“One of two surviving St. Petersburg residences of the monumentally wealthy Yusupov family, the Yusupov Palace on the Moika River is perhaps most famous as the scene of the assassination of Grigory Rasputin, and is one of the few aristocratic homes in the city to have retained many of its original interiors.” – http://www.saint-petersburg.com
“The land on which the palace stands, in the south of the historic centre close to the Mariinsky Theatre, was originally the site of a wooden palace belonging to Tsarevna Praskovia Ivanovna, niece of Peter the Great. In the mid-18th century it was bought by Count Peter Shuvalov. In 1770, his heir Andrei Shuvalov commissioned the French architect Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe, designer of the Small Hermitage, Gostiny Dvor and the Academy of Sciences, to build a new palace on the site. De la Mothe’s building forms the basis of the palace that can be seen today, although various additions and alterations were made by leading architects as the palace changed hands over the years.” – http://www.saint-petersburg.com
“The luxurious interiors of the palace were not inferior to those of contemporary royal palaces. More than 40,000 works of art, including works by Rembrandt, jewelry, and sculptures decorated the palace. Following the Russian Revolution, the Yusupov art collections were nationalized and relocated in the Hermitage and other museums.” — Wikipedia
“In 1830, the palace was purchased by Prince Nikolay Borisovich Yusupov, and it remained in the ownership of the family until seized by the Bolsheviks in 1917. The legends surrounding Rasputin’s murder, which took place in the basement of the Yusupov Palace on 16 December 1916, are mostly based on the sensationalist account in the autobiography of Prince Felix Yusupov, who claimed to have led the plotters in first poisoning, then shooting, then beating Rasputin with clubs and throwing him into the icy Malaya Nevka River, where the Mad Monk eventually died of hypothermia.” – http://www.saint-petersburg.com
Following the outstanding performance by the Mariinsky Ballet dancers in the Palace Theater, we adjourned to the opulent Dancing Hall in the Yusupov Palace where we enjoyed a festive (black-tie) four-course dinner with lots of vodka and wines. We were entertained at dinner by two young virtuoso violinists playing Russian music and an acrobatic young woman who was of the caliber of the Cirque du Soleil circus. This evening – a recreation of life in the palaces of Russia’s nobility in the mid-19th century (including the dress of the dining room staff) — was a memorable end to our visit to St. Petersburg.