Palaces, Saint Petersburg
Visit the so called Engineers Castle downtown. The castle is located in the southeastern corner of the Field of Mars at 2 Sadovaya Street (“Garden Astreet”).
Architect Vassily Bazhenov built it in 1797-1800 on the orders of Paul I. Vincenzo Brenna assisted the architect. The project included secret passages inside the castle, earthen ramparts and moats with drawbridges. All that design was to be a reliable protection against any conspiracy. In fact, no ramparts, moats or drawbridges can stop a conspiracy, if there is one.
Emperor Paul I only spent about forty days in his new residence. On the night of March 11, 1801 his former associates murdered him.
I have read a book published by the Russian Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church is sure that the murder was carefully planned and conducted by the Russian masons whose interference into Russian affairs in the 19th century was very sheer and outraging.
But we, simple people, have a vague idea of freemasonry and can only hear or pass rumors and negative judgment. Conspiracy theories are abundant. Rest in peace, Emperor Paul!
Michael's Castle housed the Main Engineering College. Since 1819 Michael’s Castle was known as Engineers’ Castle. Today this castle houses the Science and Technology Library of St.Petersburg Scientific and Technical Information Center.
In 2013, in the summer, this place received the most visits of all tourist attractions in Russia.
We caught public transport to the Catherine Palace.
Catherine I, who was Peter the Great’s wife, ruled Russia for two years after her husband died.
Catherine Palace is named after her and was ordered to be built for her by Peter the Great. It was not Tsar Peter nor Tsarina Catherine who made it as lavish as it is today, though, it was their daughter Elizabeth who expanded it.
When we entered Catherine Palace, we were somehow compelled to join a group with a Russian speaking guide, and given the audio sets to hear her speak. And did she speak. Continuously. Monotonously. We ended up removing the audio sets to let our ears be free from the onslaught.
We did not have the option of strolling through at our own pace, as individual tourists. However, we managed to break free of the group after a couple of rooms (only to catch the tail end of another group, a Mandarin Chinese speaking group).
Inside Catherine Palace is the Amber Room. Photos are not permitted of the Amber Room, but when, as the saying goes, "when there's a will, there's a way", and so when we entered an adjoining room where photos were permitted, we did manage to zoom the camera lens in to the Amber Room via an open doorway. The Amber Room is an exquisite display of yellows and oranges of the beautiful Amber stone.
There is no advanced booking required for individual visitors.
For prices and visiting hours, look at this link:
The Yusupov Palace, once owned by the very wealthy & powerful Yusupov family, is probably most well known as the setting of the death of the mysterious Grigory Rasputin on the night of December 17, 1916. The peasant-monk Rasputin reportedly had a trance-like attraction & healing powers. He was able to stop the suffering of Tzar Nicholas' hemophiliac son. The alleviation of the boy's anquish, a miracle in particular to Tzarina Alexandra, earned him the dubious indebtedness & undue influence on the royal family of Tzar Nicholas II. The tzar's loyalists, including Prince Yusupov, felt that Rasputin was therefore a threat to the state. A plot was fomented in the yusupov Palace to poison Rasputin at dinner but it did not succeed and he was subsequently shot, then drowned in the Moika River just outside the palace.
The palace has an exellent wax exhibit portraying a scene in the private apartments where Felix Yusupov (the Younger) and Rasputin are having dinner
Notice that the palace, as is the Hermitage, is attended by women, one stationed in each room of the palace, who watch for tourists who become too inquisitive with the palace or its possessions!! They also wield power to move tourist groups into and out of rooms as they see fit, which greatly diminished the necessary time to enjoy each room. Their authority seems unquestionable & is not challenged by tour guides or guests. An incident in the Moorish Drawing room proved this when a tourist in our group apparently touched something. The attendant virtually flew to the man and screamed "Don't touch!!" I suppose she thought the man was an American, but actually he was Dutch! I understand that this type of incident could actually be blamed on the tour guide who is held responsible for the actions of the tourists in her group!
If you wish to use videos or camera, you must pay a special fee of $6 for camera and $12 for Videos (2005); everything including paintings can be photographed in the Yusupov!! THE PALACE IS OPEN BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT.
Though each room, each staircase, each ceiling seemed grander than the next, the area which really impressed me the most was the theatre. Not even in the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, do I remember such a theater.
Originally designed by architect Andrei Mikhailov in the 1840's, the theatre has been reconstructed twice, the last time being in 1980 by Alexander Stepanov. As the brochure states, "Its appearance is a compact imitation of a big European Theatre." However, I have never seen any so grand! Among those to have given concerts here were Franz Liszt and Frederic Chopin.
Seating boxes and balconies are embellished with gilt on ornamental carving, yards of velvet drapery frame the stage and rear balcony, and the ceiling features a magnificent painting, "Morning Banishing Night" by artiist: Liphart.
