Winter Palace (Russian: Зимний дворец,
IPA: [ˈzʲimnʲɪj dvɐˈrʲɛts], Zimnij dvorets) in Saint
Petersburg, Russia, was, from 1732 to 1917, the official residence of
the Russian monarchs. Today, the restored palace forms part of a
complex of buildings housing the Hermitage Museum. Situated between
Palace Embankment and the Palace Square, adjacent to the site of
Peter the Great's original Winter Palace, the present and fourth
Winter Palace was built and altered almost continuously between the
late 1730s and 1837, when it was severely damaged by fire and
immediately rebuilt. The storming of the palace in 1917 as depicted
in Soviet paintings and Eisenstein's 1927 film
October became an
iconic symbol of the Russian Revolution.
The palace was constructed on a monumental scale that was intended to
reflect the might and power of Imperial Russia. From the palace, the
Tsar ruled over 22,400,000 square kilometers
(8,600,000 sq mi) (almost 1/6 of the Earth's landmass) and
over 125 million subjects by the end of the 19th century. It was
designed by many architects, most notably Bartolomeo Rastrelli, in
what came to be known as the Elizabethan Baroque style. The
green-and-white palace has the shape of an elongated rectangle, and
its principal façade is 215 metres (705 ft) long and 30 m
(98 ft) high. The
Winter Palace has been calculated to contain
1,786 doors, 1,945 windows, 1,500 rooms and 117 staircases. Following
a serious fire, the palace's rebuilding of 1837 left the exterior
unchanged, but large parts of the interior were redesigned in a
variety of tastes and styles, leading the palace to be described as a
"19th-century palace inspired by a model in
In 1905, the Bloody Sunday massacre occurred when demonstrators
marched toward the Winter Palace, but by this time the Imperial Family
had chosen to live in the more secure and secluded
Alexander Palace at
Tsarskoe Selo, and returned to the
Winter Palace only for formal and
state occasions. Following the
February Revolution of 1917, the palace
was for a short time the seat of the Russian Provisional Government,
led by Alexander Kerensky. Later that same year, the palace was
stormed by a detachment of
Red Army soldiers and sailors—a defining
moment in the birth of the Soviet state.
1 Peter the Great's
Winter Palace (1711–1753)
2 The palace 1725–1855
2.1 Anna (1730–1740)
2.2 Elizabeth (1741–1762)
2.3 Catherine II (1762–1796)
2.4 Paul I, Alexander I, and Nicholas I (1796–1855)
3.2 Fire of 1837
4 Usage of the palace
4.1 Imperial Hermitage Museum
5 The last Tsars (1855–1905)
5.1 Fall of the House of Romanov (1905–1918)
6 The Seat of the Provisional Government (1917)
7 New regime
10 External links
Peter the Great's
Winter Palace (1711–1753)
The first Winter Palace, designed in 1711 for Peter the Great, by
Domenico Trezzini who, 16 years later, was to design the third Winter
Later returning from his Grand Embassy in 1698, Peter I of Russia
embarked on a policy of
Westernization and expansion that was to
Tsardom of Russia
Tsardom of Russia into the
Russian Empire and a major
European power. This policy was manifested in bricks and mortar by
the creation of a new city, Saint Petersburg, in 1703. The culture
and design of the new city was intended as a conscious rejection of
traditional Byzantine-influenced Russian architecture, such as the
then-fashionable Naryshkin Baroque, in favour of the classically
inspired architecture prevailing in the great cities of Europe. The
Tsar intended that his new city would be designed in a Flemish
renaissance style, later known as Petrine Baroque, and this was the
style he selected for his new palace in the city. The first Royal
residence on the site had been a humble log cabin then known as the
Domik Petra I, built in 1704, which faced the River Neva. In 1711 it
was transported to the Petrovskaya Naberezhnaya, where it still
stands. With the site cleared, the
Tsar then embarked on the
building of a larger house between 1711 and 1712. This house, today
referred to as the first Winter Palace, was designed by Domenico
The 18th century was a period of great development in European royal
architecture, as the need for a fortified residence gradually
lessened. This process, which had begun in the late 16th century,
accelerated and great classical palaces quickly replaced fortified
castles throughout the more powerful European countries. One of the
earliest and most notable examples was Louis XIV's Versailles. Largely
completed by 1710, Versailles—with its size and
splendour—heightened rivalry amongst the sovereigns of Europe. Peter
the Great of Russia, keen to promote all western concepts, wished to
have a modern palace like his fellow sovereigns. However, unlike some
of his successors, Peter I never aspired to rival Versailles.
Winter Palace of 1727. Designed by
Domenico Trezzini it
incorporated the second
Winter Palace of 1721 by
Georg Mattarnovy as
one of its terminating pavilions.
Winter Palace was a modest building of two main floors under
a slate roof. It seems that Peter soon tired of the first palace,
for in 1721, the second version of the
Winter Palace was built under
the direction of architect Georg Mattarnovy. Mattarnovy's palace,
though still very modest compared to royal palaces in other European
capitals, was on two floors above a rusticated ground floor, with a
central projection underneath a pediment supported by columns. It
was here that
Peter the Great
Peter the Great died in 1725.
Winter Palace was not the only palace in the unfinished city, or
even the most splendid, as Peter had ordered his nobles to construct
residences and to spend half the year there. This was an unpopular
Saint Petersburg was founded upon a swamp, with little
sunlight, and it was said only cabbages and turnips would grow there.
It was forbidden to fell trees for fuel, so hot water was permitted
just once a week. Only Peter's second wife, Empress Catherine,
pretended to enjoy life in the new city.
As a result of pressed slave labour from all over the Empire, work
on the city progressed quickly. It has been estimated that 200,000
people died in twenty years while building the city. A diplomat of
the time, who described the city as "a heap of villages linked
together, like some plantation in the West Indies", just a few years
later called it "a wonder of the world, considering its magnificent
palaces". Some of these new palaces in Peter's beloved Flemish
Baroque style, such as the Kikin Hall and the Menshikov Palace, still
The palace 1725–1855
The principal or "Jordan Staircase", (8 on the plan below) so-called
because on the Feast of the Epiphany the
Tsar descended this Imperial
staircase in state for the ceremony of the "Blessing of the Waters."
It is one of the few parts of the palace retaining Rastrelli's 18th
century rococo style. The massive grey granite columns were, however,
added in the mid-19th century. Painting by Konstantin Ukhtomsky.
On Peter the Great's death in 1725, the city of
Saint Petersburg was
still far from being the centre of western culture and civilization
that he had envisioned. Many of the aristocrats who had been compelled
Tsar to inhabit
Saint Petersburg left. Wolves roamed the
squares at night while bands of discontented pressed serfs, imported
to build the Tsar's new city and Baltic fleet, frequently rebelled.
