The inexpressive yellow facade on the Moika embankment hides a true treasure for lovers of ancient interiors, luxurious stairs and lounges, sculptures and paintings, modern theater and dark stories. Surprisingly, all this was almost completely preserved, despite the coups, wars, revolutions and crises. For the first time, tourists who enter are speechless because of the unusual aura of Yusupov Palace, full of artistic images created by talented architects, sculptors and artists for 300 years.
A little history
The Yusupovs descended from Nogai Khan Yusuf, who had gone to Moscow under Ivan the Terrible. The adoption of orthodoxy opened the way for a career in court. The clan was quickly rich, and in 1830 the eldest of the family, Boris Nikolayevich, bought a building in Moika from Prince Potemkin’s niece, which Catherine II donated. But she was not the first owner of the building, it was built in 1770 for Senator A.P. Shuvalov Since then, until 1917, 5 generations of the princes of Yusupov lived on the walls of the palace, rebuilding and decorating it continuously. After the revolution, the Museum of the Noble Life was located here, which was later transformed into the House of Culture of the educators.
What to see
Visitors will see the ceremonial interiors of the second floor, the home theater, the private apartments of the last prince Yusupov, his office, the Arab living room, decorated in the style of the palaces of the Middle East. Grace and harmony reign in the “feminine” half in the porcelain and Persian cabinets, there is a small pink sofa on which Princess Zinaida Nikolaevna posed for the artist V. Serov for the famous portrait. The music room has a rich collection of instruments and a mechanical organ by Thomas Hess. In the theater at night there are performances by a company of young actors.
You can listen to a fascinating story about the exhibitions of the guide’s palace, rent an audio guide (free of charge, on bail) or download a special application to your smartphone.
Exhibition “The assassination of Rasputin”
In the “garrison”, that is, the basement room of Yusupov Palace, the scene of one of the most mysterious crimes of pre-revolutionary Russia is reproduced. The lighting is stingy, a golden cross flickers on the nightstand, the atmosphere is the most depressing. On the table, loaded with bottles and food, is the wax figure of a bearded man in a raspberry shirt, and a young officer with a field uniform is standing nearby. This is Felix Yusupov, the last of a glorious family, who considered his duty to rid the monarchy of the scandalous old man who had discredited the dynasty. The guides tell in detail the story of the life and death of Grigory Rasputin, about his extrasensory skills, his incredible influence on the royal family. This exhibition is very popular.
Address: St. Petersburg, st. Decembrists, 21. Website.
How to get there: take the subway to the station. Admiralteyskaya, Nevsky Prospect, Sadovaya, Sennaya, Spasskaya.
Hours: every day from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Ticket price for adults: RUB 700, for children and students: RUB 500. The ticket price for the exhibition “Killing Rasputin” for adults is RUB 350, for children and students RUB 250. The prices on the page are for October 2018.
Russia’s oldest aristocratic family, the Yusupovs princes, had several palaces in different provinces of the country. However, the largest and most luxurious was the palace at Moika, in St. Petersburg. This huge house was owned by five generations of princes.
The appearance and interior of the palace fully reflected the state and influence of the Yusupov family in the Russian Empire. Only imperial residences could argue with Yusupov Palace with splendor.
Today, a tour of the northern capital will be incomplete without a visit to the palace of the princes of Yusupov in Moika. This house has become a place of worship for tourists, since it can only fully demonstrate the authentic lifestyle of the Russian aristocracy. In addition, Yusupov Palace keeps a grim secret: it was here that King Grigory Rasputin’s favorite was killed.
Prince Boris Yusupov acquired a residence in Moika in 1830. The building was in poor condition, but the family’s financial situation allowed the Yusupovs to quickly turn their palace into the most luxurious place in St. Petersburg. The restoration took place on a real scale. The builders, under the guidance of architect A. Mikhailov, rebuilt the facade, added the number of floors to the building and added an additional three-story building in the eastern part of the estate.
Yusupov Palace houses a theater, an extensive painting gallery, a winter garden and a conservatory. A wide front staircase led directly to the river, to its own promenade. Inside, the palace was decorated by decorators who previously worked in the castles of the European nobility.
After the death of Boris Yusupov, the new owners of the palace rebuilt and rebuilt it repeatedly. In the nineteenth century, modern communications were maintained in the building: sewage, heating, electricity and water supply.
The last time Yusupov’s palace was rebuilt in 1914: on the eve of Prince Felix’s wedding, the first floor chambers were completely renovated.
After the revolution, at the Yusupov Palace for a short time there was an exhibition dedicated to the murder of Grigory Rasputin and the Museum of Life of the Russian Aristocracy. Subsequently, the building was transferred to the department of educational work of Leningrad, which prevented the ruin of the palace during the Civil War.
During World War II, the residence of the Yusupov Princes in Moika served as a hospital. After the war, the building was recognized as a historical object of national importance.
In the 2000s, the rooms of the Yusupov Palace were completely restored, they housed numerous exhibits that clearly show the life of the Russian aristocratic family in the 18-19 centuries. Some rooms are rented for weddings and holidays. The theater in the house of the Yusupovs still works, classical and modern works are organized, concerts are performed.
The theater company actively participates in the presentation of the exhibitions, making its visualization interactive and extremely interesting. The most popular in Yusupov Palace is the exhibition “The assassination of Rasputin”. Tourists descend to the basement, where the emperor’s favorite was killed. Here, in a narrow room with low arches, there are wax figures: sitting at the table, Gregory eats poisoned cakes; Nearby is his future murderer: Prince Felix Yusupov. Tourists visiting the exhibition have the effect of presence.
Yusupov Palace in Moika for two centuries has been the center of social life in St. Petersburg. This building recalls the noise of the dresses in the dances, the happy screams and the creak of the open bottles of champagne at the aristocratic parties.
The palace is a true architectural masterpiece, one of the most beautiful buildings in the northern capital.