- The Yusupov Palace
The Yusupov Palace was once the residence of the wealthiest family in Russia- the Yusupovs. The decor of the palace has been redesigned, redeveloped and reconstructed several times since it was original built in the 1760s for Peter the Great's niece. The family acquired the palace and moved in 1830 where they lived until the October Revolution in 1917. The inner rooms are remarkable with their rich décor. The painted ceilings of the Large Rotunda, the Red and Blue drawing-rooms and the Corinthian colonnade of the White-Columned Hall are especially attractive. The Turkish Study, the Pompeian, Oak, Heinrich It's Parlour and the Music Parlour are decorated with motifs of different historical styles. The exotic Moresque Drawing-room is a veritable highlight of the palace. The private domestic theatre is built in the Baroque style and some of the ground-floor rooms in neoclassical style.
The Yusupov family was extremely well respected and were the trustworthy associates to the tsar and his family. It is reported that at a time the family's assets were worth more than that of the tsar, totalling approximately 1000million roubles, (500million dollars), which is difficult to imagine using today's values. The family was well known for their lavish art collection, of which some still rests in the palace, but a lot of the artwork was nationalised and moved to the State Hermitage.
The palace is probably most famous for being the location of the murder of Grigory Rasputin. Those closest to the monarchy didn't trust Rasputin and felt that he threatened the stability of the Russian empire. On the night of 16-17 December 1916, the favourite advisor to the Emperor Nicholas II's family, was murdered by a group of monarchists, including Prince Felix Yusupov, Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich, Duma deputy Vladimir Purishkevich, Lieutenant A.S.Sukhotin and Doctor Stanislav Lazobert. The murder is surrounded in a cloud of mystery with legends reporting that Rasputin didn't die from the attempted poisoning, the gun shots, nor the battering over the head, but from hypothermia after being thrown in the river. You can find out more about the death of Rasputin on the special tour and you can see the room where all these events supposedly took place. After the 1917 revolution, the family, not only left the palace but also left Russia. The palace became state property and was converted into a museum about the lifestyle of the nobility. Today it houses the Palace of Culture for Educational Workers.
Since the 1950s restoration work has been carried out on practically all the interiors. Frescoes, carvings, marble, Venetian mirrors, gilded chandeliers, soft silks, tapestries and superb sets of furniture, are all part and parcel of the magnificent decor of the palace.