The theatre hosts concerts of classical music, chamber operatic works, and evening of vocal music. In fact, one excursion offered was a formal attire, evening gala with concert and folkoric dances for those willing to part with a not insignificant ticket price! This astonishing theatre is but one work of art and one room of this breathtaking palace.
Our ship offered a FORMAL evening excursion to the Yusupov Palace for a concert and performance by local artists probably assembled for ship passengers only, but it was quite expensive. When we, hopefully, return to St. Petersburg by ship, I would like to attend this performance and I am sure it will be a night to remember.
There is a small but well-stocked gift shop in the palace which sells many nice souvenirs and of course, I could not pass this up. One of the items I purchased would a full color brochure detailing the history and treasures of the Yusupov Palace.
Kikiny palace is one of the oldest buildings in St.Petersburg, but not a very famous and popular architecture monument. This house belonged to Alexander Kikin, admiral-councillor and confederate of Peter I. It was built in 1714-1720. In 1718 Kikin was executed for organizing tsarevich Aleksei Petrovich’s escape and his house was given to the public treasury. In 1719 – 1727 Peter’s Kunstkamera collection and Peter the First’s private library was located. The building was twice rebuilt. During the siege of Leningrad Kikiny palace suffered a lot, but in 1952 – 1956 it was restored to its original condition by the architect Irina Benoit.
Again, another fantastic huge room beautifully decorated. Something you would rarely see in modern day buildings. Everywhere I looked there was something special in this room.
To think that we only visited 8 or10 rooms in the Hermitage, such an amazing Palace.
Walls, Ceilings and Windows all catch your eye as you walk through the rooms open for public viewing within Catherines Palace.
Do not forget to look at the floor, often there is amazing workmanship to match the decorative walls & ceilings.
The first 2 rooms we walked into would be the main ballroom and a dining room. The Ballroom is extremly large and beautifully decorated. The next room which adjoins the ballroom looked like a dining room. There were also some nice decorative pieces.
the rooms looked better than my photos.
Our tour arrived early, just after 9am but not early enough to beat the crowd.
A magnificent palace, renovated 10 years ago to restore it back to original condition, it represents the indulgence of the Russian czars.
The Palace is nearly 1 km in circumference, do not expect to see all of it.
Open 10am to 6pm, last admission 5pm. Closed Tuesdays and last Monday of every month.
Tavricheskiy - or "Tauride" - Palace is one of the largest and most impressive palaces in St. Petersburg, located in the north-east of the historic centre, next to the Tavricheskiy Garden (formerly the grounds of the palace). Nowadays, the palace is home to the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and is not open for sightseeing. However, since February 2010, halls of Tavricheskiy Palace are being used to host Potemkin Evenings, concerts of 18th century music performed on authentic instruments by some of the best local ensembles.
The Tavricheskiy Palace was built between 1783 and 1789 by Ivan Starov, one of the leading court architects of the period, for Prince Grigory Potemkin, the close confidant and former lover of Catherine the Great. The palace was built and named in honour of his key role in the annexation of the Crimea, for which he was awarded the title "Prince of Tauris" in reference to the Ancient Greek name for the region. Starov designed the palace in strict Palladian style, and its simple facades were in sharp contrast to the richly decorated interiors and the lavish lifestyle led by Potemkin when in St. Petersburg, as he threw a series of increasingly grand and expensive parties in an effort to shore up his waning influence.
The palace was designed to face the Neva River across its extensive parkland, but in 1860 the city's first water-tower was built between the river and the palace, somewhat spoiling its majestic views.
After Potemkin's death in 1791, Tavricheskiy Palace was bought by the crown. Catherine's son, Paul I, loathed the lifestyle of his mother's court so much that he had the palace turned into stables for the horses of the Imperial Guard, and some of the original interiors were lost. The palace remained in the Imperial family until 1906, when it became the seat of the Imperial State Duma, Russia's first parliament. In 1917 it was briefly home to the Provisional Government and the Petersburg Soviet. In the Soviet Union, the palace was used the All-Union Agricultural Communist University and then the Higher Party School, a college of further education for top-level Communist bureaucrats.
The Tauride Venus in the State Hermitage is named after the palace. The first classical sculpture to arrive in Russia, it was ceded by Pope Clement XI to Peter I in 1718, and kept at Tavricheskiy Palace from the time of Catherine the Great until the mid-19th century.
Tavricheskiy Palace is not open to the public. The gardens are open to the public and are free. from the gardens you can enjoy a lovely stroll through the wooded area and get great views of the palace.
The Stroganov Palace (Russian: Строгановский дворец) is a Late Baroque palace . The palace was built to Bartolomeo Rastrelli's designs for Baron Sergei Grigoriyevich Stroganov in 1753-1754.
