Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg witnessed the most significant events of the last centuries. Regal persons came here, meetings of elite and the most significant figures of history took place here and Grigory Rasputin – the most scandalous and ambiguous figure in the history of Russia finished the course of life exactly here.
If you want to plunge about the atmosphere of old times, to see how representatives of the nobility lived there, to admire work of the famous architects and artists, then the Yusupov Palace is the place which you surely should visit!
If you want not only to get to the palace, but also incidentally admire the city, safely go to a way by buses No. 3, 22 and 27 to a stop "Theatre square" or by trolleybuses No. 5 and 22 to a stop "the Palace of Work". You don’t want to spend too much time in way, do you? Then you can use the St. Petersburg subway to “Admiralteyskaya” or “Nevsky prospect” stations. If you stopped near the "Garden", "Sennaya" or "Spasskaya" metro stations, then you can use services of the K124, K186 or K350 route taxi (marshrutka) to leave at a stop "Glinka's corner and the embankment of the Moika River".
Individual visitors and small excursion groups enter the lock from Dekabristov Street, 21. The entrance for organized groups and visitors of private theatricals is located on Moika River Embankment, 94.
Actually Yusupov Palace has belonged to Yusupov' dynasty only since 1830. For the first time the building is mentioned on the first cartographic images of St. Petersburg. During that period it was a small wooden palace belonging to Peter I's niece. In 1726 the building was granted to the Semenovsky regiment, and in 1742 it was redeemed by the general Shuvalov, the notable grandee at court of Elizabeth Petrovna.
Only in 1770 the construction of the stone palace for the son of the grandee Shuvalov according to the plan of Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe began. The structure of the building, certainly, is differed from modern. The side projections were only two floors high, and there was a ceremonial entrance arch to the yard of the house from the river. Since those times we can still mention an invariable triumphal arch and a seven-meter fencing with a classical colonnade.
19 years later after the beginning of construction Shuvalov died, and the house passed to his children – to Aleksandra and Pavel who sold the estate to Ekaterina the Second, and she, in turn, presented a manor to the close girlfriend – the countess Branitskaya. In 1830 Boris Yusupov redeemed the palace from the elderly hostess with all interior and a decor for 250 thousand rubles bank notes and started its reorganization right there. During reorganization of the palace a lot of things in its shape significantly exchanged:
After that Yusupov' dynasty owned the palace up to revolution of 1917, and it became known as the Yusupov Palace, despite a huge number of the other real estate, being owned by a princely sort.
Today the palace represents a multipurpose complex in which there was a place to the architectural and fine arts, the modern arts and, of course, the theatre!
What is surely worth watching in the Yusupov Palace
The refined bedroom of the princess overlooks a picturesque courtyard. Indoors the silence and a cosiness always reign. The room is divided into two unequal parts by an arch. In the biggest, alcove part there once was a double bed. The ceiling is decorated with the distinguished painting executed by Vladimir Konashevich, the artist who presented us in the Soviet years remarkable illustrations to books by Korney Chukovsky. Moreover, we can observe a painted plafond and a magnificent fireplace from black and white marble.
The bedroom of the princess smoothly goes down to the bathroom and transition to personal rooms of Felix Yusupov. The copy of a wedding tiara of Irina Aleksandrovna which was once made for it by the jewelry house of AXENOFF is exposed there.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century winter gardens were at the peak of noble fashion. The green corner blossoming all the year around was obliged to be in any rich house, any residence or the lock. Yusupov Palace did not become an exception, however at the beginning of the twentieth century the magnificent garden had to be reconstructed and turned into Oak dining room, and magnificent greens was decided to transfer to east wing, closer to personal apartments of the prince. The semi-circular room with the Ionic columns, abundance of mirrors and a special niche for the fountain was attached to the Small dance hall. Today this magnificent hall with soft light and a refined interior is used for holding small exhibitions and presentations.
It is one of the most unusual rooms in the house demonstrating a really distinguished taste of the young prince. On his order the superficial pool reminding the Roman bath was established here. Marble steps smoothly go down to a dock apron, and in the depth of the room the bench for rest is located. Marble lion's mascarons which of mouths to the pool water, and a marble fireplace opposite to the classical window portico surrounded with two columns and pilasters flew remained in an interior of the room.
It also enters a complex of "youth apartments". The hall is decorated with two close formation of the Corinthian columns sheathed by artificial marble. Floors are covered with a type-setting parquet, and the ceiling is decorated by plafond painting with sculptural reliefs on antique subject. The chamber and cosy Winter garden adjoins to this symmetric and harmonious room. This hall is the biggest in the east wing of the palace.
Near Irina Aleksandrovna's rooms the small vaulted room which is looking south semi-circular is located. This room was planned as a private office of the princess and the place where it could be engaged in tranquillity and privacy in painting. Especially for the drawing room the enamelled furniture was ordered and also eminent artists, such as Beloborodov, Chekhonin, Konashevich and Tyrsa carried out painting in it. Today the small exposition devoted to works of these artists is shown in it.
The private theatre of Yusupov was always a heart of a social life of the Palace. Musical and theatrical performances brought together the high-ranking and famous guests among whom quite often there were also members of imperial family. The stage of the theatre created in the nineteenth century reached our days in original state. Today you can visit the place where Polina Viardo, Franz Liszt, Anna Pavlova, Glinka acted, opera singers and ballerinas of Mariinsky theatre and Mikhaylovsky theatre shone.
The house church was constructed in 1878 and till 1917 all major celebrations – a wedding of the princess Yusupova and Felix Sumarokov-Elston, christened their son and the granddaughter took place here. After the revolution the former interior remained for seven years more and after it was reconstructed into the lecture hall. Only in 2005 large-scale restoration of church began, and it lasted for ten years. Today each guest of the palace can visit a church service on Wednesdays and see an interior of church as it was during lifetime of a princely couple.
This most modern and multipurpose space in the palace combined an ancient interior of the nineteenth century and the modern loft. Today exhibitions and the presentations, chamber performances and light shows are held here.
If there is a good weather, and you have a good mood it is necessary to get a pleasure of walking on a picturesque palace garden. Aromas of herbs and flowers, beautiful beds, shady trees and elegantly issued paths – the wonderful place for romantic walk or a privacy!
In the semi basement room of the palace the scene of one of the most mysterious and tangled crimes committed during the pre-Revolutionary period is reproduced. The twilight reigns in Garconierre, the waxwork of Rasputin sits at the table filled with viands and bottles, and the young officer Felix Yusupov who decided that his holy duty is to save Russia from Rasputin stands nearby. Guides will tell you the story about life and the death of the infamous aged man and will answer to all your questions with pleasure.
As well as in any historical cultural object, there is a certain set of rules and recommendations in the palace for visitors.
It is strictly forbidden in art interiors of halls to:
It is important to remember that in case of causing damage to exhibits and objects of protection of the Palace, the administration has the right to impose on the violator a quite large penalty – 25 thousand Russian roubles. Besides, the causer harming it will be obliged to pay the estimated cost of restoration works.
Also there are several recommendations for visitors of the Yusupov Palace:
Important: Architectural features of the palace do not represent possible to provide access to an exposition "Rasputin's Murder" to visitors on wheelchairs, baby carriages or other large-size vehicles because of too narrow corridors. For the same reason to some categories of citizens it will be difficult to visit orchestra seats of Private theatre. In this case it will be most convenient to be located on a tier.