The Watch

Agate Pavilion

St. Petersburg, Tsarskoje Selo, Russia

1998 World Monuments Watch

It was all the rage in Europe in the late eighteenth century to recreate ancient Rome. Among the best examples of that neoclassicism was the Agate Pavilion, designed for Catherine II by Charles Cameron. The building, one of the finest creations of Imperial Russia, includes Roman-style thermae and relaxation rooms, all decorated by leading artisans of the time-Charlemagne, Hofert, Rudolf, and de Pedro. Although valuable interior flourishes were pillaged during World War II, many of the rooms are still embellished with paintings, stucco work, bronze bas-relief moldings and ornaments, multihued parquet floors, and colored marbles; walls are faced with faux marble and jasper. The pavilion has remained accessible to the public but the top floor has become too dangerous to keep open and severe water infiltration over the decades has damaged paintings and stucco work and nearly ruined the floors. After 50 years of neglect, substantial resources, skilled craftsmen, and rare materials are required to restore the valuable site

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