--:-- • --:--Пример экскурсии
The turquoise baroque façade with two levels of columns cannot be mixed with anything. That is the Winter Palace, of course.
The dynasty of Romanovs ruled 304 years in Russia, of which 255 years they ruled from this Palace. Russian Tsars had different attitudes to their family nest on shores of Neva River. Architect Rastrelli started building it for Elizaveta Petrovna. By the Empress’ idea, it should have expressed the greatness and power of Russia, which became one of the most significant European powers in the mid of the 18th century. However, the construction process procrastinated, and the new Emperor Peter the Third had accepted the work from the architect. Finishing of all the premises in all their brilliance was completed in 1763 during Catherine the Great. Oh, what receptions and balls did the Empress Catherine arrange here! The “Golden Age” of Catherine became the golden age for the Winter Palace as well.
Pavel the First hated the Winter Palace as well as everything associated to his mother. He fled from it like the plague to his newly built Mikhailovsky Castle, where in already 40 days he was killed by conspirators.
His son Alexander the First lived for 24 years in the Palace. During his reign, Russia experienced many dramatic events. The lives of the rest of the Russian Tsars can’t be called monotonous though. During the flood of 1824, Alexander looked in horror from windows of the Palace how his residency turned to an island. When poured over its banks, Neva was flooding all the neighboring streets. Waves hit against the walls of the Palace, the wind took iron sheets off of its roof.
The next Emperor Nicholas the First, saw the Palace struck with another calamity – terrible fire of 1837 destroyed all of the Palace’s interior finishing. The building was on fire for three days. On the fourth day, it had only bare walls. However, in 15 months sharp after the fire, the Palace was restored in its original brilliance. The Emperor was happy. But, Nicholas the First could not handle the shameful defeat of Russia in the Crimea War. He died in the Winter Palace, as people said, of broken heart, on a narrow camp bed covering himself with a soldier’s greatcoat.
The Emperor Alexander the Second had to go through not so pleasant moments in the Palace – in February 1880 the Building was shaken with a terrible explosion. The floor of the Imperial canteen had, literally, gone down under his feet. This was the fifth attempt on the Tsar-Reformer. After the eighth one, he was delivered to the Palace to die. All of his family was running on bloody steps of the Winter Palace to the room, where the wounded Emperor would lie. His young wife Ekaterina Dolgorukaya, who he got married on less than a year ago, fell on his neck. The successor’s spouse, Maria Fedorovna was convulsively squeezing skates in her hands – she was skating when she had learnt about the accident.
Ten members of the Romanov family, those who witnessed that terrible scene, 37 years later were killed by Bolshevicks themselves. On March 1, 1881, at 15:35, the Imperial Standard was lowered, notifying the capital of Alexander the Second’s death.
The new king Alexander the Third came out to the crowd gathered before the Palace, saluted to his people, got on the sleigh and sped off on wide streets of Petersburg.
After what happened, Alexander did not like the Palace at all. Being afraid of terrorists, who killed his father, he spent most of his life in a country Gatchinsky Palace, for which was nicknamed “Hermit of Gatchinsky”.
Nicholas the Second preferred to live in his country residency in Tsarskoe Selo than in the Winter Palace. In the beginning of the World War I he assigned it as a hospital. However, The Winter Palace remained an official Tsar residency up to the February Revolution.
Actually, the Palace is very huge. It has 1057 premises and 117 stairs. Te spirit of the imperial Russia is still hovering in the enfilade of its parade halls. As to the privates rooms, they are mostly changed. Rare exception is the library of Nicholas the Second and the Malachite Hall.
During Nicholas the First, the Palace used to serve as a lounge for the Empress Alexandra Fedorovna. In revolutionary 1917, it hosted sessions of the Provisional Government.
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.