In the XVIII century Imperial favourites were very important people in the state, often they influenced policy and participated in Palace intrigues. Favorites were given expensive gifts, including palaces, which were built by the best architects of St. Petersburg. We remembered the most interesting mansions of Imperial Favorites.

Anichkov palace (Anichkov dvorets)

Anichkov Palace began to build immediately after the coronation of Empress Elizabeth . Mikhail Zemtsov, and completed the construction of Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The luxurious Baroque mansion was presented by the Empress to her favorite — Alexei Razumovsky. Among contemporaries there were rumors (however, not confirmed by historians) that Razumovsky was a secret husband of Elizabeth and the father of her illegitimate son. The name of Anichkov Palace was given years later, when built near Anichkov bridge.

Anichkov Bridge (Anichkov most)

Later the mansion was repeatedly passed on. And Catherine II bought the building from Razumovsky's relatives and presented it to her favorite — Grigory Potemkin. She also gave Potemkin 100 thousand rubles for the reconstruction of the Palace, which was entrusted to Ivan Starov. The architect made the Palace more strict and monotonous, as dictated by the fashionable classicism in those years.Later the building was rebuilt many more times: Giacomo Quarenghi by decree of Alexander I, Carl Rossi — for Nicholas I. Alexander II and Alexander III. Today in the Anichkov Palace is the Palace of creativity of young (Dvorets tvorchestva yunykh).

Shuvalov's Mansion (Osobnyak Shuvalova)

The mansion of another favorite of Elizabeth, Ivan Shuvalov, is located near the Anichkov Palace. From both buildings it was possible to quickly reach the Summer Palace (Letniy dvorets) of the Empress. Shuvalov's mansion was designed in 1749 by Savva Chevakinsky. He built a three-storey Baroque building, about which Catherine II wrote: "Outside this house, although very huge, resembled his ornaments cuff Of Alanson lace, so many different decorations on it." Subsequently, the building was owned by Prince Ivan Baryatinsky and Prosecutor General Alexander Vyazemsky, who ordered to rebuild it in the classical style. Later, the mansion belonged to different government agencies, and today it houses a Museum of hygiene.

Marble palace (Mramornyy dvorets)

Grigory Orlov was one of the favorites of Catherine II, he became the father of her illegitimate son count Alexei Bobrinsky. The Empress gave Orlov many gifts, one of which was the Palace. In 1768, Catherine II ordered the architect Antonio Rinaldi to build it near the Imperial residence.

Later, the Palace was called Marble: when it was decorated, the builders used 32 varieties of this stone — on the outer facades and in the interiors. The walls of one of the most beautiful halls were lined with Italian, Greek, Karelian and Ural marble, and lazurite. The Main staircase and its decor — sculptures by Fedot Shubin-were made of silver marble.

Grigory Orlov died before the end of construction, and Catherine gave the Palace to her grandson Konstantin Pavlovich. However, one of the favorites of Catherine still lived in this Palace, after the death of the Empress. In 1797-1798 the former Polish king Stanislav August Poniatowski settled here.

Today, the marble Palace is a branch of the Russian Museum.

Gatchina palace (Gatchinskiy dvorets)

Gatchina Palace was another residence of Catherine's favorite Grigory Orlov. Land for construction Empress gave him for his participation in the Palace coup, during which she ascended to the throne. To build a palace invited the Italian Antonio Rinaldi. He has created an unusual project — the building was reminiscent of an English hunting Lodge, on each side of the Central building was located in the five-sided tower.

Construction took 15 years and was completed in 1781. Grigory Orlov lived in the mansion for a short time, in 1783 he died, and Catherine II bought the Palace for her son Pavel Petrovich. Later it belonged to other Romanovs-Nicholas I, Alexander III. After the revolution, the Palace was turned into a Museum, but in Soviet times the building was used in a different way: there was a Naval school, research Institute "Electrostandard". Today the Palace belongs to the state Museum-reserve "Gatchina", and it can be visited with excursions.

Tauride Palace (Tavricheskiy dvorets)

One of the most powerful people of Catherine's time was the favorite of Empress Grigory Potemkin. He served as Governor of Novorossiysk, Azov and Astrakhan provinces and spent most of the year in the South of Russia. However, in St. Petersburg, Potemkin also had his own residence-the Tauride Palace. The luxurious city estate with spacious halls and a beautiful winter garden was built by architect Ivan Starov.

The Palace got its name after the death of the owner. Catherine II ordered to call it in memory of the fact that Grigory Potemkin participated in the annexation of the Crimea (Tavrida) in 1787. After the death of the Imperial favorite, the building was used in different ways: it housed the arena and stables, and 100 years later the state Duma met. Currently, the Tauride Palace is the headquarters of the inter — parliamentary Assembly of the CIS countries.

The House Of Anna Lopukhina-Gagarina

Anna Lopukhina, who at the end of the XVIII century was fascinated by Paul I, originally lived in Moscow. But Paul wanted to see her as often as possible and offered her father to move the whole family to St. Petersburg. He agreed: on one bowl of scales lay the title of Prince and millions of wealth, and the other — the Siberian jail .

For the Lopukhin family, Paul I bought the house of Admiral Osip de Ribas on the Neva embankment. The architect Jean-Baptiste Vallin de La Mothe built it in the middle of the XVIII century. When Anna Lopukhina married Prince Gagarin, the noble Paul I bought a wedding gift for the family and the neighboring house of captain rogozinsky. Architect Giacomo Quarenghi combined two buildings into one-in the end turned out a two-storey mansion with a mezzanine and a hanging garden. Later in this mansion rented an apartment Anna Olenina's family, where he was often fascinated by her Alexander Pushkin.

Special offers

Visit SPb Tram Museum and have a memorable ride on a vintage tram through the historical attractions.

Enlarge your War and Peace knowledge by joining Guide For You on the War and Peace Trail. (more…)

If you are looking for something unique to do in Saint Petersburg, experience Russian Blacksmith mastership!


Moderate 2 Day Shore Excursion St. Petersburg, Russia from 241$ Reserve Now & Pay Later