Peter I was succeeded by his widow, Catherine I, who reigned until her
death in 1727. She in turn was succeeded by Peter I's grandson Peter
II, who in 1727 had Mattarnovy's palace greatly enlarged by the
architect Domenico Trezzini. Trezzini, who had designed the Summer
Palace in 1711, was one of the greatest exponents of the Petrine
Baroque style, now completely redesigned and expanded Mattarnovy's
Winter Palace to such an extent that Mattarnovy's entire
palace became merely one of the two terminating pavilions of the new,
and third, Winter Palace. The third palace, like the second, was
Petrine Baroque style.
In 1728, shortly after the third palace was completed, the Imperial
Saint Petersburg for Moscow, and the
Winter Palace lost its
status as the principal imperial residence. Moscow had once again been
designated the capital city, a status which had been granted to Saint
Petersburg in 1713. Following the death of Peter II in 1730, the
throne passed to a niece of Peter I, Anna Ivanovna, Duchess of
The new Empress cared more for
Saint Petersburg than her immediate
predecessors; she re-established the Imperial court at the Winter
Palace and, in 1732,
Saint Petersburg again officially replaced Moscow
as Russia's capital, a position it was to hold until 1918.
Ignoring the third Winter Palace, the Empress on her return to Saint
Petersburg took up residence at the neighbouring Apraksin Palace.
In 1732, the Tsaritsa commissioned the architect Francesco Bartolomeo
Rastrelli to completely rebuild and extend the Apraksin Palace,
incorporating other neighbouring houses. Thus, the core of the
fourth and final
Winter Palace is not the palace of Peter the Great,
but the palace of Admiral General Fyodor Matveyevich Apraksin.
The Empress Anna, though unpopular and considered "dull, coarse, fat,
harsh and spiteful", was keen to introduce a more civilized and
cultured air to her court. She designed new liveries for her servants
and, on her orders, mead and vodka were replaced with champagne and
Burgundy. She instructed the
Boyars to replace their plain furniture
with that of mahogany and ebony, while her own tastes in interior
decoration ran to a dressing table of solid gold and an "easing stool"
of silver, studded with rubies. It was against such a backdrop of
magnificence and extravagance that she gave her first ball in the
newly completed gallery at the Winter Palace, which, in the middle of
the Russian winter, resembled an orange grove. This, the fourth
version of the Winter Palace, was to be an ongoing project for the
architect Rastrelli throughout the reign of the Empress Anna.
Unscaled plan of the 1st floor of the
Winter Palace as it appears
today, the fourth palace on the site. The numbers in this key are
referred to throughout the article—click on numbers for images,
pages and further details.
Tsar Ivan VI, succeeding Anna in 1740, was soon deposed in a
bloodless coup d'état by Grand Duchess Elizabeth, a daughter of Peter
the Great. Delegating almost all powers to her favourites, the new
Empress Elizabeth assumed a life of pleasure which led the court at
Winter Palace to be described later by the Russian historian
Vasily Klyuchevsky as a place of "gilded squalor".
During the reign of Elizabeth, Rastrelli, still working to his
original plan, devised an entirely new scheme in 1753, on a colossal
scale—the present Winter Palace. The expedited completion of the
palace became a matter of honour to the Empress, who regarded the
palace as a symbol of national prestige. Work on the building
continued throughout the year, even in the severest months of the
winter. The deprivation to both the Russian people and the army caused
by the ongoing
Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War were not permitted to hinder the
progress. 859,555 rubles had been allocated to the project, a sum
raised by a tax on state-owned taverns. Though the labourers
earned a monthly wage of just one ruble, the cost of the project
exceeded the budget, so much so that work ceased due to lack of
resources despite the Empress' obsessive desire for rapid completion.
Ultimately, taxes were increased on salt and alcohol to fund the extra
costs, although the Russian people were already burdened by taxes to
pay for the war. The final cost was 2,500,000 rubles. By 1759,
shortly before Elizabeth's death, a
Winter Palace truly worthy of the
name was nearing completion.
Catherine II (1762–1796)
It was Empress Elizabeth who selected the German princess, Sophie of
Anhalt-Zerbst, as a bride for her nephew and successor, Peter III. The
marriage was not a success, but it was this princess who, as Catherine
the Great, came to be chiefly associated with the Winter Palace. In
1762, following a coup d'état, in which her husband was murdered,
Catherine paraded her seven-year-old son, Paul, on the Winter Palace's
balcony to an excited crowd below. She was not presenting her son
as the new and rightful ruler of Russia, however; that honour she was
St George's Hall (13 on plan above), the principal throne room of the
Tsars of Russia. The room was a late addition to the Palace for
Catherine II. Painting by Konstantin Ukhtomsky
Catherine's patronage of the architects Starov and Giacomo Quarenghi
saw the palace further enlarged and transformed. At this time an
opera house which had existed in the southwestern wing of the palace
was swept away to provide apartments for members of Catherine's
family. In 1790, Quarenghi redesigned five of Rastrelli's state rooms
to create the three vast halls of the Neva enfilade. Catherine was
responsible for the three large adjoining palaces, known collectively
as the Hermitage—the name by which the entire complex, including the
Winter Palace, was to become known 150 years later.
Catherine had been impressed by the French architect Jean-Baptiste
Vallin de la Mothe, who designed the
Imperial Academy of Arts
Imperial Academy of Arts (also in
Saint Petersburg) and commissioned him to add a new wing to the Winter
Palace. This was intended as a place of retreat from the
formalities and ceremonies of the court. Catherine christened it the
Hermitage (14), a name used by her predecessor Tsaritsa Elizabeth to
describe her private rooms within the palace.
The interior of the Hermitage wing was intended to be a simple
contrast to that of the Winter Palace. Indeed, it is said that the
concept of the Hermitage as a retreat was suggested to Catherine by
that advocate of the simple life, Jean Jacques Rousseau. In
reality, it was another large palace in itself, connected to the main
palace by a series of covered walkways and heated courtyards in which
flew rare exotic birds. Noted for its fine portico and attention
to details of a delicate nature, it was richly furnished with an
ever-growing art collection.
Frans Hals' Portrait of a Young Man Holding a Glove, purchased for the
Winter Palace in 1764
The palace's art collection was assembled haphazardly in an eclectic
manner, often with an eye to quantity rather than quality. Many of the
artworks purchased for the palaces arrived as parts of a job lot as
the sovereign acquired whole ready-assembled collections. The Empress'
ambassadors in Rome, Paris, Amsterdam and London were instructed to
look out for and purchase thousands of priceless works of art on her
behalf. Ironically, while
Saint Petersburg high society and the
extended Romanov family derided Russia's last Empress for furnishing
her palaces "mail order" from Maples of London, she was following the
practices of Catherine the Great, who, if not exactly by "mail order",
certainly bought "sight unseen."
