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The Mystery of Yusupov Palace

Along the shores of the tranquil waters of the Moika River stands a building that took two hundred years to complete to its present form, and which holds a mystery that still haunts historians and fascinates visitors. The Yusupov Palace is one of the most exquisite buildings in St. Petersburg and has become a popular tourist attraction and site of interest. Tour guides, able speak English, will gladly take visitors on prearranged tours and share the dark secrets and majestic wonders of the Yusupov Palace.

The building also has a list of famous architectural geniuses who worked on the palace, each leaving their own style and legacy behind. For instance, Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe was recruited in the 1760s, Andrei Mikhailov in the year 1830 and during the 1850s, Ippolit Moriighetti added his vision. Other names such as W.Kennel, A. Beloborodov and B. Simone can also be added to the list. Artists brought in to contribute elegance and style to the interior included Sergei Chekhonin and Nikolai Tyrsa. This left the palace with a fascinating blend of Neoclassical, Baroque and other architectural styles that were popular throughout the eighteenth to twentieth centuries.

But, the event that cast an eternal cloud of mystery and wonder to the palace took place on the evening of the 16th to 17th of December 1916. From the early 1830s, Yusupov Palace belonged to the Yusupov family. And it was at a time of war in Russia that the relationship between Grigory Rasputin and the Tsar’s family (Emperor Nicolas II) was viewed to be at its most powerful and dangerous point. On that dark night in 1916, Prince Felix Yuasapov, monarchists, Vladimir Purishkevich, A.S. Sukhotin, Doctor Stanislay Lazobert and the Grand Duke Dmity Pavlovich murdered Rasputin. Circumstances and exact facts surrounding the murder have remained mere speculation, but the Rasputin exhibition is worth the visit.

Today the breathtaking carvings, shining gilded chandeliers, priceless tapestries, flawless marble, detailed frescoes and rare silks still decorate the palace. No longer home to the rich and noble, the luxurious palace is a museum of historical significance, an art gallery and an educational cultural centre. It is host to theater productions, spectacular live performances and musicians, who leave their music echoing through the corridors and halls of the palace.

The Yusupov Palace still holds an air of mystery and the feeling that many secrets have remained undiscovered and safe within the walls. Its history is a vital part of the culture and heritage of St. Petersburg, and of Russia, and the palace remains a noteworthy and recommended attraction.


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