There’s not need to mention, that Russia has rich history and poses enormous treasures which makes discovering the country quite an enthralling process. But if you want to immerse into the epoch of pompous court receptions and to witness the grandeur of Imperial Russia during your tour to Russia, here’s a list of Top 7 Palaces that Russia is fiercely proud of.
Undoubtedly, the Winter Palace is a famous attraction of St.Petersburg, and a must stop on your visit to Russia. Being one of the greatest royal residences of the world, today this outstanding palace is one of the 6 buildings housing the Hermitage Museum.
The site incorporates the largest collection of paintings in the world. There are over 3 million works of art and world culture artifacts, and if you only stop by each object for a minute or so, it would still take you several days to get through the main hall! It is not easy to comprehend, you have to see it for yourself!
It is claimed, that the color of the Palace has been changing throughout its history, from warm yellow to a more dense one and even was repainted in red brick color during the reign of Emperor Nicholas II. Today the facades of the Palace are painted in an emerald-blue, white, and gold colors - nothing but a true treasure on the banks of Neva River, reflecting the majesty of the Russian Empire. You can see it on these tours.
Saint Michael's Castle
The unusual architectural phenomenon, the Saint Michael's Castle, is located in the very heart of Saint Petersburg. This place is claimed to be one of the most odd highlights of the city because of the legends and mysteries associated with it. It’s believed that the spirit of the emperor Paul I is still roaming around the castle's walls.
All the facades of the Mikhailovsky Castle are different. The contemporaries called the interiors of the Palace a miracle of luxury and taste. Designed by the outstanding architects and sculptors of that time, the ceremonial residence of the emperor also served as a museum of ancient, European and Russian art. Later, it was transformed into the Army Engineers School and renamed to the Engineer's Castle.
Nowadays, the Mikhailovsky Palace hosts a branch of the Russian Museum. There is a permanent exhibition of the art gallery and the exposition dedicated to the history of the Castle.
Grand Kremlin Palace
The Grand Kremlin Palace, who haven’t heard of it? When on a tour to Moscow, don’t miss a chance to visit its territory and museums. It once served as the residence for Moscow's tsars, today this brilliant complex of rooms and palaces is open for tourists.
Visiting the Palace can be compared with travel back in time as it conserves the spirit of different epochs of Russian history. Initially, the Palace served as the Moscow residence of Russian emperors and their families. At the present time, the President's inauguration, state ceremonies and hospitable receptions of foreign leaders take place in the lavishly decorated halls.
The composition of the Grand Kremlin Palace is quite peculiar. The territory includes the earlier Terem Palace, nine churches and over 700 rooms. The luxurious interiors of the halls represent the blend of old Russian, Eastern and Italian architecture so the visit to this gorgeous palace will be a memory of a lifetime.
The Nikolaevsky Palace
Located not far away from St. Isaac's Cathedral, the Nikolaevskiy Palace in St. Petersburg it represents a huge neoclassical edifice, built for the Imperial family. The Palace was constructed for the third son of Nicholas I. In 1894 the building was transformed into the Xenia Institute for Noble Young Ladies.
The Nikolaevsky Palace is an architectural ensemble consisting of several buildings and each of them has its own decorative appearance. The simultaneous use of several styles, such as classicism, Italian renaissance and baroque, adds some special charm. The building is beautifully decorated with sculptural ornaments, columns and pilasters of Ionic and Corinthian orders.
Today the Nikolaevsky Palace bears the name of the Palace of Labour (Dvorets truda) and a large part of the building is rented to commercial enterprises.
The Catherine Palace
A real gem of architecture, the Catherine Palace, is a place which is impossible to cross out your travel list and is a must visit during St. Petersburg tours. A pompous baroque Palace has a more than 300 year history. Located 25 km south of St. Petersburg in the town of Pushkin (former Tsarskoye Selo), the Imperial residence was admired by Empress Catherine and played the role of the main center of court life. The Palace oversaw the fanciest balls and masquerades in the country.
The Palace oversaw the fanciest balls and masquerades in the country.
The Grand Palace is the compositional center of the Tsarskoye Selo Park. Blue-and-white facades are richly decorated with golden moldings and figures of atlantes, caryatids and lion masks. The interior halls are no less splendid. Probably, the most famous room is the Amber Cabinet, decorated in amber panels with golden leaves and mirrors. All in all, this architectural masterpiece will immerse you in the times of Imperial Russia and is definitely worth your attention.
The Yusupov Palace
Set on the Mioka River, The Yusupov Palace is one of the few surviving residences of wealthy families. This location is most famous for one dramatic episode in the history of Russia - the assassination of Grigory Rasputin, who had a lot of influence over the last monarch family of Russia.
The Palace is often called the encyclopedia of St. Petersburg's aristocratic interior. This mansion preserves the front apartments, art gallery, home theater and luxurious residential quarters of the Yusupov family. It's no wonder that it was widely known throughout the nobility of St. Petersburg as balls and receptions, which amazed everyone with luxury and wealth, were constantly held there.
The Peterhof Grand Palace
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries Russian and European geniuses of architecture worked hard on building the majestic Peterhof Grand Palace, laid out on the order of Peter the Great. Often called the "Russian Versailles”, the exquisite palace-ensemble is a part of UNESCO World Heritage.
Decoration of the facades of the building, painted in bright yellow, is marked by restraint as there is nothing superfluous in it. The interior of the palace poses a myriad of halls such as the Blue Reception Room, the Dance Hall, the White Dining Room and so on.
Among the vast rooms, the Oak Study of Peter the Great occupies a special place. Here you can witness the personal belongings of one of the most important figures in Russian history.
Now, the Grand Palace is a unique historical and art museum with the collection of about three and a half thousand items, including paintings, fabrics, furniture as well as personal belongings of the former owners of the Palace.
Of course, following the footsteps of the greatest emperors and soaking up the noble atmosphere of the most beautiful Russian palaces is an unforgettable experience. That’s why it’s a must to set aside some time during your trip to Russia to admire this breathtaking sites of the country’s cultural heritage.