Emperor Alexander II

The route will guide you through the places that saved memories about the times of Alexander II reign

Alexander was the most successful Russian reformer since Peter the Great. His most important achievement was the emancipation of serfs in 1861, for which he became known as Alexander the Liberator. The tsar was responsible for numerous other reforms including reorganizing the judicial system, setting up elected local judges, abolishing capital punishment, promoting local self-government through the zemstvo system, imposing universal military service, ending some of the privileges of the nobility, and promoting the universities. Despite these reforms, during his reign, his brutal secret police, known as the Third Section, sent thousands of dissidents into exile in Siberia.

  • points of interest 2 ,
  • parks 1 ,
  • temples and cathedrals 1 ,
  • exhibition halls 1 ,
  • palaces 2
11 km, 174 m
Small Marble Palace

Small Marble Palace

St. Petersburg, Gagarinskaya ul., 3

For some time the palace belonged to the wife of Alexander II, princess Dolgorukova

This palace, built between 1857 and 1862 is the second palace in Saint Petersburg, after the Marble Palace, to have a façade entirely covered in marble. 

It is well-known for its Louis XIV main stairs considered as a marvel. Originally there were mirrors facing the five arched windows. The rooms are decorated in Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI styles. 

 

1
Summer Garden

Summer Garden

Saint Petersburg, nab. Kutuzova, 2

The Summer Garden is one of the places where one can feel the atmosphere of Peter's times

The garden with a collection of sculptures and the Summer Palace that was the first Emperor's residence constitute a single museum complex. 

The Summer Garden is a pearl in the garden necklace of Petersburg. Peter I really liked this garden. It was laid out in 1704. Time has changed the garden a lot. However, its original planning still remains. 

Peter I wanted the garden of his residence to be as beautiful as the famous gardens of European monarchs. To decorate the Summer Garden he commissioned marble busts and statues from Italy. This purchase laid the foundation of the collection of sculpture of European level.

The fence on the Neva side of the Summer Garden is an architectural masterpiece of universal fame. The impressive monumentality merges miraculously with lightness, simplicity, and grace.

1 km, 10 m
2
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

St. Petersburg, nab. kanala Griboedova, 2, lit. B

One of the most beautiful, majestic and colorful cathedrals in the Russian Revival (Pseudo-Russian) style, it was built on the place where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated

The temple was built from 1883 till 1907 in the place of the tragic events that happened on the 1st of March 1881 – lethally wounding Emperor Alexander II who was heading to the place of the parade in the Field of Mars that moment. His son Alexander III ordered to build there a church for regular services for the repose of the killed father. That is why the name of the Church on Spilled Blood stuck to the temple, although it is officially called the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

The money was donated to the construction of the temple not only by Russians but also by the habitants of Slavic countries. On the walls of the bell tower there are more than a hundred of mosaic coats of arms of the cities, towns, governorates and uyezds who funded the building of the church. There is also the coat of arms of House of Romanov.

The cross of the bell tower is topped with a gold-plated kingly crown in recognition that the biggest contribution to the creation of the church was made by the august family. 4,6 millions of rubles were invested into the construction in total.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The Church contains over 7500 square meters of mosaics—according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture. This mosaic ensemble was worked at by artists V.M. Vasnetsov, M.V. Nesterov and  A.P. Ryabushkin.

For decoration of the heads there were used copper pieces covered with freeze-proof colored enamel (having the area of 1000 square meters). The height of the highest dome is 81 meter. All along the perimeter of the temple building there are set 20 granite plaques with gilded writings describing Alexander II’s deeds. From the side of the Mikhailovsky Garden the temple is surrounded with a cast-iron fence having a with floral made to a sketch by Parland.

After the revolution the Church on Spilled Blood was closed and not restored for a long time. It was even heard to be going to get built-down. In 1970 it was taken under the patronage of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral which invested 80% of money into its restoration. In 1997 the Church on the Spilled Blood threw open its doors for visitors as a museum housing a large collection of mosaic icons (having the area of more than 7 thousand square meters).

889 m
3
Mikhailovsky Manege

Mikhailovsky Manege

St. Petersburg, Manezhnaya sq. 2

St.Petersburg's oldest expo center

The first exhibitions took place in the middle of the XIX century.

Now "Michailovsky Manege" is a quite modern exhibition complex, the floor place is more than 4356 sq.m There are a conference hall and a restaurant for 100 and 50 people respectively.

None
4
Anichkov Palace

Anichkov Palace

St. Petersburg, Nevsky pr., 39 A

Anichkov Palace is a former imperial palace at the intersection of Nevsky prospekt and the Fontanka River. The oldest building on Nevsky Prospekt that survived until today, it took its name from the nearby Anichkov Bridge

The construction of the Palace commenced in 1741, under the orders of the Empress Elizabeth I who just started reign the state after the latest palace coup. The project of the various-story building, the form of which was similar to letter ‘H’ (‘N’ in Cyrillic alphabet) was developed by one of the most renowned architects in the Russian capital Mikhail Zemtsov. The building works were finished in baroque style upon the guidance of Bartolomeo Rastrelli.

Back then, Fontanka used to be the outskirts of the city, Nevsky Prospekt was a branch trial. So, it was necessary to erect a mesmerizing construction that could adorn the entrance to the capital. There was a special channel with a small pond at the entrance to the palace dug out near Fontanka. That accounts for the unique location of the palace which is situated sideways to Nevsky Prospect. The palace with its beautiful garden, fountains and flowerbeds which resembled the Palace in Peterhof, was presented by the Empress Elizabeth I to her favorite (and likely spouse), Aleksey Razumovsky. Thereafter, the palace used to be a nice wedding present for aristocrats. After the Empress Catherine II’s enthronement, the palace reverted to the crown – the Empress bought the Anichkov Palace from Alexey’s brother Kirill and later donated the palace to her closest favorite Prince Grigory Potemkin. Another part of her present was 100 thousand roubles for fitting out the palace ‘to his own taste’. As a result, the palace undergone reconstruction in 1776-1778 supervised by the architect Starov and turned into a great example of the classical architecture in a strict sense. The building was renewed and considerably altered: for instance, various-story structure as well as stucco decorations were eliminated, and the pond was covered up with sand.

