In search of the lost golden age

grand_staircase_great_catherine_palace_small.jpgBy Clement Crisp [Financial Times, 20 March 2006]
It is still very cold in St Petersburg, but at the start of the Mariinskyís Ballet Festival the sun was brilliantly reflected on snow and on the amber and almond-green of those noble faÁades, and at Tsarskoe Selo the sky matched the vivid blue of Catherineís palace.