The King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia visited the Tsarskoye Selo palace today in the town of Pushkin, Leningrad region. Built in 1708, it became a country residence of Russian emperors. The distinguished guests were accompanied on their tour by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Alexei Kudrin, and the St.Petersburg Governor, Vladimir Yakovlev. The Swedish delegation was greeted by music as they entered the park, as musicians from the palace orchestra, dressed in the uniforms of life-guards from the hussars regiment of 1860s, played the Swedish national anthem and military marches. The guests were then guided around the palace's halls by Director of the Tsarkoye Selo State Museum-Reserve, Ivan Sautov. The king and queen were shown the Grand (Throne) Hall and the palace's parade grounds, which are currently undergoing restoration, as well as the Calavier's dining room, where the famous order-awarding ceremonies were held at the order of Empress Catherine II in 1780. The Swedish delegation was given breakfast in the Picture Hall of the palace, where they saw artwork from the 17-18th centuries. The St.Petersburg governor's press service told RIA Novosti that Vladimir Yakovlev had given the royal couple presents to remember their visit: the queen received a tea service, hand-made by two craftsmen at the Lomonosov china factory, while the king was given a selection of commemorative medals with the images of members of the Romanov dynasty. Mr. Sautov gave the queen an amber bow broach on behalf of the museum, while Carl XVI Gustaf received a water-colour collection of views of Tsarkoye Selo.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969