In 1708, Peter the Great gave the estate to his wife, the future Empress Catherine I, as a present. She founded the Blagoveschensky (Annunciation) church there in 1724, and changed the name of the settlement to Blagoveschenskoye, but this did not stand the test of time and quickly went out of use.
It was Catherine I who started to develop the place as a royal country residence. Her daughter, Empress Elizabeth and her architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli were largely responsible for the building of the Catherine Palace. Later Empress Catherine II of Russia and her architect Charles Cameron extended the palace building that is now known as the Cameron Gallery. Currently, there are two imperial palaces: the baroque Catherine Palace with the adjacent Catherine Park and the neoclassical Alexander Palace with the adjacent Alexander Park. [photo credit]