickly retaken by the Red Army, and two days later it was renamed back to its original pre-Soviet name, Gatchina.[21][14]


After the war, Gatchina was rebuilt to Soviet standards, and became home to the Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics. The extent of the Gatchina Palace's devastation was extraordinary, and initially was considered irreparable damage. Restoration works continued for over 60 years, and some pieces of the art collection were recovered from safe keeping and returned to Gatchina. Today, one section of the Gatchina Palace is partially completed and certain state rooms and the Arsenal Halls are now open to the public. Other areas of the palace, including those of Tsar Alexander III, remain closed and unrestored.

In 1990, shortly before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Gatchina Palace and surviving buildings in Gatchina's historic center became UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as part of the wider Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments.[22] In 1999, Gatchina was awarded in the Most Comfortable City of Russia, a quality of life competition for Russian towns and cities, being ranked first in Category III, the category for cities with a population of under 100,000. In 2010, Gatchina's status as an Historical city of Russia was revoked.

Panorama of the view from the piers at Gatchina Palace Park.


The town has notably been known under various names during its history. As common with larger urban areas under the Soviet Union, Gatchina was renamed to reflect the changed ideals of the government. This first came in honouring Leon Trotsky. However, with the feud between Trotsky and Stalin at a high this name was to become problematic. Thus, the city was renamed again in honour of the Soviet troops. Unlike other regions that underwent this process, Gatchina has a more complex history leading to multiple variations.

Name Period Named For Governing Power
Khotchino 1499–1700s Lust for authority or noble status Novgorod Republic
Sweden Swedish Empire
1700s–1917 Russia Tsardom of Russia
Russian Empire Russian Empire
1917 Provisional Government
Soviet Union Soviet Union
1917–1923 Soviet Union Soviet Union
Trotsk 1923–1929 Leon Trotsky
Krasnogvardeysk 1929–1941 "Red Guard" City
Lindemannstadt 1941–1944 Georg Lindemann Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Gatchina 1944– Variant spelling of historic "Khotchino" Soviet Union Soviet Union
Russia Russian Federation

Administrative and municipal divisions[edit]

Within the framework of administrative divisions, Gatchina serves as the administrative center of Gatchinsky District.[1] As an administrative division, it is incorporated within Gatchinsky District as Gatchinskoye Settlement Municipal Formation.[1] As a municipal division, Gatchinskoye Settlement Municipal Formation is incorporated within Gatchinsky Municipal District as Gatchinskoye Urban Settlement.[5]



In Gatchina, there are several enterprises related to timber industry, including a paper mill, and to food industry.[23]


Gatchina is an important railway node. One railway, running north to south, connects the Baltiysky railway station in St. Petersburg with Dno and Nevel. Within the town limits, suburban trains in this direction stop at the platform of Tatyanino and the station of Gatchina-Varshavskaya. Another railway, also from the Baltiysky railway station, arrives to Gatchina from the northwest and has two stops, Mariyenburg and Gatchina-Passazhirskaya-Baltiyskaya. Yet another railway runs south of the town center from east to west and connects Mga via Ulyanovka with Volosovo. The railway station on this line in Gatchina is Gatchina-Tovarnaya-Baltiyskaya.

The M20 Highway connecting St. Petersburg and Pskov, crosses Gatchina from north to south. South of Gatchina, it crosses the A120 Highway, which encircles St. Petersburg. A paved road connects Gatchina with Kingisepp via Volosovo. There are also local roads.

