Catherine II founded the Smolny Institute for Girls, officially the Society for the Upbringing of Noble Girls, in 1764. Inspired by Saint-Cyr, a boarding school for girls in France, Smolny was part of Catherine's educational plan to raise cultured, industrious, and loyal women.
Smolny Institute was named so due to being close to the Smoly cathedral that was built on the place where a resin plant would once be ("resin" for "smola" in Russian).
Starting form 1918 the building houses the city government up to these days.
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