In this way, between 1764 and 1781
Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great acquired six
major collections: those of Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky; Heinrich von
Brühl; Pierre Crozat; Horace Walpole; Sylvestre-
Raphael Baudouin; and
finally in 1787, the John Lyde-Brown collection. These large
assemblies of art included works by such masters as Rembrandt, Rubens,
Titian, Raphael, Tiepolo, van Dyck and Reni. The acquisition of
225 paintings forming the Gotzkowsky collection was a source of
personal pride to Catherine. It had been put together by Gotzkowsky
for Catherine's adversary, Frederick the Great of Prussia who, as a
result of his wars with Russia, could not afford to pay for it. This
collection included some great Flemish and Dutch works, most notably
Frans Hals' "Portrait of a Young Man with a Glove." In 1769, the
Bruhl collection brought to the
Winter Palace two further works by
Rembrandt, Portrait of a Scholar and Portrait of an Old Man in Red.
While some aspects of this manic collecting could have been a
manifestation of Catherine's desire for a recognition of her
intellectual concepts, there was also a more fundamental
motivation: necessity. Just twenty years earlier, so scarce were the
furnishings of the Imperial palaces that bedsteads, mirrors, tables
and chairs had to be conveyed between Moscow and
Saint Petersburg each
time the court moved.
As the palace filled with art, it overflowed into the Hermitage. So
large did Catherine's art collection eventually become that it became
necessary to commission the German-trained architect Yury Velten to
build a second and larger extension to the palace, which eventually
became known as the Old Hermitage (15). Later, Catherine commissioned
a third extension, the Hermitage Theatre, designed by Giacomo
Quarenghi. This construction necessitated the demolition of Peter
the Great's by now crumbling third Winter palace.
Rembrandt's Portrait of a Scholar purchased in 1769. The painting is
one of several by
Rembrandt in the former Imperial Collection.
The Empress' life within the Hermitage, surrounded by her art and
friends, was simpler than in the adjacent Winter Palace; there, the
Empress gave small intimate suppers. Servants were excluded from these
suppers and a sign on the wall read "Sit down where you choose, and
when you please without it being repeated to you a thousand
Catherine was also responsible for introducing the lasting affection
for all things French to the Russian court. While she personally
disliked France, her distaste did not extend to its culture and
manners. French became the language of the court; Russian was
relegated for use only when speaking to servants and inferiors. The
Russian aristocracy was encouraged to embrace the philosophies of
Molière, Racine and Corneille. The
Winter Palace was to serve as
a model for numerous Russian palaces belonging to Catherine's
aristocracy, all of them, like the
Winter Palace itself, built by the
slave labour of Russian serfs. The sophistication and manners observed
Winter Palace were greatly at odds with the grim reality of
life outside its externally gilded walls. In 1767, as the Winter
Palace grew in richness and splendour, the Empress published an edict
extending Russian serfdom. During her reign she further enslaved over
a million peasants. Work continued on the
Winter Palace right up
until the time of the Empress' death in 1796.
Paul I, Alexander I, and Nicholas I (1796–1855)
The Rotunda (26). This circular hall, dating from the early 19th
century, links the state and private rooms of the palace, and
represents the final and neoclassical stage of the palace's evolution.
Painting by Yefim Tukharinov
Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great was succeeded by her son Paul I. In the first days
of his reign, the new
Tsar (reported by the British Ambassador to be
"not in his senses") augmented the number of troops stationed at
the Winter Palace, positioning sentry boxes every few metres around
the building. Eventually, paranoid for his security and disliking
anything connected with his mother, he spurned the Winter Palace
completely and built
Saint Michael's Castle
Saint Michael's Castle as his Saint Petersburg
residence, on the site of his birthplace. The
Tsar announced that he
wished to die on the spot he was born. He was murdered there three
weeks after taking up residence in 1801. Paul I was succeeded by
his 24-year-old son, Alexander I, who ruled
Russia during the chaotic
period of the Napoleonic Wars. Following Napoleon's defeat in 1815,
the contents of the
Winter Palace were further enhanced when Alexander
I purchased the art collection of the former French Empress,
Joséphine. This collection, some of it plundered loot given to her by
her ex-husband Napoleon, contained amongst its many old masters
Rembrandt's "The Descent from the Cross" and four sculptures by
Alexander I was succeeded in 1825 by his brother Nicholas I. Tsar
Nicholas was to be responsible for the palace's present appearance and
layout. He not only effected many changes to the interior of the
palace, but was responsible for its complete rebuilding following the
fire of 1837.
As completed, the overriding exterior form of the Winter Palace's
architecture, with its decoration in the form of statuary and opulent
stucco work on the pediments above façades and windows, is Baroque.
The exterior has remained as finished during the reign of Empress
Elizabeth. The principal façades, those facing the
Palace Square and
the Neva river, have always been accessible and visible to the public.
Only the lateral façades are hidden behind granite walls, concealing
a garden created during the reign of Nicholas II. The building was
conceived as a town palace, rather than a private palace within a
park, such as that of the French kings at Versailles.
The Nicholas Hall (6 on plan) is the principal reception room, at the
centre of the Neva enfilade. This room was the setting for court
balls. Painting by Konstantin Ukhtomsky
The architectural theme continues throughout the interior of the
palace. The first floor, being the piano nobile, is distinguished by
windows taller than those of the floors above and below. Each window
is divided from its neighbour by a pilaster. The repetitive monotony
of the long elevations is broken only by symmetrically placed slightly
projecting bays, many with their own small portico. This theme has
been constant during all subsequent rebuilding and alterations to the
palace. The only external changes have been in colour: at various
times in its history the palace has been painted different shades. In
the eighteenth century, the palace was painted straw yellow with white
and gilded ornament. Under Nicholas I in 1837, it was painted a dull
red, which it remained through the revolution and early Soviet period.
Following the restoration work after World War II, it was painted
green with the ornament depicted in white, the standard Soviet color
scheme for Baroque buildings. (The Stroganov Palace, for example, was
also green and white in this period.)
Internally, the palace appears as a combination of the Baroque and the
Neoclassical. Little of Rastrelli's rococo interior design has
survived; only the Jordan Staircase and the Grand Church remain in
their original style. The changes to the interior were largely due to
the influences of the architects employed by
Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great in
the last years of her life, Starov and Quarenghi, who began to alter
much of the interior of the palace as designed by Rastrelli. Catherine
always wanted the latest fashions, and during her reign the more
severe neoclassical architectural influences, fashionable in Western
Europe from the late 1760s, slowly crept towards Saint Petersburg.
The neoclassical interiors were further emphasised and extended during
the reign of Catherine's grandson, Nicholas I.
Quarenghi is credited with introducing the
Neoclassical style to Saint
Petersburg. His work, together with that of Karl Ivanovich Rossi
and Auguste de Montferrand, gradually transformed Saint Petersburg
into an "Empire Town". Montferrand not only created some of the
palace's greatest neoclassical interiors, but also was responsible for
the erection of the
Column of Alexander
Column of Alexander during the reign of Nicholas I
in Rossi's newly designed Palace Square.
For a long time the
Winter Palace was the tallest edifice in the city.
In 1844, Nicholas I gave the orders to the effect that private houses
should be at least 1 sazhen (2.13 m) lower than the Winter Palace.
This rule was effective until 1905.
