Marble Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia

Marble Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia

While the Marble Palace may not be as famous as the Winter Palace or Tsarskoe Selo, it is one of the most beautiful former imperial homes in St. Petersburg. The palace is conveniently located between Millionaya Street and the Neva River, so you can easily take a stroll to the palace without having to rearrange your day. 

History of the Marble Palace

This magnificent palace was originally built not for a member of the royal family, but for Count Grigory Orlov, a military officer. Orlov helped Catherine the Great in her conspiracy to dethrone her husband, Peter III. As a result, Catherine the Great became the Empress. The palace was a gift from the Empress to Orlov for his help during the coup and in the years that followed. Work on the palace began in 1768 with Antonio Rinaldi as the head architect. Interestingly, the palace’s name comes from the fact that 32 types of marble were used during its construction and decoration. 

Marble Palace as the royal residence

After Orlov’s death in 1783 Catherine the Great ordered her advisers to buy the palace from the heirs of the Count. The palace then became a part of the Imperial Estates and was given as a gift to one of the Empress’ grandchildren, Grand Duke Konstantin. Since that time and all the way until the October Revolution the palace served as a residence for some of the junior members of the Russian royal family. The palace underwent major renovations in 1843 when the majority of the rooms were remodeled from their former neoclassical style to renaissance and gothic decor. The only parts of the palace that remained untouched were the Marble Hall and the Grand Staircase. 

Marble Palace in the Soviet Union

After the October Revolution the Marble Palace was repurposed to house the Academy of the History of Material Culture, but this didn’t last long. From 1937 onwards the palace became the Lenin Museum. Unfortunately, during this time the interior decoration of the second floor of the palace were removed. In 1992 after the fall of the Soviet Union, the building was transferred to the State Russian Museum. Since then the palace has been renovated and now it is home to many permanent and temporary art exhibits. 

The palace is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week except Tuesday. On Monday it closes at 5 p.m. and the ticket office closes one hour before the museum, so make sure you get there before that time. 

Marble Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia
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