However despite these animosities - religious and political - the culture of the Ottomans always proved intriguing for the Western world, its monarchs, merchants and artists. Decorations and architecture "alla Turca", in the style of the Turks, graced the palaces of rulers throughout Europe - and the Tsars and Tsarinas, who after the reign of Peter considered themselves very much European, were no exceptions. Often the paintings and sculptures showed the Turks in a less than favourable light - the conquered followers of Islam in chains groveling at the feet of some mighty Ruler was a subject sure to win an aspiring artist his commission - but just as often they revealed the beauty of things "alla Turca".
|A short stroll from the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo is this lovely one room pavilion was originally meant as a folly when it was build during the reign of Tsarina Elizabeth. Catherine the Great had it remodelled and used it as her "office" conducting affairs of state while overlooking a pleasant prospect of lake and garden.|
|Now in the Hermitage this|
statue of Voltaire once held pride
of place in the Grotto Pavilion.
June 25 - 1678: Venetian Elena Cornaro Piscopia is the first woman awarded a doctorate of philosophy when she graduates from the University of Padua.