Winter Palace

Winter Palace Russian Studies Geography History Government Ethics

The Russian city of St. Petersburg, which Peter the Great began building in 1703 (with a fortress on an island in the Neva Delta), would turn fifty years old in 1753.  Peter’s daughter, the Empress Elizabeth, decided to do something special to mark the occasion. 

To celebrate, she commissioned a new palace along the river’s embankment.

Known as “The Winter Palace,” the new structure was not as grand in 1753 as it is today. Over the years, the official royal residence - which was designed, in the Baroque style, by Francesco Bartholomeo Rastrelli - had additions. 

The royal family used the home from 1762 (its completion date) to 1917 (when the Bolshevik Revolution dethroned the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty).

Today, the Winter Palace (with several adjacent buildings) is owned by the State Hermitage Museum.  Catherine the Great’s small art collection, which she started circa 1764, has grown to over 3 million objects which date from prehistoric to modern times. 

The palace is as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside.

During the 1917 Revolution, royal insignia (including on the Palace gates) were removed.  Today, however, those insignia are back in place.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Nov 14, 2016

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Russia Travel Group.



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