Gatchina (Гатчина) — known as Trotsk (Троцк) from 1923 to 1929, and Krasnogvardeysk (Красногвардейск) from 1929 to 1944 — is a city in the Gatchina district (Гатчинский район) and Leningrad oblast (Ленинградская область) of the Russian Federation. During Tchaikovsky's lifetime it was part of Tsarskoye Selo district (Царскосельский уезд) in the Saint Petersburg province (Санкт-Петербургская губерния) of the Russian Empire.
Tchaikovsky in Gatchina
The royal palace at Gatchina was the preferred residence of the Emperor Alexander III, and Tchaikovsky was summoned here for a royal audience on 7/19 March 1884 to receive the Order of Saint Vladimir (4th class) that he had been awarded on 23 February/6 March. The previous year Tchaikovsky had written the Coronation March and cantata Moscow for the emperor's coronation festivities, and the Empress Mariya Fyodorovna had repeatedly expressed a wish to meet the composer. "Both were extremely affectionate and kind", he wrote afterwards. "I think that anyone who ever has occasion to meet the sovereign tête-à-tête will become forever his passionate admirer, for one cannot express how marvellously attractive are his bearing and whole manner. She [the Empress] is also charming" .