Favourites of Russian emperors

Favourite were the intimate companions of Russian rulers or other important person

The route will guide you through some places that remind abound the era of favouritism in Russia and tell you about the places where favourites lived

  • monuments 1 ,
  • palaces 4
13 km, 360 m
Menshikov Palace

Menshikov Palace

Saint Petersburg, Universitetskaya naberezhnaya, 15

Menshikov Palace was the first stone building in the city

Since 1981, it has served as a public museum, a branch of the Hermitage Museum.

The palace was founded in 1710 as a residence of Saint Petersburg Governor General Alexander Menshikov and built by Italian architects Giovanni Maria Fontana, and, later, German architect Gottfried Johann Schädel. It was opened in 1711, but the construction continued until 1727 (assisted by Domenico Trezzini, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, Georg Johann Mattarnovy and Jean-Baptiste Le Blond), when Menshikov with his family was exiled to Siberia and his property was confiscated.

In 1731, Cadet Corps were established and occupied the palace and neighboring buildings. At the end of the 19th century the Menshikov Palace was restored and became the museum of the Corps. In 1924, its collections were moved to the Hermitage and other museums. From 1956-1981 the Menshikov Palace was restored again and finally opened to the public as a branch of the Hermitage Museum with a collection of Russian art of the late 17th-early 18th century.

Marble Palace

Marble Palace

St. Petersburg, Millionnaya ul., 5/1

The palace is an outstanding sample of early Neoclassicism in Russia

The Marble Palace is a unique architectural monument of the second half of the 18th century. Built on the place of the Post Yard of Peter the Great's times, it has become a splendid end of the gala Palace embankment of the Neva.

The construction of the palace, started in 1768, lasted for 17 years and was completed in 1785. The main construction material of the exterior and interior decorations of the building was a natural stone: granite and marble of different colours, that imparted the palace a unique originality and afterwards gave it the name of the Marble Palace.

The Marble Palace amazed contemporaries by its luxury, magnificence of interiors, and beauty of sculptural and painterly decorations.

However, the first owner of the palace Grigory Orlov did not live to see its magnificence. He died in 1783 when the interior decoration of the palace had not been completed. Catherine II bought it from Grigory Orlov's heirs and gifted it to her grandson Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich on the occasion of his marriage to Princess Julianna Henrietta of Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld. She accepted Eastern Christianity and got the name of Anna Fyodorovna.

The Main Staircase is decorated with grey Ural marble. The stairs are made of dark grey sandstone. Paris' Judgement plafond by the German painter of the 18th century J. Krist is located in the centre of the Main Staircase ceiling.

Stone decoration of the Marble Room amazes by the variety of colours, elegance, richness, perfection of marble's processing, excellent style of its selection, and overall arrangement. Seven marble sorts of Greek, Italian, Ural, Karel, and Siberian rocks were used in the decoration of the Marble Room. The room is decorated with bas-reliefs by F. Shubin and M. Kozlovsky and Venus's Triumph plafond by S. Torelli.

A new stage in the life of the Marble Palace began in 1992, when the building was rendered to the Russian Museum.

4 km, 236 m
Razumovsky's Palace

Razumovsky's Palace

St. Petersburg, Moiki nab., 48

The palace of Razumovskiy on Moika was built as a small copy of country tsars' residences

Count Razumovsky spent 52 thousands of rubles annually to its keeping. Its distinctive aspect was a garden, consisted of two parts: apple and lime. The count ordered the most exotic trees, flowers and bushes for his garden. He shared the exotic novelties with the Botanical Garden and with everyone who had the same hobby. The unique garden disappeared in the first years of XX century. And the palace has been preserved till the present times and today it is the main building of the A. I. Gertsen Russian Pedagogic University.

3 km, 512 m
Monument to Catherine II

Monument to Catherine II

The artist M.O. Mikeshin started work on the plans in 1860. The designs were accepted in 1872, at which point the erection of the pedestal, made of 600 Serdobolsk granite blocks, had already began. Special ships were built to from the stones, which weighed up to 50 tons, from the Valaam Archipelago Island.

Surrounding the pediment are nine sculptural portraits of nobles from Catherine the Great's time (sculptor A.M. Opekushin); these are organised into groups of generals (P.A. Rumyantsev, G.A. Potemkin, A.V. Suvorov), officials (A.A. Bezborodko, I.I. Betskoy), naval commanders (V.Y. Chichagov, A.G. Orlov) and cultural figures (G.R. Derzhavin, E.R. Dashkova). 

1 km, 50 m
Tavrichesky Palace

Tavrichesky Palace

St. Petersburg, Shpalernaya ul., 47

Tavricheskiy or "Tauride" Palace is one of the largest and most impressive palaces in St. Petersburg

Located in the north-east of the historic centre, next to the Tavricheskiy Garden(formerly the grounds of the palace). Nowadays, the palace is home to the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and is not open for sightseeing. However, since February 2010, halls of Tavricheskiy Palace are being used to host Potemkin Evenings, concerts of 18th century music performed on authentic instruments by some of the best local ensembles.

The Tavricheskiy Palace was built between 1783 and 1789 by Ivan Starov, one of the leading court architects of the period, for Prince Grigory Potemkin, the close confidant and former lover of Catherine the Great. The palace was built and named in honour of his key role in the annexation of the Crimea, for which he was awarded the title "Prince of Tauris" in reference to the Ancient Greek name for the region. Starov designed the palace in strict Palladian style, and its simple facades were in sharp contrast to the richly decorated interiors and the lavish lifestyle led by Potemkin when in St. Petersburg, as he threw a series of increasingly grand and expensive parties in an effort to shore up his waning influence.

The palace was designed to face the Neva River across its extensive parkland, but in 1860 the city's first water-tower was built between the river and the palace, somewhat spoiling its majestic views.

After Potemkin's death in 1791, Tavricheskiy Palace was bought by the crown. Catherine's son, Paul I, loathed the lifestyle of his mother's court so much that he had the palace turned into stables for the horses of the Imperial Guard, and some of the original interiors were lost. The palace remained in the Imperial family until 1906, when it became the seat of the Imperial State Duma, Russia's first parliament. In 1917 it was briefly home to the Provisional Government and the Petersburg Soviet. In the Soviet Union, the palace was used the All-Union Agricultural Communist University and then the Higher Party School, a college of further education for top-level Communist bureaucrats.

The Tauride Venus in the State Hermitage is named after the palace. The first classical sculpture to arrive in Russia, it was ceded by Pope Clement XI to Peter I in 1718, and kept at Tavricheskiy Palace from the time of Catherine the Great until the mid-19th century.


4 km, 316 m