Peter the Great began building Kadriorg and its park in 1718 for his wife, Czarina Catherine, hence its Estonian name Kadriorg. At that time Estonia had become a province of Russia due to the Northern War. Located between the limestone hill Lasnamae and the sea, Kadriorg's baroque palace with nearly 100 hectares of fountains, cascades, canals, ponds and gardens was designed by Italian architect Niccolo Michetti in 1723.
The park has taken on a largely natural appearance. The beautifully restored palace houses the Art Museum of Estonia's department of foreign art.
The 18th century Pavilion is also part of the ensemble along with the Swan lake and auxiliary buildings: the guest house, guard station and former kitchen, which houses the Johannes Mikkel museum. Behind the Swan Lake is the monument to Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald, author of the Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg.
Behind the palace gardens is the residence of the president of Estonia, built in the 1930s. A walled garden connects the two buildings.
On the way from Kadriorg toward the Song Festival Grounds one encounters an attractive monument that bears the name Russalka; a figure of an angel points toward the spot where the armored Russian ship the Russalka sank in a 1893 storm. The 1902 monument was executed by Estonian sculptor Amandus Adamson (1855-1929).