The Moika Palace or Yusupov Palace was once the primary residence of the House of Yusupov. The building was the site of Grigori Rasputin's murder in 1916. The palace was first built around 1770 by the French architect Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe. Over the years numerous well-known architects worked on the palace, and it is known for the hodgepodge of architectural styles. A. Mikhailov reconstructed the building in 1830-s when the Yusupov’s became owners of this palace . This time the modern appearance of the palace was formed.

From 1830 to 1917, the palace belonged to the House of Yusupov, an immensely wealthy family of Russian nobles, known for their philanthropy and art collections. Thus in the time of Imperial Russia, the palace became known as the Yusupov Palace. Fantastic and luxuries interiors of the palace were not inferior the royal palaces. More than 40,000 works of art including works by Rembrandt, jewelry, sculptures kept in the palace. Yusupov collection was nationalized and placed into the Hermitage and other museums.

The palace is most famous, however, because of the actions of its last prince Felix Yusupov. He was thought to be even as rich as the tsar. In Russia Yusupov owned 57 palaces, including four in St. Petersburg. The palace on the Moika was the prince’s favorite residence in the capital. The exact events surrounding Rasputin's death are much in dispute. The story, according to Yusupov, is that on the night of December 16, 1916 he, along with Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich of the House of Romanov, invited Grigori Rasputin to the Moika Palace. Supposedly, they served Rasputin cakes and red wine laced with cyanide — supposedly enough poison to kill five men. Concerned that Rasputin appeared unaffected, Yusupov retrieved a gun and shot Rasputin in the back. Taking him for dead, the party prepared to leave. Yusupov returned a short while later to find Rasputin still alive. He and his conspirators shot Rasputin, at close range, three more times, but Rasputin was still attempting to stand back up and flee. Desperate they clubbed Rasputin in the head repeatedly with an iron bar, wrapped him in a blanket, walked outside and tossed him into the Moika River. His autopsy supposedly found that neither the poison, nor the multiple gunshot wounds, nor the clubbing caused his death — instead he died of hypothermia. Much of the account, from Yusupov, is considered implausible.

The Russian Revolution followed shortly after Rasputin's death and once the Soviets came to power, they confiscated the property of the nobles. In 1925, the palace was handed over to the city's Education Commissariat. While most nobles' palaces were converted to mundane use, the Education Commissariat decided to preserve the mansion as a public museum. Today the palace serves as a Palace of Culture for Educators and it also functions as a museum to Rasputin's murder. The courtyard where Rasputin attempted to flee from his killers is now occupied by a kindergarten playground adjacent to the palace.

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Founded: 1770
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Russia

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User Reviews

tejas kotwal (10 months ago)
One of must visit places. You can buy tickets directly at the ticket counter. You should also see the Rasputin murder scene. They provide a audio guide which you can take with 1000rub as deposit and get money back on return of the audio guide. Clicking photos is allowed.
TREBOR KEEPER (12 months ago)
Whilst the gardens are pleasant,the visiting of the palace is a complete waste of time.The furnishings were missing like in the diningroom,just an empty large space,the bedroom had a very small amou t of non applicable tables and chairs etc,One could imagine the missing things however in order to understand one really should have those main pieces in the appropriate rooms. That is the whole idea for visiting these places of history..
Anita Kovzhik (15 months ago)
This is one of the few palaces that actually seems like a family could live there. The path through the rooms brings out imagination to fill in the gaps. The study, the theatre and the baths are my favorite places.
D K (16 months ago)
A wonderful palace with a truly royal interior. Dozens of fabulous rooms with interesting English and Russian descriptions. Worth a visit for sure.
Ivan Andres Arias Nieto (17 months ago)
That so nice site to travel with your familly and i need to go other time
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