At the end of the XVIII century the palace was restored to the crown and adapted to accommodate Her Imperial Majesty's Cabinet. Later, though, the Imperial Cabinet occupied the new building which was erected on Fontanka Embankment along Nevsky Prospect by Quarenghi. Quarenghi’s construction obstructed the overview of the palace from Anichkov Bridge.

Alexander I bestowed the palace on his sister, Grand Duchess Ekaterina Pavlovna of Russia and her groom Prince Friedrich Ludwig of Mecklenburg-Schwerin as a wedding present. The future Russian Emperor Nicholas I moved into the palace in 1817. At that time, Carlo Rossi supervised architectural re-planning and reconstruction of the interiors of the palace. He also instilled the palace and its garden into a grand architectural ensemble on Alexandrinsky Square (now known as Ostrovskogo Square). After Nicholas I ascended the throne, he often stayed at Anichkov Palace. It was also a place where royal balls and banquets were held. In 1837, at the year when the Winter Palace was being reconstructed after the fire, august family was living in the Anichkov Palace for a while. After the Emperor’s death in 1855, the palace was renamed ‘Nikolaevsky’ but locals kept on calling it ‘Anichkov’. The palace was home for the future Emperor Alexander II, the son of Nicholas I who was educated and brought up by the Russian poet Zhukovsky, Pushkin’s friend. Speaking of, Zhukovsky had his own flat in the palace. He also taught Russian to the Empress Aleksandra Fyodorovna. On October 23, 1836 the poet Alexander Pushkin was invited to Imperial audience, where Nicholas I insisted on his refraining from duel.

In 1841 Nicholas I bestowed the palace to his son Alexander for his wedding, quarter-century later the palace was granted by Alexander II to his son Alexander III. Being afraid of terror attacks to the Winter Palace, Alexander III preferred to stay at the Anichkov Palace and made it his official residence. At that time a blank wall was constructed from the side of the square.

Following the October revolution, the Bolshevik government nationalized the Anichkov palace and designated it the Saint Petersburg City Museum. Since 1925 the palace was closed. In 1934 it was decided to establish "The Palace of Pioneers" there, and after the reconstruction on February 12th, 1937 it was opened. During the Great Patriotic War there was a surgical hospital at the palace. It functioned the first winter during the Siege of Leningrad and housed a lot of wounded people. In the spring 1942 the hospital was moved out of the palace, and ‘The Palace of Pioneers’ welcomed pioneers of Leningrad again.

None
5
 Winter Palace

Winter Palace

St. Petersburg, Dvortsovaya pl., 2

The Winter Palace is the former royal palace. Nowadays  it is a part of the main museum complex of the Hermitage

The monumental and elegant Winter Palace built by order of the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna by the architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1754-1762, is a striking monument of the Baroque style. The palace is a brilliant example of a synthesis of architecture and decorative plastic art. All the facades are embellished by a two-tier colonnade. Forming a complex rhythm of verticals, the columns soar upwards, and this motion embraces the numerous statues and vases on the roof. The abundance of stucco decoration - fanciful surbases and window architraves, mascarons, cartouches, rocailles, and a variety of pediments - creates an extremely rich play of light and shade that invest the building's appearance with magnificence.

Developing upon one and the same architectural motif, Rastrelli gave each of the four facades of the palace a different structural rhythm. The southern facade, overlooking the square, has a formal grandeur. Here the architect pierced the building with three arches to create a grand entrance into the courtyard and accentuated it with the vertical elements of paired columns. The majestic northern facade, giving the impression of an endless colonnade, faces the broad expanse of the Neva. The western facade, across from the Admiralty, is reminiscent of the composition of a countryside palace with a small courtyard. The monumental eastern facade with its massive side blocks forming a large courtyard is turned to Millionnaya Street, where the mansions of the nobility were located.

For 150 years the palace served as an imperial residence. In November 1917 it was declared a museum. The exhibition placed in the palace includes grand halls and chambers, collections of the antiquities of Eurasia and the East, as well as collections of European and Eastern paintings, sculptures, and decorative art works.

Ticket price - 800 rubles

Citizens of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus - 400 rubles

Children, students, pensioners of the Russian Federation - for free

None
6
Russian Academy of Arts

Russian Academy of Arts

St. Petersburg, Universitetskaya nab., 17

Museum of the Russian Academy of Arts is a unique art collection not only in Russia, but throughout the world

The Russian Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg, informally known as the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, was founded in 1757 by Ivan Shuvalov under the name Academy of the Three Noblest Arts. Catherine the Great renamed it the Imperial Academy of Arts and commissioned a new building, completed 25 years later in 1789 by the Neva River. The academy promoted the neoclassical style and technique, and sent its promising students to European capitals for further study. Training at the academy was virtually required for artists to make successful careers.

Formally abolished in 1918 after the Russian Revolution, the academy was renamed several times. It introduced free tuition; students from across the country competed fiercely for its few places annually. In 1947 the national institution was moved to Moscow, and much of its art collection was moved to the Hermitage. The building in Leningrad was devoted to the Ilya Repin Leningrad Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, named in honor of one of Russia's foremost realist artists. Since 1991 it has been called the St. Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.

None
7