The main façade of the Stroganov palace streetwards to Nevsky Prospect. The facade carries an entrance arch supported by two Corinthian columns. The arch is crowned with a pediment bearing the Stroganov's coat of arms. The interesting detail between windows in the facade of Stroganov Palace is a man'st profile. Who is it? Never could say is it - Baron Stroganov, whom Rastrelli wanted to surprise or the famous architect in fact left his own profile on the wall.
In 1988 the palace was became part of Russian Museum. Restoration process starts 1991 and still go on. In keeping with Rastrelli's original design, its walls are now painted light pink (rather than dark green, as they were in the mid-20th century). It is one of the few Baroque structures on Nevsky Prospekt that has preserved its original aspect.
You can visit the palace/museum everyday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (to 5 p.m. on Monday) except on u Tuesdays when is close.
The Menshikov Palace (Russian: Меншиковский дворец) is build in Baroque style favorite by Peter the Great. It was the first stone building in the city. Since 1981, it has served as a public museum, a branch of the Hermitage Museum.
The palace was founded in 1710 as a residence of Saint Petersburg Governor General Alexander Menshikov, great friend from Peter the Great. Author is Italian architects Giovanni Maria Fontana, and German architect Gottfried Johann Schädel. It was opened in 1711, but the construction continued until 1727 (assisted by Domenico Trezzini, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, Georg Johann Mattarnovy and Jean-Baptiste Le Blond).
After Menshikov family was exiled to Siberia, his property was confiscated.
Between 1732 and 1918 the palace was home to a military school, but in 1967 it was given to the Hermitage. Now, with the early 18th century interiors restored, it houses a collection of Russian cultural artifacts from the early 18th century.
The museum was open everyday from 10:30 a.m. till 4:30 p.m.
St. Michael's Castle (Russian: Миха́йловский за́мок), also called the Mikhailovsky Castle or the Engineers' Castle (Russian: Инженерный замок). St. Michael's Castle was built as a residence for Emperor Paul I and especially for his protection.
Authors was architects Vincenzo Brenna and Vasili Bazhenov. The castle was build several years 1797-1801. The castle looks different from each side, as the architects used motifs of various architectural styles such as French Classicism, Italian Renaissance and Gothic. I found that palace from Field of Mars and from bout trip. It is named in honor of the Archangel Michael - the heavenly patron of the Romanov family.
St. Michael's Castle was built to the south of the Summer Garden and replaced the small wooden palace of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. Afraid of intrigues and assassination plots, Emperor Paul I disliked the Winter Palace where he never felt safe.
The building with rounded corners was surrounded by the waters of the Moika River, the Fontanka River and two specially dug canals (the Church Canal and the Sunday Canal).
By order of Paul I, the inscription "From Great Grandson to Great Grandfather" was made on the pedestal that is decorated with bas-reliefs depicting scenes of two Russian victories over Sweden during the Great Northern War.
Still, Paul I was assassinated only 40 nights after he moved into his newly-built castle. He was murdered on 12 March 1801, in his own bedroom, by a group of dismissed officers headed by General Bennigsen. In 1823 was given to the army's Main Engineering School (later to become the Nikolayevskaya Engineering Academy and now the Military Engineering-Technical University). From then on, the building was known as the Engineers' Castle. Between 1838 and 1843, the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky studied as a cadet at the Main Engineering School.
In 1995, St. Michael's Castle became a branch of the Russian Museum and now houses its Portrait Gallery, featuring official portraits of the Russian Emperors and Empresses and various dignitaries and celebrities from the late 17th to the early 20th century.
The museum is open every day (except Tuesdays) from 10 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., on Mondays and the days before holidays from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
Moika Palace, also known as Yusupov Palace (Russian: Дворец Юсуповых на Мойке) is buils 1770. This palace is once the primary residence in St. Petersburg, Russia of the family Yusupov. The family Yusupov was a Russian noble family descended from the Khans of the 10th century who, in the 18th and 19th centuries, were renowned for their wealth, philanthropy and art collections. Prince Felix Yusupov II today was famous for his involvement in the murder of Rasputin. There is museum part that remainder what happens here long time ago. For that uses photography, documents, and wax figures to recreate the assassination and the following investigation.
Not only that palace today serve as museum then also a cultural center, hosting classical concerts and theater performances. Famous places in the palace are: the beautiful rococo Palace Theater and the White-Columns Hall.
Ticket office is open from 10.45 am every day except on the first Wednesday of each month. Tours start hourly on the hour from 11:00 till 17:00.
The Mariinsky Palace, also known as Marie Palace (Russian: Мариинcкий дворец), was the last Neoclassical imperial palace to be constructed in the City. It was built between 1839 and 1844 to a design by the court architect Andrei Stackensneider. The Palace serve as Imperial residence of the Grand Duchess Maria, daughter of Emperor Nicholas I.
In 1884 the Mariinsky Palace was became the seat of the State Council, the State Chancellor's office and the Committee of Ministers (later - the Council of Ministers). Since 1945 the palace has belonged to the city council and local administration.