Anichkov Palace

The oldest building on Nevsky Prospekt

Anichkov palace is the oldest building on Nevsky prospekt, one of the ten Imperial palaces of Saint Petersburg. This building has a special history: it was often presented, mostly as a sign of affection or for wedding. The palace is situated in the city centre on the promenade of the Fontanka river close to Anichkov bridge. In fact, the palace obtained its name from the bridge, which, in turn, was called in the name of an engineer-lieutenant colonel Mikhail Anichkov whose regiment built there a crossing.

History

The construction process started in the middle of the 18th century, when as a result of palace coups the Empress Elizabeth ascended the throne. At that time those were the outskirts of St Petersburg, while Nevsky prospekt – only a glade. That is why, the palace was planned a decoration people would see, entering the Northern capital of Russia. Its main entrance faced Fontanka and had a special canal with a harbor dug towards the palace.

The project was designed by Mikhail Zemtsov. After his death, Bartolomeo Rastrelli continued the works and built the palace that was then surrounded by a beautiful garden with flowers and fountains.

Elizabeth presented the palace to her favorite Alexey Razumovsky. After his death, the building was occupied by his brother Kirill. However, Catherine II bought the palace and then gave it to her favourite – Grigory Potemkin. She also provided him with 100 thousand rubles for restoration works. Anichkov palace was rebuilt in the classicism style, while the harbor was swamped.

Bird-eye view on the Anichkov palace complex. Photo taken from the website

In the end of the 18th century the Imperial family again purchase the palace and turned it in the Imperial Cabinet. Architect Giacomo Quarenghi added two separate housings in front of the palace. In 1809 Alexander I presented Anichkov palace to his sister Ekaterina. But years later, after her departure the palace was again redeemed and became a wedding present to the Emperor Nicolas I. Architect Rossi made other adjustments, and the palace got a new housing, a couple of garden pavilions and a fence.

In 1841 the palace was a present to Nicolas’s son, Alexander II. 25 years later it was again presented to Alexander III, who was afraid of terrorist attack and ordered to build a huge wall around the building. After his death, Alexander’s wife Maria Feodorovna lived in that palace. 

After the revolution and until 1925, Anichkov palace served as a museum of old Petersburg.

Since 1937 the former Imperial residence has belonged to children. First, there was Leningrad Palace of Pioneers that changed its name in 1990 to the Palace of Youth Art.

During the first winter of the Siege, there was a surgical hospital, and already in May 1942 the palace opened its doors to children. Over the Siege, it continued working, offering various courses to children and having a New Year celebration.  

Nowadays, there are over 1300 sports and art courses. It is a place of scientific conferences, festivals and contests. It is the largest centre in Russia that offers extra curriculum activities to children. You can also visit the palace as a part of excursion.


Schedule

The excursions are according to the monthly changing schedule and should be booked in advance.


Public Transport

Address
Nevsky Prospekt 39
Metro / Subway
Gostiny Dvor
Buses

Dvorets Tvorchestva Unykh

3, 3M, 3MБ, 7, 22, 24, 27, 181, 191
Trolleys
Dvorets Tvorchestva Unykh1, 5, 7, 10, 11, 22

 


Tours

Anichkov palace is a part of my private tour:

Also, you can customize a tour or book inside excursion.


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