former imperial palace, one of the first museums in the country was opened for the victorious popular masses" of the Russian Revolution. From 1918 to 1941, the Gatchina Palace and parks were open to public as a national museum.
In 1923–1929, the town was called Trotsk (?????) after Leon Trotsky. After Stalin became General Secretary of the Communist Party and Trotsky was exiled, the town was called Krasnogvardeysk (????????????????), or "Red Guard City" until 1944, when the original name was returned and the city has been called Gatchina ever since. During the German occupation, the city had the name Lindemannstadt after the Wehrmacht general Georg Lindemann.
The Nazi Germans looted much of the Gatchina palace collections of art, while occupying the palace for almost three years during the German-Soviet War (World War II). The Gatchina Palace and park was severely burnt, vandalized and destroyed by the retreating Germans. The extent of devastation was extraordinary, and initially was considered irreparable damage.
Restoration works continue over sixty years after the war, in order to restore some of the original handcrafted interiors of the Gatchina Palace. Some pieces of the art collection were recovered after WWII and returned to Gatchina. One section of the Gatchina Palace is partially completed and certain state rooms and the Arsenal Halls are now open to the public. Other areas of the Palace, including those of Tsar Alexander III, remain closed and unrestored.
In science, Gatchina is also renowned for being the site of the Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Science