Marble palace is one of the most recognized buildings in St Petersburg, constructed in the 18th century. It was built in 1768-1785 under the order of Catherine II, who intended to present it to her favorite Grigory Orlov.
The palace is called “Marble” thanks to the material used in construction. In fact, there were 32 types of marble applied as well as granite.
There is an interesting legend which says that Catherine the Great decided to create a project of the palace on her own. Once she showed it to the architect Antonio Rinaldi, he approved it right away and was allowed to start the construction.
Neva view on the Marble Palace. Photo taken from the website
Sadly, Empress’s favorite could not live in the palace, since he suddenly died. Then Catherine redeemed the palace from Orlov’s relatives and presented it to her grandson – Konstantin Pavlovich. However, Konstantin didn’t move to the palace until its engagement with Anna Feodorovna. At that time, Marble palace included a huge gallery of paintings, as well as a wonderful library and a unique collection of porcelain. After a while, Catherine made a decision to evict the grandson from the palace, as his behavior was not appropriate.
In 1832 Nicolas I granted the Marble palace to his second son – Konstantin Nikolaevich. In the meantime, the palace was reconstructed under the supervision of Alexander Bruillov. The architect tried to avoid radical changes of facades and general layout of the construction.
Marble Palace interior. Photo taken from the website.
After the revolution in 1919-1936, the Russian Historical Academy of Material Culture located in the Marble Palace. Year later the halls were occupied by the exposition of Leningrad branch of Central Museum of Lenin. As the rooms were practically misused, rooms partially lost their glory, unique fireplaces and clothes were lost. All the happenings changed the whole palace, only the Main staircase and the Marble hall saved their initial look and Rinaldi’s finishing works.
In 1992 the palace was transferred to the State Russian museum. Since then it started a new era of its existence. Special reconstruction works took place. Nowadays, the palace includes permanent expositions of the world’s painting of the second half of the 20th century. Part of the rooms presents the large exhibition of Joseph and Yakov Rzhevsky. On the third floor you can view the exponents of Russian and foreign avant-garde.
In 1994 an equestrian statue of Alexander III by sculptor Trubetskoy was established in front of the palace. Marble palace is one of the pearls of St Petersburg that you should definitely visit.
|Millionnaya Street 5/1|
|Metro / Subway|
|2M, 2MA, 46, 49|
Marble palace is a part of my private tour:
Also, you can customize a tour or book inside excursion.