The Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg is a “must see” on any tour or St. Petersburg shore excursion.
Compared to the grand suburban palaces like Peterhof and the Catherine Palace in Pushkin and even Gatchina Palace, the Yusupov Palace fits into the city environment in which it resides. It is only when you enter that you get a sense of its grand scale and wealth required to build it
Built in 1770 during the reign of Catherine the Great, the Yusupov family had “status” to preserve as there were many other wealthy families who were not a part of the ruling Romanov family. Among these families were the Sheremetevs who owned the Fountain House in St. Petersburg and for whom the main airport in Moscow is named. It was a tall order to “keep up with the Sheremetevs”. The Yusupov Palace did its job well.
Upon entering the Yusupov Palace you are greeted with a magnificent marble staircase. Your visit will reveal all manner of functional, albeit exquisite, rooms and a variety of special purpose rooms which include a ballroom and a spectacular private theater. The wealth of the Yusupovs enabled them to entertain not only the aristocrats but also the Russian royal family. Technically the wife of Yusupov was royal. She was the niece of Czar Nicholas II.
Art lovers will enjoy the Yusupov Palace. The family loved art and culture. It is obvious even with the pieces in the palace today. Vast numbers of art works were looted by the Bolsheviks and are on display in various museums around Russia including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow.
It is said that some of the most famous works of art owned by the Yusupov family,including a Rembrandt, were sold to support the family in exile in Paris after the Bolshevik revolution.
Look at this painting of a charity ball staged in the ballroom of the Yusupov Palace. (click on the image to see a larger version)
A MURDER MOST FOUL -
Perhaps the event which most distinguishes the Yusupov Palace is the murder of one who was as crude as the Yusupovs were refined. That would be Gregori (Gregory) Rasputin. A fake faith healer, Rasputin had become essential to the Tzarina Alexandra. Her son, heir to the Russian throne, suffered from hemophilia and Rasputin convinced her that he had the power to relieve the boy’s suffering. Seeing that Rasputin’s influence was causing Czar Nicholas II to govern more irresponsibly than ever, Felix Yusupov and others lured Rasputin to the Palace where they murdered him.
While in Paris, where he died in 1967, Felix Yusupov filmed an introduction to a movie entitled “I Shot Rasputin”.
When you tour the Yusupov Palace you will definitely visit the state rooms, the music room and galleries of fine art owned by the Yusupov family. Only if you receive a proper tour with a tour guide recognized by the palace will you see the area of the palace where Rasputin was murdered. (There are periodic tours of the Rasputin murder area offered by the Palace but they are in Russian language only)
In order for St. Petersburg tour guides to have permission to tour in the Rasputin exhibition of the Yusupov Palace they must receive training and be credentialed by the the Palace. Re-certification must be accomplished each winter or they lose that certification. RussianTourGuide.com enjoys a special relationship with the Yusupov Palace and can take you, not only to the Rasputin area but also the Boudoir area, if enough notice is given.
There are evening cocktail parties,with live chamber music, which our clients can enjoy ! Ask us about a “Magic Evening at the Yusupov Palace”.
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