The Yusupov Palace is one of the few aristocratic mansions still in existence in St. Petersburg that have retained both their bold facade suites, and their less glamorous premises: an art gallery, private mini-theater, and luxurious private chambers of the Yusupovs, where the warmth and charm of their erstwhile owners still glows.
The palace's magnificent interior decorations,
restored through the hard work of St.
Petersburg's best restoration artists, welcome Russian
and international fans of history, art, music and theater.
The palace went down in Russian history as the place where the mysterious monk Grigory Rasputin was assassinated, a Siberian peasant who became the spiritual mentor and friend of Nicholas II and the Royal Family in the early 20th century. The tragedy took place the night of December 17, 1916 in the private annex of the young Prince Felix Yusupov, now housing a historical exhibit recreating the assassination scene.
The first stone building in the city, the Menshikov Palace was built to the grandiose tastes of Prince Alexander Menshikov, Peter the Great's closest friend and the first governor of St Petersburg. Menshikov was of humble origins (he is said to have sold pies on the streets of Moscow as a child), but his talent for both organization and intrigue made him the second-most important person in the Russian Empire by the time of Peter's death in 1725.His palace, built mainly between 1710 and 1714, was the city's smartest residence at the time: compare it to Peter the Great's tiny Summer Palace! The palace was used by Peter for official functions and its interiors are some of the oldest and best-preserved in the city.The palace is now a branch of the State Hermitage Museum and the interiors have been impressively restored. The 1st floor displays some stunning Dutch tile work, intended to fortify the rooms against humidity due to Menshikov's tuberculosis. Original furniture and the personal effects of Menshikov are on display.
The Sheremetevs called their palace the Fontanny Dom (“Fountain House”) because of its situation on the Fontanka. The first palace on the site was built in 1712 by Boris Sheremetev (1659-1719), a general in Peter the Great’s army who had distinguished himself in the war with the Swedes. The present palace was built by his sons in the 1730s and 1740s and given an additional storey about 1750. The architects were Savva Chevakinsky and Fyodor Argunov. The palace has been extensively restored in recent years. These days, the palace has a permanent display of the Sheremetevs’ private art collection and it is home to the Museum of Musical Life. It is one of the world’s largest collections (about 3 000 exhibits) of unique musical instruments, including original instruments made by famous craftsmen or played by great musicians.
the Stroganovs’ Palace
The Stroganovs’ Palace is the one single monument on the town’s main street to mid-eighteenth century residential architecture. Erected on the three high floors on the corner of Nevsky Prospec[kt and the Moika embankment, it immediately stood out amongst its more modest (and not just in size, but also in the wealth of their decorative facades) surrounding structures. Even now, surrounded by buildings of no less architectural or physical presence, the palace continues to stand out with prominence, both in the perspective of Nevsky Prospekt and from the far distances beyond the bend of the Moika Canal.
The palace, built by the architect Francesco Rastrelli represents a rare example of the baroque style of architecture applied to residential housing in St. Petersburg.
The Elagin Palace
The ensemble of palaces and parks on Yelagin Island is a monument to Russian architecture and landscape gardening of the early 19th century. The suburban palace of Catherine the Great's dignitary, Ivan Perfil'evich Yelagin, was reconstructed between 1818 and 1822 by the architect Carlo Rossi for Empress Maria Fedorovna, widow of Alexander I. At the same time, a magnificent landscape park was laid out. Prior to 1917, the palace complex served as a summer residence for the imperial family.
On the ground floor is the sot state rooms, decorated by renowned painters and sculptors of the late 18th and early 19th centuries such as Antonio Vighi, Barnaba Medici, Pietro Scotti, Vasily Demuth-Malinovsky and Stepan Pimenov. Of particular interest are the Oval Hall, the Crimson Room and the Blue Room, which contain examples of the palace's decor from the first half of the 19th century.