Traveling to Russia or St. Petersburg visa-free ? Don’t Miss Yusupov Palace
If you’ve always dreamed of traveling to Russia, here’s your chance to see a key player in Russian history—Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. The former home of the wealthy and influential Yusupov family, the palace took on a more sinister aspect when an assassin used the home to stage the murder of Grigory Rasputin, a controversial, yet influential political figure in turn-of-the-century Russia.
Yusupov Palace Early History
Located on the Moika River, Yusupov Palace has kept most of its original interior, unlike many of its contemporaries.
Close to the famed Mariinsky Theatre, the site originally belonged to one of Peter the Great’s nieces, the Tsarevna Praskovia Ivanovna. During the 18th century, a new owner, Andrei Shuvalov, razed the original wooden structure to construct a new palace designed by French architect Jean-Baptist de la Mothe.
A Famed Murder Mystery
The royal line of the Yusupov family bought the palace in 1830. On December 16, 1916, assassins—with the help of Yusupov heir Felix Yusupov—entered the home, poisoned, shot, and beat Rasputin in the palace basement. Finding the “mad monk” still alive, the killers threw him into the half-frozen Malaya Nevka River. According to most accounts, Rasputin finally succumbed to hypothermia.
In the palace, historians have crafted a display from photographs, papers, and wax figures to illustrate what took place that day, as well as the subsequent investigation. Many details of the killing remain murky even to this day.
The Palace’s Post-Revolutionary History
Following the Bolshevik Revolution, the education ministry of the newly formed Soviet Union appropriated the building but kept most of the original interior. Currently, in addition to the museum, the building hosts theater performances and classical music concerts in the palace’s theater and its white-columned great hall.
In addition to the building’s spellbinding history, its architecture alone is well worth the price of a ticket. On its exterior, its imposing white columns and frieze contrast with its golden-yellow walls, creating a sense of immensity and depth.
Inside, white columns repeat its classical motif. A colonnade of lights extends throughout the interior halls. Decorative molding, ceiling murals, and gilded chandeliers give texture and sparkle to the palace interior.
A sweeping staircase of Carrera marble which once stood in an Italian residence creates a dramatic focal point. As the story goes, while on holiday in Italy, Boris Yusupov saw the staircase in his host’s home. Though Yusupov offered a huge sum for the feature, the owner balked. Undeterred, Yusupov bought the entire home, transporting only the staircase back to his palace in St. Petersburg. There it stands until this day.