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Now, please draw all your attention at even-numbered side of the street – the elegant terracotta Mansion of Baryatinskys with three risalits on the façade. In Petersburg, it is called “the House of broken hearts”.
The first owner of the Baryatinskys’ Mansion was General-Lieutenant Fedor Alekseyev, whose son was shot down at the threshold of this house on the day of his wedding. The crime was not solved anyway. But there are suspicions that Alekseyev was killed by a petty official Pavlov, whose sister had a long time affair with the first one.
In 1837, the Baryatinskys’ Mansion was passed into ownership of Princes Baryatinskiys. The new owner of the House, the Prince Alexander Baryatinsky was not only a well-known card gambler and eye-gazer, but also a hero of the Caucasian War. Being heavily wounded, he came back to Petersburg, but in ten years, reaching the rank of the Colonel, he headed back for Caucuses. And, in 14 years, being an Emperor’s Governor in Caucuses, Baryatinsky did seemingly impossible thing – put an end to the Caucasian War, when captured the leader of highlanders, Imam Shamil.
At some point, a relative of Baryatinskys, the Princess Maria Mesherskaya used to live in the Mansion on Sergiyevskaya Street. She was a passion for young Prince Alexander, future Emperor Alexander the Third. For the sake of marriage with Maria, Alexander wanted to deny succession to the throne, but the Imperial Family had hastily made him marry on a Dutch Princess Dagmara. The Princess Mesherskaya was given in a marriage to somebody and sent overseas.
In 1896 the House of Bayarinskys’ was purchased by the Emperor Nicholas the Second, and, after capital repair, the Mansion was turned into the Palace. The Emperor gave it to his sister, Grand Princess Olga Alexsandrovna for the day of her wedding with the Prince Peter Aleksandrovich of Oldenburg.
It was the time when the logo of the young family appeared on the Baryatinskys Mansion’s gable. The logo united the Emblems of Russia and Oldenburg under small Imperial Crown. As you can see, it is on the central risalit, its double shield is held by two knights.
During the centuries of Empire St. Petersburg was a grand city with ceremonial buildings, rich and pompous palaces. Even today St. Petersburg can boast a huge number of palaces, including some of the grandest residences not just in Russia, but in the whole of Europe.
Our audio guide will take you to the most famous palaces and Grand residences of St. Petersburg. We can start with the Tauride Palace and Garden, one of the largest and most historic complexes in Russia. This palace was designed for Grigory Potemkin in a rigorous Palladian style. In the 19th century, the palace was transformed into a residence for minor royalty. It had been used to host balls and exhibitions until 1906, when it was given as a seat of the first Russian parliament, the Imperial State Duma.
You will also hear the history of the Winter Palace, the most prominent palace in Russia. The Winter Palace not only physically dominates Palace Square and the south embankment of the Neva River, but also plays a central political, symbolic, and cultural role in the three-century history of the city. It was declared part of the State Hermitage Museum on 17 October 1917. Now the Winter Palace, the Hermitage and all historical landmarks of St. Petersburg are enlisted by the UNESCO.
Another famous building is Anichkov Palace located next to Anichkov Bridge across the Fontanka River. It’s one of the oldest buildings on Nevsky Prospect commissioned by Empress Elizabeth in 1741. When the palace was completed she presented it to Aleksey Razumovsky, her favourite and unofficial spouse.
Mariinsky Palace, the last neoclassical imperial palace to be constructed in Saint Petersburg, was built between 1839 and 1844 by the court architect Andrei Stackensneider. The palace stands on the south side of St Isaac's Square, just across the 99-metre-wide Blue Bridge from Saint Isaac's Cathedral. The palace was conceived by Emperor Nicholas I as a wedding present to his daughter Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna.
During the tour you will also see the houses and mansions of famous court and military people: The House of Saltykov, The Marble Palace, The Vladimir Palace, The Mikhailovsky Castle, The Novo-Mikhailovsky Palace, The House of Gagarin, etc. Each building has its own history sometimes dramatic.
Take a walk in the Summer Garden. It was founded in 1704 by order of Peter the Great, who was personally involved in planning it, and is laid out according to strict geometrical principles. The Summer Garden is home to marble statues acquired from Europe especially for Russia's new capital, and also to rare flowers and plants, as well as fountains.
The Field of Mars, not far from the Summer Garden, has a long and varied history dating back to the very beginning of the city's history. You will listen to it while walking. To your attention will also be the stories and legends of The First Engineer Bridge, The Salt City, The Building of Senate and Synod, The Isakievsky Cathedral, The Petropavlovsk Fortress.
With audio visual materials you will also get a map that won’t let you lose your way.