The Marble Palace

The Marble Palace was a lavish gift from Catherine the Great to her lover and the most expensive palace in St. Petersburg at the time of its construction between 1768-1785. It is almost astonishing a building of this sophisticated design was constructed in the 18th century. It was the first time natural stone was used to face a building in St. Petersburg as well as its interior. Since 1992 it is now part of the Russian Museum, and it contains many of its more fascinating exhibits. It stands between the Winter and Summer Palaces.

Over 32 varieties of marble, granite, lazurite and limestone was used to build this masterpiece of early Russian neo-classic architecture over a period of 17 years. Every day over 100 masons and 100-300 fusiliers laboured at the construction site. During Tsarist Russia, a number of royal residents made their home here before being turned into a Lenin Museum after the 1917 revolution.

Inside is the Ludwig Museum, the finest collection of post-World War II art in St. Petersburg, early 20th century Russian paintings and furniture as well as temporary, thematic exhibitions. Along with exhibitions, constant renovations and restoration take place within the interior.

Between 1937 and 1992 an armoured car belonging to the revolutionist leader Lenin stood on display in the recessed courtyard. The statue of Tsar Alexander III now stands in the palace courtyard, sculpted in the early 1900s by the Italian-Russian-American prince, Paolo Trubetskoy. Its previous home used to be a square in front of the Moscow Railway Station. Tour to st Petersburg