The unique palace erected by Paul the First completed the history of eighteenth-century architecture and became the only ensemble in Russia in the style of romantic classicism. Today, the unique building is a museum in which anyone can get acquainted with Emperor life story, see the unique collection of paintings and architecture, and listen to fascinating lectures on the theme of history!
The Palace is located in St. Petersburg on Sadovaya Street, 2. Two buildings are also adjacent to the museum - Vostochny, located on Engineering Street, 10 and Zapadniy, located on Engineering Street, 8.
You can get to the Gostiny Dvor metro station, located on a green branch - you only have to walk 700 meters from the station right along Sadovaya Street to the castle. Going underground to the Nevsky Prospekt station, as some guides advise, is not necessary at all - the road will take the same time, but chances of getting lost are much higher. You can also take tram № 3 and get off at the Mikhailovsky Palace stop - you will immediately see the building and definitely not get lost.
The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m., the ticket office closes at 4 p.m. The day off is Tuesday. Every month on the 18th, open door days are held for schoolchildren and students. On Thursdays, there is an extended working day, and the museum can be visited until 9 p.m.
Mikhailovsky Palace is a striking example and the final element of Petersburg architecture era of the 18th century. The palace was built on the site of the former Summer Palace, created by Rastrelli for Elizabeth Petrovna. By order of Paul the First, the palace was dismantled immediately after the death of the emperor's mother.
The construction of the new castle was carried out according to the ideas and sketches of Paul himself and began in 1784. The design took almost twelve years, and during this time architects turned to different styles of architecture and patterns that Paul met while traveling abroad. At various stages, such eminent architects as Viollier, Brenna and Bazhenov were connected to the palace’s design.
Paul could realize his plan only after accession to the throne - the coronation took place in 1796, and on February 28, 1797, the castle was solemnly laid. Architect Brenna, who developed the final project and worked on the artistic decoration, led the construction process. The ceremonial consecration of the castle took place on November 8, 1800, but the finishing work inside continued until March 1801.
The castle became the imperial residence, but, unfortunately, Paul the First enjoyed his new palace for only 40 days - the emperor was the victim of a court plot and was killed in his own bedroom. Soon after his death, all valuables were taken out of the castle, the front rooms were converted to accommodate employees of departmental institutions, and the remaining rooms were given out for housing. In the early twenties of the nineteenth century, the building was transferred to the possession of the Main Engineering School, and a couple of years later the castle was renamed into Engineering. The patron saint of the school was Emperor Nicholas the First, and after his death, the institution was renamed the Nikolaev Engineering Academy, which was subsequently graduated by Sechenev, Cui, Totleben and Dostoevsky.
Over the next two centuries, the castle housed military schools, Soviet state structures and other institutions, which caused repeated redevelopment and rebuilding of rooms and interiors. Only in 1991 the palace passed under the control of the State Russian Museum.
Today, 21 halls are open for visiting in the palace, and the following ones are the most popular:
In these chambers, Maria Fedorovna received guests, held receptions and balls. In 2002, the room was completely renovated to restore the interiors, but the gilded stucco decorations and chandeliers with exquisite ruby glass remained intact.
In this hall, especially honored guests and ambassadors from other countries were received. The gallery was destroyed for the extraction of marble during the reign of Nicholas II, and the German bomb during the blockade completely destroyed the colonnade and half of the ceilings. The gallery was painstakingly restored from archival documents and photographs.
This is one of the few halls that survived after centuries of palace history and retained the original decoration of artificial marble. Initially, the hall was planned as a rest room, but a model workshop was located here during the years of the school.
Traditionally, all excursions in the palace begin and finish here. Today, flights of stairs can be seen as they were in pre-revolutionary times. One element of decor is especially interesting - a two-headed eagle with a Maltese cross on its chest. It was the symbol of the Pavlovian era of St. Petersburg.
Today a collection of samples of foreign painting is stored here - original paintings by Lagrenet, Torelli, Groot, Rotary and Robertson, as well as an exclusive collection of products that were produced at the Imperial Porcelain Factory - personalized dishes, vases, busts and figurines of the pre-revolutionary era.
It adjoins the throne room of the emperor and originally served as a gathering place for the Knights of Maltese Order. In the period of 19-20 centuries, the hall was rebuilt several times, and the original decor was irretrievably destroyed. In the sixties of the last century, the hall was renovated, and the original appearance was partially restored, and in 2007 the attic floor was reconstructed.
It enters the set of ceremonial halls of Empress Maria Fyodorovna. The decoration was done according to Brenna’s drawings using two chandeliers for 50 thousand candles, which were originally designed for the Winter Palace. In the hall there are also two fireplaces from Siberian porphyry. In the mid-nineteenth century, the hall was divided into three rooms for the offices of the engineering school. In the period 2002-2003, the hall was completely restored to its original appearance.
You will not be disappointed if you visit the following exhibitions and individual exhibits:
There is a belief that this small statuette of a guardsman is dedicated to a soldier to whom a youth appeared and ordered to build Mikhailovsky Palace. The figurine even has a name - Lieutenant Kizhe. There is a legend that if you throw a coin into it from the bridge and hit the head, it will burst into an angry tirade and a portion of unique soldier curses.
Here you will find a unique collection of paintings, prints, drawings and antiques of the last tsars' dynasty. All exhibits are authentic and dedicated to the life of St. Petersburg inhabitants. The collection was gathered from the storerooms of the Russian Museum and donations from private collections.
This gallery presents the history of portraiture development. Here you can see the works of Venetsianov, Repin, Bryullov and Kramskoy. The portraits depict great state figures, writers, composers and musicians, military leaders and generals. The last gallery hall demonstrates the pre-revolutionary chronicle from the archives.
This is one of the museum’s most popular halls - it contains the work of sculptors from the 18th century to the present day, including avant-garde works of twentieth-century masters and examples of Soviet constructivism.
This is an interactive project in the western pavilion of the museum dedicated to Paul the First. The exhibition offers a lecture hall for adults, quizzes and puzzles for children and three-dimensional hologram of the imperial crown (the original is stored in the Kremlin).