The Small Throne Room (10 on plan) was created by Auguste de
Montferrand in 1833. It has columns of jasper. Diplomats gathered here
on New Year's Day to offer good wishes to the Emperor.
Winter Palace is said to contain 1,500 rooms, 1,786 doors and
1,945 windows. The principal façade is 500 ft (150 m)
long and 100 ft (30 m) high. The ground floor contained
mostly bureaucratic and domestic offices, while the second floor was
given over to apartments for senior courtiers and high-ranking
officials. The principal rooms and living quarters of the Imperial
Family are on the first floor, the piano nobile. The great state
rooms, used by the court, are arranged in two enfilades, from the top
of the Jordan Staircase. The original Baroque suite of the Tsaritsa
Elizabeth running west, fronting the Neva, was completely redesigned
in 1790–93 by Giacomo Quarenghi. He transformed the original
enfilade of five state rooms into a suite of three vast halls,
decorated with faux marble columns, bas-reliefs and statuary.
Plan showing the use and division of the principal floor, as occupied
in the 1840s. 1 (red): State and most formal rooms; 2 (dark green):
Apartments of the Tsar; 3 (pink): Apartments of the Empress; 4:
Apartments of the Tsarevich, other times part of principal guest
suite; 5: Apartments of the Tsarevna; 6: Apartments reserved for
guests of the highest rank and members of the Imperial Family; 7:
Nurseries of the 3rd and the 4th in line to the throne; 8: General
private rooms of the Imperial Family; 9: Principal guest suite, used
immediately after their marriage by Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna and
A second suite of state rooms running south to the Great Church was
created for Catherine II. Between 1787–95, Quarenghi added a new
eastern wing to this suite which contained the great throne room,
known as St George's Hall (13), which linked the
Winter Palace to
Catherine's less formal palace, the Hermitage, next door. This suite
was altered in the 1820s when the
Military Gallery (11) was created
from a series of small rooms, to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon.
This gallery, which had been conceived by Alexander I, was designed by
Carlo Rossi and was built between June and November 1826 under Nicolas
I; it was inaugurated on 25
October 1826. For the 1812 Gallery,
Tsar commissioned 332 portraits of the generals instrumental in
the defeat of France. The artist was the Briton George Dawe, who
received assistance from Alexander Polyakov and Wilhelm August
Nicholas I was also responsible for the creation of the Battle
Galleries (19), which occupy the central portion of the Palace Square
façade. They were redesigned by
Alexander Briullov to commemorate the
Russian victories prior to 1812. Interestingly, immediately adjacent
to these galleries celebrating the French defeat, were rooms (18)
where Maximilian, Duke of Leuchtenberg, Napoleon's step-grandson and
the Tsar's son-in-law, lived during the early days of his
Fire of 1837
Main article: Fire in the Winter Palace
In 1833, de Montferrand was hired to redesign the eastern state rooms
and create the Field Marshal's Hall and the Small Throne Room (9 &
10). In 1837, a fire broke out. Its cause is unknown, but its spread
is blamed on de Montferrand. The architect was being hurried by the
Tsar for an early completion, so he used wooden materials where stone
would have been better. Additionally, between the hurriedly built
wooden partition walls disused fireplaces were concealed; their
chimneys, coupled with the narrow ventilation shafts, acted as flues
for the fire, allowing it to spread undetected between the walls from
room to room until it was too late to extinguish.
Fire in the Winter Palace
Fire in the Winter Palace by Boris Green
Once detected, the fire continued to spread, but slowly enough that
the palace guards and staff were able to rescue many of the contents,
depositing them in the snow in Palace Square. This was no mean feat,
as the treasures of the
Winter Palace were always heavy furniture and
fragile ornaments rather than lighter paintings. To create a
Tsar ordered the destruction of the three passages
leading to the Hermitage, a fortunate act which saved the building and
the huge art collection. The Russian poet Vasily Zhukovsky
witnessed the conflagration—"a vast bonfire with flames reaching the
sky." The fire burned for several days, and destroyed most of the
Winter Palace's interior.
Seeming to ignore the size of the palace, the
Tsar ordered that the
rebuilding be completed within a year. The Marquis de Custine
described the "unheard of efforts" that were necessary to facilitate
this. "During the great frosts 6000 workmen were continually employed;
of these a considerable number died daily, but the victims were
instantly replaced by other champions brought forward to perish."
The work was supervised by Pyotr Kleinmichel, who had already gained a
reputation for ruthlessness when serving in the military settlements
The rebuilding of the palace took advantage of the latest construction
techniques of the industrial age. The roof was supported by a metal
framework, while the spans of ceilings in the great halls were
supported by iron girders. Following the fire, the exterior, most
of the principal state suites, the Jordan staircase and the Grand
Church were restored to their original design and decoration by the
architect Vasily Stasov. Some of the rooms, such as the second largest
room in the Winter Palace, the Armorial Hall, became far more ornate,
however, with a heavy use of gilt. The smaller and more private
rooms of the palace were altered and decorated in various 19th-century
contemporary styles by
Alexander Briullov according to whims and
fashion of their intended occupants, ranging from Gothic to
rococo. The Tsarevna's crimson boudoir (23), in the private
Imperial apartments, was a faithful reproduction of the rococo style,
which Catherine II and her architects started to eliminate from the
palace less than 50 years earlier. One of the palace's most notable
rooms was created as a result of the fire when the
Jasper Room, which
had been destroyed, was rebuilt as the Malachite Drawing Room, the
principal reception room of the Tsaritsa's suite. The
for all the grandeur he created in his palaces, loved the greatest
simplicity. His bedroom at the
Winter Palace was spartan, with no
ornaments save for some maps and an icon, and he slept on a camp bed
with a straw mattress.
Usage of the palace
The Armorial Hall, or Guard Room, (11 on plan) is decorated with vast
While the state rooms occupied the northern and eastern wings of the
palace and the private rooms of the Imperial Family occupied the
western wing, the four corners of the building contained the smaller
rooms, which were the apartments of lesser members of the Imperial
Family, often being of two floors. This is one of the reasons that the
palace can appear a confusing assortment of great halls or salons with
no obvious purpose located in odd corners of the palace. The fact that
the Malachite Drawing Room is separated from the equally large Gold
Drawing Room by a series of bedrooms and small cabinets initially
seems unusual. However, when considered in the context that the
Malachite Drawing Room was the principal reception room of the
Empress' apartment while the Gold Drawing Room was the principal
reception room of the apartment of her daughter-in-law, the Tsarevna,
the arrangement of the rooms makes more sense. Similarly the vast
White Hall, so far from the other grand halls, was in fact the
principal hall of the Tsarevich's and Tsarevna's apartments. Thus the
Winter Palace can be viewed as a series of small palaces within one
large palace, with the largest and grandest rooms being public while
the residents lived in suites of varying sizes, allocated according to
As the formal home of the Russian Tsars, the palace was the setting
for profuse, frequent and lavish entertaining. The dining table could
seat 1000 guests, while the state rooms could contain up to 10,000
people—all standing, as no chairs were provided. These rooms,
halls and galleries were heated to such a temperature that while it
was sub-zero outside, exotic plants bloomed within, while the
brilliant lighting gave the ambiance of a summer's day.
