Most visitors to the city pass through Strelna at such a rush that they remain unaware of the Konstantinovksy Palace and its parkland, the first of the out-of-town palaces lying to the west of the city, on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, and on the road to Peterhof.
Building of the palace was begun as early as Peter's day, but got its name from the second son of Tsar Paul, Konstantin Pavlovich at the end of the 18th century. The last royal occupant was Grand Duke Dmitry Konstantinovich who was executed in the St Peter and Paul Fortress in 1919. The palace and its grounds are today known as The Palace of Congresses, extensively renovated at the order of President Putin in 2003 to serve as the venue for the G8 meetings which took place there; staff will be happy to point out the cottages where Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi and other leaders were housed. The main palace building is today a luxury 5 star hotel.
Another site to visit in Strelna is Shuvalovka, a recreation of a traditional Russian village which has a restaurant and hotel and offers a number of entertainments throughout the year based on traditional Russian customs, such as Maslenitsa, midsummer and others. The best way to get a look at centuries-old folk traditions without leaving the city.
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