Meanwhile the city was experiencing
a short decline. For a short period (in the late 1720s) the royal court was moved back to Moscow.
Many of nobility members and merchants, forced by Peter the Great to move to St. Petersburg, now chose
to leave the city. The city was fully revived only when Peter's daughter Elizabeth became Empress
in 1741. Elizabethan St. Petersburg became a lively European capital and its population reached 150
Daughter of Peter the Great
During the reign of Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great, St. Petersburg finally became a true European
capital. At the beginning of this period fine buildings stood right next to ugly huts.
After 20 years of Elizabeth's reign, St. Petersburg and its suburbs could rival the most beautiful European cities.
The Imperial splendor of St. Petersburg was best reflected in the suburban royal residences.
Peter the Great's estate Peterhof was remodelled by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the architect of the Winter
Palace and the Smolny Cathedral. The Grand Palace and the Grand Cascade of Peterhof were decorated
with extreme luxury. That was typical for Elizabeth's time, since her court was big and overly expensive
for the country's purse. The Ekaterininsky (Catherine's) Palace in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), which
once used to belong to Peter the Great's wife Catherine, was now turned into a magnificent royal
residence with a vast and elaborate Baroque garden.