The Winter Palace's Grand Church today retains its original rococo
decoration. The onion dome above it is one of the few concessions to
Russian architecture allowed to be visible from the exterior.
Painting by Eduard Hau
Guests on ceremonial and state occasions would follow a set
processional route, arriving at the palace courtyard through the
central arch of the south façade, and then entering the palace
through the state entrance (sometimes called the ambassadors'
entrance) (38). They would then proceed through the colonnaded Jordan
Hall before mounting the gilded
Imperial staircase (8), from where the
two enfilades of state rooms spread out. The principal or Jordan
Staircase, so-called because on the Feast of the Epiphany, the Tsar
descended in state for the ceremony of the Blessing of the Waters, is
one of the few parts of the palace to retain the original 18th century
rococo style, although the massive grey granite columns were added in
the mid-19th century.
One of the most important rooms was the Palace's Grand Church (16).
Granted cathedral status, it was of greater religious significance
than the chapels of most European royal palaces. It was here that
Romanov weddings were usually celebrated with a rigid and unchanging
tradition and protocol. Even the bride's dress, and the manner of
donning it, was dictated by tradition. Dressed by the Empress, the
bride and her procession would pass from the Malachite Drawing Room to
the church through the state rooms.
The Imperial Family were not the only residents of the palace; below
the metal framework in the attics lived an army of servants. So vast
were the servants' quarters that a former servant and his family,
unbeknownst to the palace authorities, moved into the roof of the
palace. They were only discovered by the smell of the manure from the
cow that they had also smuggled into the building with them to provide
fresh milk. It seems this cow was not the only bovine in the
attics; other cows were kept next to the room occupied by the Maids of
Honour, in order to provide fresh milk for the kitchens. This practice
was discontinued after the 1837 fire.
Imperial Hermitage Museum
Main article: State Hermitage Museum
The Atlantes portico to the extension of Catherine II's New Hermitage,
Russia's first public art gallery.
After the death of Catherine the Great, the Hermitage had become a
private treasure house of the Tsars, who continued collecting, albeit
not on the scale of Catherine the Great. In 1850, the collection of
Cristoforo Barbarigo was acquired. This collection from Venice brought
Winter Palace further works by Titian, in addition to many
16th-century Renaissance works of art.
Nicholas I, conscious of the great art galleries in other European
capitals, saw that Catherine the Great's Large Hermitage (15) was
vastly expanded and transformed into a purpose-built public art
gallery. In 1839, German architect
Leo von Klenze
Leo von Klenze drew up the plans
and their execution was overseen by Vasily Stasov, assisted by
Alexander Briullov and Nikolai Yefimov. With so many
architects involved there were inevitably many conflicts over the
design and its execution throughout the 1840s, with the
frequently to act as moderator. Eventually, after eleven years of
building and architectural conflict, the first art museum in Russia,
the Imperial Hermitage Museum, opened on 5 February 1852. The
trebeated facades of the building were inspired by Schinkelesque
architecture. It was erected in grey marble round three courtyards and
the complex is noted for the asymmetrical planning of its wings and
floors. By order of the Tsar, visitors to the museum were required
to wear evening dress, even in the morning. The
Tsar also decreed that
grey top hats were "Jewish" and dress coats "revolutionary."
Having negotiated the dress code, what the public saw was a huge array
of art, but only a fraction of the Imperial collection, as the Winter
Palace and other Imperial palaces remained closed to the viewing
The last Tsars (1855–1905)
Alexander II photographed in his study (24) at the Winter Palace
Winter Palace was an official residence of the Russian sovereign
from 1732 until 1917; however, it was their home for little more than
140 of those years. The last
Tsar to truly reside in the palace was
Alexander II, who ruled from 1855 to 1881, when he was assassinated.
During his reign there were more additions to the contents;
acquisitions included the ancient and archaeological collection of the
unfortunate Marchese di Cavelli in 1861 and Leonardo da Vinci's
"Madonna and Child" in 1865; Leonardo's second work of that same name,
the so-called "Benois Madonna", was later acquired in 1914.
Alexander II was a constant target for assassination attempts, one of
which occurred inside the
Winter Palace itself. This attempt on the
Tsar's life was organized by a group known as Narodnaya Volya (Will of
the People) and led by an "unsmiling fanatic", Andrei Zhelyabov, and
his mistress Sophia Perovskaya, who later became his wife.
Perovskaya, the daughter of a former Governor of Saint Petersburg, was
well placed to learn information concerning happenings within the
palace and through her connections learnt of repairs being carried out
in the palace's basement. One of the group, a trained carpenter,
was subsequently enrolled as one of the workmen. Every day he carried
dynamite charges concealed amongst his tools, placing them beneath the
private dining room. So great was the quantity of dynamite that the
fact there was an intervening floor between the dining room and the
basement was of no significance. Plans were made to detonate the
bomb on the evening of 17 February [O.S. 5 February] 1880,
Tsar and Imperial family as they dined. Fortunately
for the Romanovs, a guest arriving from Berlin was delayed, and for
the first time in years dinner was delayed. As the family left the
drawing room for the dining room the bomb exploded. So great was the
explosion that it could be heard all over Saint Petersburg. The dining
room was completely demolished and 11 members of the
Finnish Guard in
the Guard Room below were killed and a further 30 wounded. The
incident represents one of the first uses of a time bomb for political
purposes. The New York Times (March 4, 1880) reported "the dynamite
used was inclosed in an iron box, and exploded by a system of
clockwork used by the man Thomas in Bremen some years ago."
In 1881, the revolutionaries were finally successful and Alexander II
was assassinated as his carriage drove through the streets of Saint
Winter Palace was never truly inhabited again. The new
Tsar Alexander III was informed by his security advisers that it was
impossible to make the
Winter Palace secure. The Imperial Family
then moved to the seclusion of the Palace of Gatchina, some 40 miles
(64 km) from Saint Petersburg. By comparison with the Winter
Palace, the 600 room, moated Gatchina Palace, set within forests, was
a cosy family home. When in Saint Petersburg, the Imperial Family
resided at the Anichkov Palace, while the
Winter Palace was used for
official functions. Large economies were made in food and wine. The
Tsar was highly interested in the running costs of the Palace,
insisting that table linen was not to be changed daily, and that
candles and soap were not replaced until completely spent. Even the
number of eggs used in an omelette was reduced. While the Tsar
economised on household expenses, he added to the Imperial art
collection of both the palace and the Hermitage. Officially, the
Hermitage Museum had an annual buying allowance of 5,000 rubles, but
when this proved insufficient the
Tsar would himself purchase items
for the museum.
Empress Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark), the wife of Alexander
III, saw that a garden was laid out in the centre of the main
courtyard in 1885, an area previously cobbled and lacking vegetation.
