Winter Palace

Winter Palace

Located between the Palace Embankment and the Palace Square, the current Winter Palace or Zimniy Dvorets ( _ru. Зимний дворец) in Saint Petersburg, Russia was built between 1755 and 1762 [ King, page 168.] as the winter residence of the Russian tsars.

The first Winter Palace was a simple one storey building created for Peter the Great in 1711 on what was then the edge of his new city. [ King, page 168.] . it took its name from the Winter Canal, a channel which flowed from the Neva River to the Moika.When it proved to be too small German architect Georg Johann Matternovi designed a two storey replacement which as built between 1719 and 1720.Empress Anna commissioned architect Domenico Tressini to raze the existing building and create a more regal three-storey replacement with a 100 rooms. When Count Apraxine built a mansion close by on the Neva River which displeased Anna by being more luxurious than the Winter Palace, he pacified her by gifting it to her. Anna in 1732 commissioned Bartolomeo Rastrelli, to remodel Apraxine mansion into the latest incarnation of the Winter Palace.

Anna's successor Elizabeth wanted a palace to rival Versailles and commissioned Bartolomeo Rastrelli to created what would be the fifth and final version of the palace. He created a Rococo-style, three-storey green-and-white palace with 1,786 doors, 117 staircases [ King, page 169.] and 1,945 windows. Catherine the Great was its first imperial occupant. The palace was so large that a former servant and his family unknown to the palace authorities moved into the roof of the palace. They were only discovered when the smell of the manure from the cow that they had also smuggled into the building with them to provide fresh milk was investigated. [ King, page 169.]

On 1 December 1837 the palace was badly damaged by fire. Rather than raze it and build a new palace Tsar Nicholas I had the complex completely restored. [ King, page 169.]

After the February Revolution in Russia, the Winter Palace was the headquarters of the Russian Provisional Government.

The assault of the Winter Palace by Bolshevik forces was the official milestone of the October Revolution.

The Palace is now part of a complex of buildings known as the State Hermitage Museum, which holds one of the world's greatest collections of art.As part of the Museum, many of the Winter Palace's 1,057 halls and rooms are open to the public. The Military Gallery, opened in 1826, accommodates 332 portraits of military leaders of the Russian army during Napoleon's invasion of Russia.

ee also

*The movie, "Russian Ark", an innovative single shot walkthrough with period reenactments spanning three hundred years of court meetings, balls, and family life in this building.
*Palace Embankment and Palace Square - where the palace is situated
*Catherine Palace - the summer residence of Catherine the Great
*Hermitage Museum - the present use of the Winter Palace with the largest collection of art in the world
*Summer Palace - predecessor of the Winter Palace as the chief royal residence in Saint Petersburg
*Peterhof - the Tsar's summer residence outside Saint Petersburg
*Tsarskoye Selo - the Tsar's winter residence outside Saint Petersburg


Further Reading

*cite book|author=King, Greg| title= The Court of the Last Tsar| location=Hoboken| publisher=John Wiley & Sons|origdate=2006| format = hardback| id = ISBN 13 978-0-471-72763-7| pages = 559 pages

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