Peter I began building the palace in 1718, and it was called Ekaterinenthal, or Catherinenthal, in honour of Catherine I.
The architect of the temporary summer residence palace and park was the Italian Niccolo Michetti, who was later involved with the famous Peterhog Palace. It is said that the tsar himself laid the first foundation stones for the palace.
Currently, the baroque Kadriorg Palace is housing the foreign art collection of the Estonian Art Museum. The collection contains over more than 900 Western European and Russian paintings from 16th to 20th centuries, about 3,500 prints, over 3,000 sculptures and gems, and about 1,600 decorative arts objects (historic furniture, porcelain, glass etc.).
The museum organizes concerts and theatre performances, lectures and receptions, in addition to art exhibitions.
The upper flower garden, behind the palace, has been reconstructed in 18th-century style, and is open to visitors in the summer.