Court architect Nikolai Gornostayev designed a garden surrounded by a
granite plinth and a fountain, and planted trees in the courtyard,
laying limestone pavements along the walls of the palace.
In 1894, Alexander III was succeeded by his son Nicholas II. The last
Tsar suspended court mourning for his father to marry his wife Alix of
Hesse in a lavish ceremony at the Winter palace. However, after
the ceremony the newlywed couple retired to the Anichkov Palace, along
with the Dowager Empress. There they began their married life in six
Nicholas II and the Empress dressed as
Alexis I and Maria
Miloslavskaya, for the Winter Palace's last Imperial ball
In 1895, Nicholas and Alexandra established themselves at the
Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo. This was to be their favoured home
for the remainder of the reign. However, from December 1895 they did
reside for periods during the winter at the Winter Palace. Architect
Alexander Krasovsky was commissioned to redecorate a suite of rooms in
the north-west corner of the palace, including the Gothic library.
In 1896, the wife of
Nicholas II was credited for the creation of
another garden (35) on the former parade ground, beneath the windows
of the Imperial Family's private apartments. She had found it
disconcerting that the public could stare into her windows. The garden
was created by landscape architect Georg Kuphaldt, the director of the
Riga city gardens and parks. This is only one of two gardens which
remain today at the palace.
During the reign of Nicholas II, court life was quieter than it had
ever been, due to the Tsaritsa's retiring nature and mistrust of Saint
Petersburg's high society. In the Empress' opinion: "Saint
Petersburg is a rotten town, and not one atom Russian." Under her
influence, gradually the great court receptions and balls at the
Winter Palace, which humoured and cultivated the powerful nobility,
came to an end. They were briefly replaced by theatricals held in the
Hermitage which "no one enjoyed", then even the theatricals
The final great Imperial gathering at the
Winter Palace was a themed
fancy dress ball celebrating the reign of Alexei I, which took place
on 11 and 13 February 1903 (1903 Ball in the Winter Palace). Grand
Duke Alexander Mikhailovich recalled the occasion as "the last
spectacular ball in the history of the empire...[but] a new and
Russia glared through the large windows of the palace...while
we danced, the workers were striking and the clouds in the Far East
were hanging dangerously low." The entire Imperial family, the
Tsar as Alexei I, the Empress as Maria Miloslavskaya, all dressed in
rich 17th century attire, posed in the Hermitage's theatre, many
wearing priceless original items brought specially from the
Kremlin, for what was to be their final photograph together.
Russia was at war with Japan, and the newborn
secretly ill; the
Tsar and the Empress permanently abandoned Saint
Petersburg, the Winter Palace, and high society (considered by the
Empress to be decadent and immoral) for the greater comfort,
security and privacy of Tsarskoe Selo. Thus it was that the Winter
Palace, designed and intended to impress, reflect and reinforce the
Romanov's power, lost its raison d'être over a decade before the fall
of the dynasty it was intended to house and glorify.
Fall of the House of Romanov (1905–1918)
Nicholas II, last
Tsar of all the Russias, in the Nicholas Hall.
Portrait by Earnest Lipgart, early 1900s.
Following the Imperial Family's move to the Alexander palace at
Tsarskoe Selo, the
Winter Palace became little more than an
administrative office block and a place of rare official entertaining.
Throughout the year, the family moved from one palace to another: in
March, to Livadia; in May to Peterhof (not the great palace, but a
19th-century villa in its grounds); in June, they cruised upon the
Imperial Yacht, Standart; August was spent in Poland, at Spala,
September was spent back at Livadia, before a return to Tsarskoe Selo
for the Winter.
Tsar betrayed his private views of
Saint Petersburg in 1912, while
addressing a farewell party of dignitaries and family bidding him
farewell, as the family left for warmer climes: "I am only sorry for
you who have to remain in this bog." However, to the Tsar's
ordinary subjects, the
Winter Palace was seen not only as the home of
the Tsars, but a symbol of Imperial power. In this role, it was to be
at the centre of some of the most momentous happenings in Russia's
early 20th century history. Three of these events stand out in
Russia's history: The Bloody Sunday massacre of 1905; the opening of
the first State Duma in 1906, which opened in St George's Hall (13);
and finally the taking of the palace by revolutionaries in 1917.
The Bloody Sunday massacre was a result of the public ignorance of the
Tsar's place of residence. It occurred on 22 January [O.S. 9
January] 1905 during a demonstration march by workers toward the
Winter Palace. The closest shootings of demonstrators occurred near
St. Isaac's Cathedral at the entrance to the Aleksandr Gardens leading
Palace Square in front of the Winter Palace. The massacre was
sparked when a Russian Orthodox priest and popular working class
leader, Father Gapon, announced his intention to lead a peaceful
protest of 100,000 unarmed striking workers to present a petition to
the Tsar, to call for fundamental reforms and the founding of a
constituent parliament. The protesters were unaware that the
palace was little more than an uninhabited icon of Imperial power, and
Tsar no longer resided there. The
Tsar was not informed of
the planned protest until the evening before, while no suggestion was
made that the
Tsar should meet a deputation or send representative to
accept the petition. Instead, the Minister for the Interior
drafted additional troops. As the strikers neared the palace bearing
religious icons and singing the Imperial anthem, the Tsar's troops
opened fire. While the number of casualties is disputed, moderate
estimates average around 1,000 men, women and children killed or
injured. The massacre, which came to be known as Bloody Sunday, was a
serious blunder on the part of the
Okhrana and was to have grave
consequences for the Tsarist regime. It was also to be the catalyst
for the 1905 Revolution.
St George's Hall (13), 1906: The throne draped and flanked by the
Imperial Romanov regalia, the Imperial family (to the left of the
throne) and the 1st State Duma witness the
Tsar opening the first
Duma. The Tsar's sister believed: "The workmen....looked as though
they hated us."
Subsequently, little changed politically in
Russia during this period,
Winter Palace remained in darkness. In 1913 the Romanov
dynasty celebrated its tercentenary, but the crowds that flocked to
see the processions were thin, the Empress appeared unhappy and the
heir sick. The
Tsar and Empress declined to hold a celebratory ball at
the Winter Palace, instead holding two small receptions, both of which
the Empress failed to attend. In 1914,
Russia was forced to go to
war as a result of the
Triple Entente Alliance. The
Tsar and Empress
briefly returned to the
Winter Palace to stand on their balcony to
accept salutes and homage from the departing troops. Ironically,
unlike the monarchs of Europe who stood on balconies adorned with
velvet, flanked by their families, the
Tsar and Empress stood, alone,
in one corner of an unadorned balcony, appearing almost lost next to
an oversized Imperial emblem, soon to be torn down by their own
subjects. As the departing troops saluted their monarch in front of
the palace, plans were being drawn up to store the palace's contents
and convert the state rooms into a hospital to receive returning
In 1914, the
Tsar and Empress bless their troops from the balcony of
the Winter Palace. They stand in one corner of the vast unadorned
balcony, tiny in comparison with the large emblem. The emblem was torn
down three years later.
