As noted in our previous blog post [The Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia], this Baroque-style palace [now the home of the Hermitage Museum] is perhaps St. Petersburg’s most impressive site. Completed in 1735, it was expanded and enhanced considerably by Empress Elizabeth 17 years later and even more after Catherine the Great ascended the throne in 1762. We had a second opportunity on this trip to visit the Palace on our way into the Hermitage collections — on cleaning day, when the museum is closed to the public. We were very fortunate that our group had been able to make the arrangements to visit while the museum was closed with our English-speaking guides.
The Malachite Room of the Winter Palace was decorated to the designs of A. Briullov in 1839. The columns, pilasters and mantelpieces are lined with malachite in the technique known as the “Russian Mosaics”. The room is associated with historical events: on the night of November 7, 1917, the last meeting of the counter-revolutionary Provisional Government took place here. The ministers were arrested in the adjoining Private Dining Room.