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.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.