In the initial stages of the war,
Russia endured heavy losses at the
Masurian Lakes and Tannenberg and it was to the
Winter Palace that
many of the wounded returned. Rechristened the
Nikolayevich Hospital, from
October 1915, the palace was a fully
equipped hospital, its staterooms transformed into hospital wards. The
Fieldmarshals' Hall became a dressing station, the Armorial Hall an
operating theatre. The small throne room became a doctor's mess room,
while more lowly staff were accommodated in the Nicholas Hall and the
Anteroom. Nurses were housed in the more intimate apartments once
reserved for members of the extended Romanov family. The 1812 Gallery
became a store room, the vestibule of the Jordan staircase the
hospital's canteen, and its landings offices.
1915, the Nicholas Hall, transformed to a hospital ward.
As the war went badly for Russia, its catastrophes were reflected in
Saint Petersburg. The
Tsar had decided to lead from the front, leaving
the Empress to effectively rule
Russia from Tsarskoe Selo. It was an
unpopular move with both the Tsar's subjects and the Romanov family,
as the Empress hired and fired indiscriminately often, it was
supposed, on the advice of her favourite, Rasputin. Following
Rasputin's murder by the Tsar's nephew-in-law in December 1916, the
Empress' decisions and appointments became more erratic and the
situation worsened and
Saint Petersburg fell into the full grip of
Forced to accept the hopelessness of both the war and the situation at
home, on 15 March 1917,
Nicholas II abdicated in favour of his
brother, Grand Duke Mikhail Alexandrovich. The Grand Duke promptly
refused to accept the throne without the support of the army and his
people. A provisional Government was appointed and many members of the
former Imperial family were arrested, including the former Tsar, the
Empress and their children. No member of the Romanov family have lived
Winter Palace since the abdication in 1917 and very rarely did
after 1905. Nicholas II, his wife and children were all held in
captivity until they were shot at
Yekaterinburg in 1918. Other members
of the former Imperial Family either met similar fates or escaped into
The Seat of the Provisional Government (1917)
Main article: Russian Revolution
Rastrelli's Neva facade upon which Aurora trained her guns
It was this turbulent period of Russian history, known as the February
Revolution, which for a brief time saw the Winter Palace
re-established as a seat of government and focal point of the former
Russian Empire. In February 1917, the Russian Provisional Government,
led by Alexander Kerensky, based itself in the north west corner of
the palace with the Malachite Room (4) being the chief council
chamber. Most of the state rooms were, however, still occupied by the
It was to be a short occupation of both palace and power. By 25
October 1917, the Provisional Government was failing and, realising
the palace was a target for the more militant Bolsheviks, ordered its
defence. All military personnel in the city pledged support to the
Bolsheviks, who accused Kerensky's Government of wishing to "surrender
Petrograd to the Germans so as to enable them to exterminate the
Thus the provisional government, assisted by a few remaining loyal
servants, who had formerly served the Tsar, barricaded themselves in
the palace. Many of the administrative staff fled, leaving the
palace severely under-defended allegedly by some Cossacks, Cadets, and
137 female soldiers from the Women's Battalion. Food ordered by the
occupants of the palace was commandeered by the Bolsheviks, and, in a
state of siege, the
Winter Palace entered the most turbulent period in
its history. According to Soviet history, five thousand sailors newly
Kronstadt were deployed to attack the palace, while the
cruiser Aurora positioned itself on the Neva, all its guns trained
towards the Palace. Across the water, the Bolsheviks captured the
Peter and Paul Fortress
Peter and Paul Fortress and turned its artillery towards the besieged
building. As the provisional Government, now impotent, hid in the
private rooms of the former Imperial Family, nervously surveying the
scenes outside, one by one the Government buildings in Palace
Square surrendered to the Bolsheviks, leaving the palace seemingly
only hours from destruction.
At 7:00 pm, the Government held its last meeting in the Malachite
Room, with the telephone and all contact with the outside world
disconnected. A short debate determined that they would not leave
the palace to attempt dialogue with the hostile crowds outside. With
the palace completely surrounded and sealed, the Aurora began her
bombardment of the great Neva façade as the Government refused an
ultimatum to surrender. Further machine gun and light artillery fire
were directed at the palace as the Bolsheviks gained entry via His
Majesty's own Staircase (36). In the ensuing battle there were
casualties on both sides until the Bolsheviks finally, by
2:00 am, had control of the palace. Leaving a trail of
destruction, they searched room after room before arresting the
Provisional Government in the Small Dining Room of the private
apartment (28), from where they were taken to imprisonment in the
Fortress across the river. Kerensky managed to evade arrest and escape
to Pskov, where he rallied some loyal troops for an attempt to retake
the capital. His troops managed to capture Tsarskoe Selo, but were
beaten the next day at Pulkovo.
The Malachite Room, seat of the Provisional Government, who were
arrested in the adjoining Private Dining Room. Painting by Konstantin
Following the Government's arrest, an alleged eye witness account by
an unnamed source records that the Bolsheviks began rampaging:
"The Palace was pillaged and devastated from top to bottom by the
Bolshevik[s]...Priceless pictures were ripped from their frames by
bayonets. Packed boxes of rare plate and china...were broken open and
the contents smashed or carried off. The library....was forced open
and ransacked.....the Tsaritsa's salon, like all other rooms, was
thrown into chaos. The colossal crystal lustre, with its artfully
concealed music, was smashed to atoms. Desks, pictures,
ornaments—everything was destroyed."
The Winter Palace's wine cellars literally fuelled the weeks of
looting and unrest in the city which followed. Arguably the largest
and best stocked wine cellar in history, it contained the world's
finest vintages, including the Tsar's favourite, and priceless,
Chateau d’Yquem 1847. So keen were the mob to obtain the
alcohol, that the Bolsheviks explored radical solutions to the
problem, one of which involved piping the wine straight out into the
Neva. This led to crowds clustering around the palace drains. Another
proposal, deemed too risky, was exploding the cellars. Eventually, the
problem was solved by the declaration of martial law. It has been said
that Petrograd, "perhaps with the biggest hangover in history, finally
woke up and got back to some order."
Winter Palace was now a redundant and damaged building symbolic of
a despised regime, facing an uncertain future. The Storming of the
Winter Palace was a historical reenactment organised by the Bolsheviks
on the 3rd anniversary in 1920. With thousands of Red Guards led by
Lenin, and witnessed by 100,000 spectators, the reenactment has become
one of the "best known" events of the Russian Revolution.
Ironically, the Red Guard actually broke into the palace through a
back door that was left open, guarded by wounded and disabled
reserves. This gave rise to the occasion being described as the birth
of the Soviet state. Nikolai Podvoisky, one of the original
troika, which led the original storming, was so impressed by the
re-enactment that he commissioned
Sergei Eisenstein to make his film
October. Certain features, such as the banks of floodlights which
appear in Eisenstein's film indicate that Eisenstein was more
influenced by the re-enactment than the original event.
