The Anichkov Palace

The location of this palace is intriguing. The Anichkov Palace looks towards Nevsky Avenue, the main street of the city, not with its front but with its side wall. This is due to the fact that Nevsky was not St. Petersburg’s central street in the 18th century; in those days it was the rivers that played this important role with embankments hosting the front face of important buildings.

But most interesting is the fate of this palace. It had been presented as a gift for over two centuries: empresses used to present it to their favourites in the 18th century; in the 19th century the palace became the property of the Romanov family and its members used to receive it as a wedding gift.

The work on the palace project began in 1741 and was performed by several architects including the famous Bartolomeo Rastrelli who worked on the interiors of the palace. The construction was completed by 1754.
The southern boundary of St. Petersburg went along the Fontanka River during the middle of the 18th century. There was a bridge crossing the river which played the role of the city’s entrance gates. The gate was guarded by the Preobrazhensky regiment headed by Lieutenant Colonel M. Anichkov whose name was given to the bridge and the nearby palace.
The famous architect Karl Rossi attached a small service building to the palace and erected two one-story pavilions in the courtyard. He also redesigned the family chapel. The famous artists of that time, B. Medici and F. Torricelli, painted the chapel’s walls.

The Anichkov Palace remained an imperial residence until the end of the 19th century. After the Revolution of 1917 the Museum of Old St. Petersburg was opened in the palace. Fifteen years later it was used as the Palace of the Pioneers (a Soviet take on the young Scouts organisation). In the 1930s two rooms of the palace were painted into “fairy tale rooms” based on the famous books of Pushkin and Gorky. During the Perestroika period the palace was renamed to the “Palace of the Youth” but its former function – the place of leisure activities for children – remained unchanged. Tour to st Petersburg