Palaces, Saint Petersburg
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.
Located on Nevsky Prospekt, just beside the Moika Canal, Stroganov Palace is a beautiful example of St Petersburg's baroque architecture.
It was designed in 1753 for an aristocratic family, and is famous as being the place where Beef Stroganov was invented!
These days the building is owned by the Russian Museum. There is a nice courtyard, a cafe, chocolate shop and a wax museum
We popped our head in to have a look at the pretty courtyard and checked out the menu at the cafe....thought the Stroganov was a little over-priced!
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.
We arrived at the Yusupov Palace by boat after a scenic cruise beginning in one of the canals and ending on the Moika almost directly in front of the palace!
The somewhat austere exterior of the Yusupov Palace belies the richly decorated and furnished interior of this palace. Today the golden colored, colonnaded facade of the Yusupov still sits on the banks of the Moika River after almost two and a half centuries, and by all appearances it remains in excellent condition.
This property (originally a wooden building) was once owned by a niece of Peter the Great who then sold the property to the rich and powerful Nikolai Borisovich Yusupov. It is said that the Yusupovs' were a supremely wealthy family, perhaps more so than the Tzar. This palace is excellent evidence of that rumor and to imagine that this palace is but one of the Yusupov palaces. In fact, Prince Yusupov amassed one of Russia's largest, private collections of paintings, sculptures, and rare artwork.
I was amazed at sublime beauty of the palace, the ornate architectural details, some of which you can see in the accompanying photo. It was all quite fantastic, if not a little overwhelming. I believe we saw virtually everyroom in the palace!
I am not sure what the entry fee is to the palace as it was included in our excursion. Remember there is an additional fee if you wish to use your camera, or video-cam.
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.
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.
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.
As preparation to my trip to Saint Petersburg I had read some travel guides, and I did know that there was great architecture to see in this city.
But is really overwhelming, all those beautiful buildings and Palaces.
Just a hundred metres from my Hostel there was the beautiful Vorontsov Palace.
It is (was) not open for the public.
This Palace was used as a military school from 1810 till 1918. Nowadays it houses the Military Academy Soevorov. It was designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli.
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.
Whenever you are standing on the Anchikov Bridge, you can not miss this red painted Palace.
This Beloselski - Belozerski Palace is built between 1846 and 1848. Andrej Stakensjneider designed it for the Sovereign Beloselski - Belozerski.
Nowadays it is used as a business and Cultural Centre.
The style of this red painted Beloselski - Belozerski Palace is Neo- Baroque.
The facades of this Palace are decorated with Corinthian pilasters and the balconies are supported by Atlants.
At the picture you can see a detail of one of the façade, how beautifully this Palace is decorated with those big Atlants sculptures.
Petrodvores or the Summer Palace of Peter is a must see! It is maybe an hour’s drive away but you can buy the tour tickets from Gostinniy Dvor (see the Shopping Tip) and that’s from where the buses leave. The palace is huge and is famous for its fountains. You will be swept away by the view as soon as you arrive! I don’t know what it’s like any other time of the year but since I was there late May, I can only tell you that during summer the place is blooming. The fountains bring cool breeze and some of them can get you completely wet when you expect it the least. Apparently, Peter I had especially built a fountain in the garden that was invisible and would play tricks with his guests by getting them wet out of nowhere ;-) The palace has a museum inside and it’s very interesting. But make sure to walk through the gardens and check out all the fountains before leaving Petrodvores.
At the Pavlovsk Palace, look for the painting of a cupid standing behind a rose bush, aiming his bow and arrow directly to your heart no matter where you look or stand. My research says this was painted by Carle Vanloo for the Salon of 1761. Look at the painting also at
= and see that, as I said, as you move along your computer screen from side to side, the arrow points at your heart (it is more impressive with the actual painting though). If you have your significant other with you or somehow you're hoping to be significant, walk with that person hand-in-hand in front of the cupid as legend says that it might just strike your hearts!
I have visited St. Petersburg 3 times, I have visited the Hermitage every time. While indeed I have seen some parts of it more than thrice; neither I, nor you, will ever become bored with it. Russia sees it's State Museums as extensions of the educational system, "Masterpieces" are loaned between "branches" of the state museums. That is why when I was in Saratov down on the Volga, I chanced to see "Menacing Cupid" a work of sculpture that normally resides in the Hermitage, it appears that it was on loan so that people who live in other regions are able to see art treasures of the state without having to travel to other cities.
The city of St. petersburg is so vast, a man from the USA I met, who had lived in SPB for 10 years, warned me "no matter how long you live here, no matter how long you live, you will never see it all!". Enjoy what you can, note other areas of interest, so you can plan your return trip carefully to find new treasures.
EVERYTHING in this city is a "Must See!"
The Nikolaevsky Palace was constructed in 1853-1861 for Emperor Nikolay I's son Grand Duke Nikolay. The classic-styled residence was set in Annunciation Square not far from the Admiralty and Palace Square. After the Grand Duke's death in 1891 the Palace was given over to the Women' Institute named after Grand Duchess Xenia, sister of Nikolay II.
The Revolution of 1917 made the Palace the property of common people and their representatives - local trade unions. In accordance with the communistic traditions it was renamed the Palace of Labour. Today the walls of the carefully restored Palace preserve the memory of the more than century city's history. Its lavishly decorated halls have witnessed the daily life of the Grand Duke's family as well as the meetings and celebrations of the Soviet authorities.
The Palace houses the Nikolayevsky Art center that is aimed to represent the unique Russian culture to guests and residents of Saint Petersburg. Every night a bright folklore show is held in the Concert Hall of the Nikolayevsky Palace.