Soviet ski troops by the
Winter Palace during Leningrad Siege
Gates to the Winter Palace. The gilded emblems of Imperial Russia,
torn down in 1917, are now fully restored.
October 1917, the palace was declared to be part of the
Hermitage public museums. This first exhibition to be held in the
Winter Palace concerned the history of the revolution, and the public
were able to view the private rooms of the Imperial Family. This
must have been an interesting experience for the viewing public, for
while Soviet authorities denied looting and damage to the palace
during the Storming, the Russian art connoisseur Alexander
Alexandrovich Polovtsov, who visited these rooms immediately before
and after the event, described the private apartments as the most
badly damaged area of the palace. The contents of the state rooms
had been sent to Moscow for safety when the hospital was established,
Hermitage Museum itself had not been damaged during the
Following the Revolution, there was a policy of removing all Imperial
emblems from the palace, including those on the stonework,
plaster-work and iron work. During the Soviet era, many of the
palace's remaining treasures were dispersed around the museums and
galleries of the Soviet Union. Some were sold for hard currency while
others were given away to visiting dignitaries. As the original
contents disappeared and other items from sequestered collections
began to be displayed in the palace, the distinctions between the
rooms' original and later use have become blurred. While some rooms
have retained their original names, and some even the trappings of
Imperial Russia, such as the furnishings of the Small and Large Throne
Rooms, many other rooms are known by the names of their new contents,
such as The Room of German Art.
Following the 1941–1944 Siege of Leningrad, when the palace was
damaged, a restoration policy was enacted, which has fully restored
the palace. Furthermore, as the Russian Government does not
categorically shun remnants of the Imperial Era as was the case during
Soviet rule, the palace has since had the emblems of the Romanovs
restored. The gilded and crowned double headed eagles once more adorn
the walls, balconies and gates. The
Winter Palace is no longer the hub
of a great empire, and the Romanovs no longer reside there, but the
crowned Russian eagle serves as a reminder of the palace's Imperial
Today, as part of one of the world's best known museums, the palace
attracts an annual 3.5 million visitors.
^ The numbering of the Winter Palaces varies. Most referees used in
the writing of this page refer to the present palace as the fourth.
That is: Trezzini, 1711 (I); Mattarnovy, 1721 (II); Trezzini, 1727
(III) and Rastrelli, 1732 (IV). Thus, to agree with the majority and
because these four versions were "palaces" each differing from the
last rather than recreations, this will be the numbering used here.
However, other sources count the log cabin of
Peter the Great
Peter the Great as the
first palace, while others discount Trezzini's 1727 rebuilding and
others count the 1837 reconstruction as a 5th Winter palace. One
source (not used here) numbers a temporary wooden structure erected to
house the court during the building of the present palace.
^ In 1721,
Tsar Peter I received the title of Emperor from the
Governing Senate. Scholars use the titles of "Tsar" and "Emperor" (and
their feminine forms) interchangeably.
^ a b c d e Budberg, p. 200.
^ Massie 1981, pp. 234–243
^ Massie 1981, pp. 355–366
^ Peter's Quay on the St Petersburg Website
^ a b c d Petrakova
^ Swiss Architecture on the Neva. Trezzini, catalogue of works. 1711
^ Budberg, p. 194.
^ Budberg, p. 196.
^ a b Cowles, p. 49.
^ a b Cowles, p. 58.
^ Hughes, p. 216.
^ a b Budberg, p. 198.
^ Budberg, p196
^ Cowles, p. 65.
^ Cowles, p. 64.
^ Ward, pp. 93–94.
^ Cowles, p. 68.
^ Brumfield, William Craft (
October 1983). Gold in azure: one thousand
years of Russian architecture. D.R. Godine. p. 264. Retrieved 13
^ Orloff, Alexander & Shvidkovsky, Dmitri (1996). Saint
Petersburg: Architecture of the Tsars. New York: Abbeville Press.
^ Cowles, p. 98.
^ a b Amery, Colin; Curran, Brian (2006). St Petersburg. Frances
Lincoln Ltd. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-7112-2492-6. Retrieved 13
^ a b c d Budberg, p. 201.
^ a b c d Cowles, p. 90.
^ "1787: Purchase of the John Lyde-Brown collection, London". State
Hermitage Museum. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
^ a b c d e f "The Great Hermitage". State Hermitage Museum. Retrieved
13 April 2011.
^ a b c Cowles, p. 93.
^ Kluchevsky, vol IV, p. 356.
^ Norman, pp. 3–5.
^ Cowles, p. 95.
^ Cowles, p.119.
^ Cowles, p.117.
^ Cowles, p. 121.
^ Crankshaw, Edward (1976). The shadow of the winter palace: Russia's
drift to revolution, 1825–1917. Viking Press. p. 53.
ISBN 978-0-670-63782-9. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
^ Budberg, p. 200.; states the gardens were created by Nicholas I; the
Hermitage Museum's own website state these walled gardens were the
creation of Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Nicholas II.
^ "Winter Palace". StPetersburgRussia.ru. Retrieved 14 June
^ Figures from King, page 169. These figures are widely quoted.
However, while the figure of 1,783 windows is likely, a figure of
1,500 rooms would have to include windowless basement rooms, multiple
servants rooms in the attics and closets etc. Compare the 2000 rooms
in the Vienna Hofburg and 1400 rooms of Schönbrunn, which is much
smaller than the Winter Palace. Available plans given by the Hermitage
Museum and the original 18th century plans do not show 1,057 rooms.
Cowles, p88, claims the
Winter Palace had 1,500 rooms, prior to the
erection of the adjoining Hermitage.
^ Images of many of the principal rooms can be obtained from the links
beneath the plan
^ a b "Catherine II (1762–1796)". State Hermitage Museum. Retrieved
13 April 2011.
Saint Petersburg Sights: a travel guide to the top 50 attractions in
Russia (Mobi Sights). MobileReference. p. 84.
ISBN 978-1-60778-932-1. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
^ The website of The State
Hermitage Museum records the Duke living in
these rooms, soon after his marriage to the Tsar's daughter, in 1839.
Tsar built the Duke and Duchess of Leuchtenberg the Marinsky
Palace (completed in 1844), thus enabling the Duke to escape to what
must have been less humiliating surroundings.
^ a b Norman, pp. 70–71.
^ "Valse des fleurs". Sitwell, Sacheveral. Retrieved 27 April
^ a b c d "The Fire of 1837 and Restoration of the Winter Palace".
State Hermitage Museum. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
^ de Custine, p. 50.
^ Hayward, Richard Mowbray (1998).
Russia Enters the Railway Age,
1842-1855. Boulder: East European Monographs. pp. 42–47.
^ Cowles, p. 167.
Winter Palace and museum". Saint-Petersburg.com. Retrieved 13
^ Letter to
Queen Victoria from Lord Carrington. Quoted: Maylunas, p.
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Media related to
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Coordinates: 59°56′25″N 30°18′50″E / 59.9404°N
30.3139°E / 59.9404; 30.3139
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