St. Petersburg


View of the Winter Palace from the north-west corner, 1821 Galaktionov Stepan Philippovich View of the Mikhailovsky Castle from the Summer Garden, 1800 Lori, Gabriel Ludwig the Elder Admiralty Square, 1841 Perrot Ferdinand-Victor Mikhailovsky Castle - view from the Summer Garden, 1800 Laurie Gabriel Ludwig the Elder
View of Palace Square and the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, 1847 Sadovnikov Vasily Semenovich Summer Palace of Peter I, 1809 Martynov Andrey Efimovich View of the Mikhailovsky Castle, 1800 Giacomo Quarenghi Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace and Anichkov Bridge, 1850s Joseph Charlemagne

The special value of the architectural monuments of St. Petersburg is largely due with the fact that it was the capital of the Russian Empire from 1712 to the early 20th century.
Grand‑scale and magnificent palaces, created in St. Petersburg and its suburbs in no way inferior to the best examples of Western European architectonics.
This private tour introduces you with the most important palaces, as well as includes the visit to Yusupov Palace on the Moyka.

The main points during a private tour
"Palaces of St. Petersburg"

Menshikov Palace – the former Palace of Alexander Menshikov, Peter's companion and the first governor‑general of St. Petersburg
Winter Palace – the residence of the Russian Emperors, the whole museum complex (i.e., the Winter Palace and the various Hermitage buildings) is now known as the "State Hermitage"
Peter's Summer Palace – the residence of Petr I, a fine example of early 18th architecture
St Michael's Castle – the residence of Paul I, palace was built in the style of romantic classicism
Marble Palace – was built from 1768 to 1785 by order of Empress Catherine II for one of the her foremost favorites Count Grigory Orlov
Sheremetev Palace – the former mansion of Counts Sheremetev
Beloselsky‑Belozersky Palace - since 1884 palace belonged to the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich
Anichkov Palace ‑ built by Empress Elizabeth for her lover Alexei Razumovsky. As if to continue this tradition, Catherine the Great gave it later to her favorite, Highness Prince Grigory Potemkin, General Field Marshal and statesman
Vorontsov Palace ‑ was built for the Count Mikhail Vorontsov
Stroganov Palace – belonged Stroganovs, famous patrons and collectors, during two centuries from the early 18th to the early 20th centuries
Razumovsky Palace – palace of the last Hetman of Ukraine, General Field Marshal and President of the Academy of Sciences of Count Kiril Razumovsky
Nicholas Palace – was built for the children of Nicholas I, this time for his son, Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholaevich
Yusupov Palace on the Moyka
Portrait of Prince Felix Yusupov Sr., Count Sumarokov-Elston, 1914 Becker, Nicholas Portrait of Princess Zinaida Yusupova, 1894 Francois Flameng

The Yusupovs family first mentioned in 1563, when the sons of the Yusuf ‑ Khan of the Nogai Horde ( the name given to the nomadic tribes of Tartary ) and the ancestor of the genus - arrived in Moscow. Prince Felix Yusupov, Count Sumarokov‑ Elston Sr., father of Felix Yusupov was one of the richest men in Russia, suggesting that he is not inferior in the richness to the tsar. Interiors of the ceremonial halls and rooms of the Yusupov Palace on the Moika amaze its luxury and riches, competing with the palaces of the imperial family. Even the grand Duchess Olga, Nicholas′s sister, had been struck as a child by its: "...drawing rooms and tables crammed with crystal bowls filled with uncut sapphires, emeralds, and opals − all used as decorations".

Palace of Yusupovs on the Moika River

The Yusupov Palace on the Moyka was first built around 1770 by the French architect J.‑B. Vallin de la Mothe. Over the years numerous well‑known architects worked on the palace, and it is known for the hodgepodge of architectural styles. One of the most striking sights of the Yusupov Palace is a palace theater stylized baroque, total 180 seats for spectators.
The best description of the splendor and wealth Yusupov Palace on the Moyka is an excerpt from the memoirs of Prince Felix Yusupov:
"... The house was a present from Catherine the Great to my great‑great‑grandmother, Princess Tatiana. It was a real museum, filled with works of art, a place one could visit again and again without ever tiring of its beauties. Only some of the drawing rooms, ballrooms and galleries had retained their eighteenth century appearance. The picture galleries led to a small Louis XV theater.
After the performances in the theater foyer there were suppers for the guests were held. Sometimes great receptions were held at which the guests numbered up to two thousand people. On these occasions supper was served in the galleries, and the foyer was reserved for the Imperial family. These receptions were always a source of amazement to foreign guests. They were astonished that hot suppers in Sevres services, or in gold and silver dishes, could be served to so great a number of guests in a private house."

Portrait of Prince Felix Yusupov Jr., Count Sumarokov-Elston, 1908 R. de San-Gallo Photo of Grigory Rasputin

In the Yusupov Palace on the Moyka occurred one of the most dramatic episodes in the Russia's history – the murder of Grigory Rasputin ( "Mad Monk" ) on the night of December 17, 1916 by Prince Feliks Yusupov, Count Sumarokov‑Elston Jr. and others loyal to Nicholas II. They believed that Rasputin possessing mystical power over the Empress Alexandra has a detrimental and damaging impact on the family of Emperor Nicholas II and leading Russia to the abyss and crash. Conspirators hoped that, freed from the influence of the starets, the czar might grasp the reins of political power and stabilize his government. This murder was a purely political act. A visit to the Yusupov Palace on the Moyka includes an overview of ceremonial halls, living quarters of the Yusupovs family, exposition "Murder of the Grigory Rasputin".

Illumination on the Moika Embankment in St. Petersburg, 1856 Sadovnikov Vasily Semenovich
View of the Millionnaya Street and Marble Palace, the second half of the 18th century. Malton, Thomas the Elder
Duration of the guided tour "The Grand Palaces of St. Petersburg" – 3 hours
Car Minivan Coach
Number of pax 1 2 3 4 - 9 10 - 14 15 - 19
Price are in EUR per person 165 82 61 52 37 35
Price includes:
entrance fees
transportation by car, minivan or coach
assistance of an English‑speaking guide
(German, French, Spanish, and other languages upon request)

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