The Yusupov palace -enjoy the authentic rooms of the wealthiest noble palace of the XIX century
The gorgeous Yusupov palace is one of St Petersburg most impressive palaces. Please do not judge by its modest looking exterior: inside you will enjoy immense aristocratic grandeur and wealth of the XIX century. Moreover, the Yusupov palace (or palace on Moika) is associated with most interesting historical events of the XX century which altogether makes it one of must-sees in St Pete. View our private tours and learn about other amazing attractions of the city.
The history of Yusupov family started long before the foundation of St Petersburg. The Family originally had muslin routes- they descended from the rulers of Nagai Horde (a number of Mongol and Tartar tribes who occupied the territory from the north of Black sea shore up to the Caspian sea).
We may say that the family story starts from times of khan Yusuf whose descendants were sent to Russia to serve for the well-known Russian Tzar Ivan the Terrible. This is when they changed their family name to Yusupov (their family name literally comes from the name Yusuf) and when they changed from Islam to Russian Orthodox religion.
Many generations of Yusupov family lived in Russia and served well for the Romanov family and needs of the Russian Empire. The Yusupovs became second wealthiest family after the family of the Emperor. Some historians even say that Prince Felix Yusupov( the last owner of the luxurious palace) even was the richest man in Russia.
Totally, in Russia they possessed about 40 residences, including the marvelous Archangelskoye near Moscow, Koreiz Palace in Crimea, from where they immigrated after 1917… However, the palace on Moika (named after the river nearby) is the most opulent and extraordinary interesting.
The Yusupovs purchased the palace in the mid-XIX century. Beautifully decorated by the best architects, it soon became the most incredible noble home of St Petersburg. Best ball parties and receptions were held in the marvelous rooms of the palace. The Yusupovs were well-known as art-lovers and collectors, and, thus, the palace featured a large art gallery with the collection of Western-European art and jewelry. After 1917, though, it was nationalized and some masterpieces were moved to the Hermitage museum.
However, the palace is unique as it has retained plenty of authentic interiors and can impress even the most sophisticated and experienced travelers.
The palace features wonderful staircase, decorated with Italian marble and a chandelier of extraordinary beauty, statues in niches, intricate mouldings of the ceiling.
Walking up the amazing staircase you will soon admire a tapestry sitting room, featuring French Sevres porcelain, original French furniture and replicas of French tapestries (Napoleon’s gift to Nicolas Yusupov –originals exhibited in the Hermitage museum).
Then soon comes a beautiful grand rotunda with incredible walls, furniture and porcelain.
Of special interest is the ballroom where Anna Karenina film was shot (the Russian one). You will stop with admiration looking at exquisite chandelier decorating the dancing hall. Through the open door you will see the elegant classical Banquet hall.
Being literally overwhelmed with the beauty you will proceed and finally reach the most famous and most fabulous interior- the private theatre of Yusupovs. A small, intimate private theatre is a real diamond of the palace. Decorated with gilded carvings, combining baroque and rococo elements, it invites visitors to enjoy its impeccable style seating on the original chairs and sofas facing the XIX century authentic stage, orchestra pit and wonderful ceiling. It is possible to be not only a tourist of the palace as a museum, but to be a visitor of the theater in the evening.
The theatre is famous for the fact that Anna Pavlova herself danced on its historical stage.
If you buy a full ticket it will cover not only the first floor but also more intimate rooms on the ground floor such as Prince Felix’s billiard room decorated in the Turkish style, a family library, musical parlour, sitting room in the style of Henry the II, and, the most exclusive- the fantastic Moresque Parlour.
Moresque or Moorish drawing room (or parlor) reflects interest of the family in their Islamic roots. Its interior reminds us of Alhambra palace in Granada – a real masterpiece of Spanish-Moorish heritage. You will see the busts of a Moorish lady and a Moorish man, ornate doorways, walls and ceiling in the Moresque style.
Palace owners had great artistic taste, and their immense wealth allowed them not only to hire prominent architects and get only precious masterpieces to satisfy their hunger for art, but also to introduce best modern equipment and innovations. For example, the Yusupov palace on Moika was the first palace with electricity in the city.
Above all, the palace became a venue for many important events in history of Russia. It was a place of the murder of Grigory Rasputin- a Russian holy healer and a close friend of Nicolas II and his wife, a man who was believed to heal their son Alexis from hemophilia. Notoriously famous member of the family Felix Yusupov was the one who arranged his assassination.
Today you can see the exhibition commemorating the story of life and death of the Russian holy man. You will see original pictures showing influential people of that controversial period, authentic documents, as well as wax figures of Felix Yusupov and Rasputin.
Felix with his family left Russia after October 1917. Taken from Crimea by the British ship Marlborough they escaped from former Russian Empire leaving most of their heritage to the Soviet government… Just like other aristocratic refugees, they fled to European capitals. Felix and his wife settled down in Paris.
Enjoy every inch of the palace fabulous rooms! Make your visit to Yusupov palace a truly unforgettable and unique travel experience with an expert!
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