They should really have an episode of Strictly here.

When you consider what it takes to keep a floor clean spare a thought for the good staff who maintain the Grand Ballroom of Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin near St Petersburg, Russia. The ballroom is a laid wooden floor of the highest quality that it is not really suitable to have lots of visitors trample all over it. As the Palace is a very popular destination for tourists the staff have hit on a novel idea to maintain it. When you visit as you enter the room you are given a piece of card with a velcro hoop to slip onto your shoes.  On the underside is a floor polish rag and, as you glide across the beautiful floor the hundreds of visitors end up cleaning, and protecting the floor all at once. Whilst you may not need to go to that level of extreme there is a Gloucestershire Commercial Contract Flooring company that can deal with any needs you have. Pop along to and then lets have a look at this amazing example of a playground for the  Russian nobility.

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We all need a summer house and the Tsar’s of old Russia were just the same. This one, however,  was a bit bigger than something you’d get in B and Q. It was commissioned by Catherine I of Russia (not “the Great” one) as a place for the family to pop up to when Moscow became tiresome. However, it was her daughter, Empress Elizabeth, who really decided to go for it in the ostentatious stakes when she asked Bartolomo Rastrelli to knock her mother’s place down and start again with a bigger palace but this time in the more fashionable Rocco style. It took four years to put together and when it was presented to Elizabeth it is said to have caused shock and awe in the assembled dignitaries invited to it’s opening as they knew it must have cost a huge amount or roubles. As it was 325 metres long it’s unlikely that Rastrelli put a sheet over it so as not to spoil the surprise.

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The fact that it was so big and that clearly a lot of gold (100 kilograms worth so it is thought) and a load of marble statues had been added did rather give the game away. It was of the purest white and light baby blue colour in the outside. The inside is baroque and also covered in gold leaf. It annoyed the German army so much they trashed the insides and much of it over the years has had to be restored.

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