The “Turkish Bath” pavilion was erected on a small headland in the south-west part of the Great Pond between 1850 and 1852 on the orders of Emperor Nicholas I. It was the last structure to be built on the territory of the Catherine Park.
This pavilion, devised as a sort of memorial to the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29, was designed by the architect Ippolito Monighetti, who took as his model a Turkish mosque. The dome of the building was decorated with relief ornament, while the tall minaret crowned by a spire and crescent gave it a particularly picturesque appearance.
The interior rooms of the Turkish Bath were finished in the “Moresque” style. In its decoration they used white marble relief details, some dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, from the bathhouse of a Turkish sultana that had been brought back during the war from Rumelia (the territory of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans with Sofia as its centre).
The entrance to the vestibule that led to the changing-room was embellished by a richly ornamented portal. The lower part of the changing-room walls were faced with a coloured mosaic, while the upper part is decorated with moulding and ornamental painting. A cascade fountain was installed in a niche. The washing room is lit from above. Two basins with taps for hot and coldwater were set into its walls. A semicircular arch connected the washing room with the central domed hall that was particularly sumptuously decorated. Its chief adornment was a white marble pool with a painted and gilded fountain. The hall contained marble panels carved with verses that had been brought from Turkey. The Turkish Bath, constructed in the mid-nineteenth century, continued in its a way the previous century’s taste for “Moresque” style in architecture and clothing.
During the Second World War, the Turkish Bath was damaged by direct hits from shells. The facades of the building were reconstructed in 1953. A more thorough, exterior and interior restoration followed in 2006-2009 with financial support from the federal budget and the IBRD. The renewed pavilion offers the unforgettable décors and the furnishings composed from the museum collection items.