LiAZ-5256 on a Gatchina route


Gatchina is the site of the Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute.[24]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Gatchina is twinned with:[25][26][27]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Oblast Law #32-oz
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Энциклопедия Города России. Moscow: Большая Российская Энциклопедия. 2003. p. 104. ISBN 5-7107-7399-9.
  3. ^ a b Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1 [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года [2010 All-Russia Population Census] (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service.
  4. ^ "26. Численность постоянного населения Российской Федерации по муниципальным образованиям на 1 января 2018 года". Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Law #115-oz
  6. ^ Law #113-oz
  7. ^ "Об исчислении времени". Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). June 3, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  8. ^ Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (in Russian)
  9. ^ Гатчина и Гатчинский район Справочная информация (in Russian). Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  10. ^ Гатчина готовится к Дню города (in Russian). Администрация МО «Город Гатчина». Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  11. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек [Population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal Subjects, Districts, Urban Localities, Rural Localities—Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with Population of Over 3,000] (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian).
  12. ^ Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. 1989 – via Demoscope Weekly.
  13. ^ a b Гатчинский уезд (февраль 1923 г. - август 1927 г.) (in Russian). Система классификаторов исполнительных органов государственной власти Санкт-Петербурга. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d Троцкий район (август 1927 г. - август 1929 г.), Красногвардейский район (август 1929 г. - январь 1944 г.), Гатчинский район (январь 1944 г.) (in Russian). Система классификаторов исполнительных органов государственной власти Санкт-Петербурга. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  15. ^ UNESCO World Heritage Centre. "Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments". Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  16. ^ Peter the Great: His Life and World (Knopf, 1980) by Robert K. Massie, ISBN 0-394-50032-6 (also Wings Books, 1991, ISBN 0-517-06483-9)
  17. ^ photo
  18. ^ St. Petersburg: Architecture of the Tsars. Abbeville Press, 1996. ISBN 0-7892-0217-4
  19. ^ Suburbs of St.Petersburg : Gatchina Archived 17 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ (in Russian) Гатчинский дворец, годы испытаний
  21. ^ Max Schafer (2011), Jahrgang 1924, p. 44 ISBN 3-8423-1113-3
  22. ^ UNESCO World Heritage Centre. "Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments". Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  23. ^ Комитет экономики и инвестиций (in Russian). Гатчинский муниципальный район. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
  24. ^ "Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute. National Research Centre "Kurchatov Institute"". Archived from the original on November 4, 2015. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  25. ^ "Побратимы Гатчины и Гатчинского района". (in Russian). Gatchinsky District. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  26. ^ "Verkostot". (in Finnish). Espoo. Archived from the original on December 17, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  27. ^ "MINUTE OF MEETING OF COATBRIDGE AREA COMMITTEE" (PDF). North Lanarkshire Council. 23 June 1998. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2009.


  • Законодательное собрание Ленинградской области. Областной закон №32-оз от 15 июня 2010 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Ленинградской области и порядке его изменения», в ред. Областного закона №23-оз от 8 мая 2014 г. «Об объединении муниципальных образований "Приморское городское поселение" Выборгского района Ленинградской области и "Глебычевское сельское поселение" Выборгского района Ленинградской области и о внесении изменений в отдельные Областные законы». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Вести", №112, 23 июня 2010 г. (Legislative Assembly of Leningrad Oblast. Oblast Law #32-oz of June 15, 2010 On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Leningrad Oblast and on the Procedures for Its Change, as amended by the Oblast Law #23-oz of May 8, 2014 On Merging the Municipal Formations of "Primorskoye Urban Settlement" in Vyborgsky District of Leningrad Oblast and "Glebychevskoye Rural Settlement" in Vyborgsky District of Leningrad Oblast and on Amending Various Oblast Laws. Effective as of the day of the official publication.).
  • Законодательное собрание Ленинградской области. Областной закон №113-оз от 16 декабря 2004 г. «Об установлении границ и наделении соответствующим статусом муниципального образования Гатчинский муниципальный район и муниципальных образований в его составе», в ред. Областного закона №17-оз от 6 мая 2010 г «О внесении изменений в некоторые областные законы в связи с принятием федерального закона "О внесении изменений в отдельные законодательные акты Российской Федерации в связи с совершенствованием организации местного самоуправления"». Вступил в силу через 10 дней со дня официального опубликования (27 декабря 2004 г.). Опубликован: "Вести", №147, 17 декабря 2004 г. (Legislative Assembly of Leningrad Oblast. Oblast Law #113-oz of December 16, 2004 On Establishing the Borders of and Granting an Appropriate Status to the Municipal Formation of Gatchinsky Municipal District and to the Municipal Formations It Comprises, as amended by the Oblast Law #17-oz of May 6, 2010 On Amending Various Oblast Laws Due to the Adoption of the Federal Law "On Amending Various Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Due to the Improvement of the Organization of the Local Self-Government". Effective as of after 10 days from the day of the official publication (December 27, 2004).).
  • Законодательное собрание Ленинградской области. Областной закон №115-оз от 22 декабря 2004 г. «Об установлении границ и наделении статусом городского поселения муниципального образования город Гатчина в Гатчинском муниципальном районе», в ред. Областного закона №43-оз от 27 июня 2013 г. «О присоединении деревни Большая Загвоздка к городу Гатчина и о внесении изменений в некоторые Областные законы в сфере административно-территориального устройства Ленинградской области». Вступил в силу через 10 дней со дня официального опубликования (2 января 2005 г.). Опубликован: "Вести", №149, 23 декабря 2004 г. (Legislative Assembly of Leningrad Oblast. Oblast Law #115-oz of December 22, 2004 On Establishing the Borders of and Granting Urban Settlement Status to the Municipal Formation of the Town of Gatchina in Gatchinsky Municipal District, as amended by the Oblast Law #43-oz of June 27, 2013 On Merging the Village of Bolshaya Zagvozdka into the Town of Gatchina and on Amending Various Oblast Laws on the Subject of the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Leningrad Oblast. Effective as of after 10 days from the day of the official publication (January 2, 2005).).

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]