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 +7 (985) 690-95-16

Winter Palace


We continued to sail. An old-style schooner caught my attention. I thought it was an operating ship; however, it turned out to be a floating restaurant. I told Sasha about my dream of going on a trip on such a ship. Sasha did not take my words seriously. And how wrong he was! My desires tend to be fulfilled. Two years later, we really took a cruise on a similar ship in the southern seas, on the islands of Indonesia.

Our boat made a turn on the Neva; we sailed under the bridge and were closer to a magnificent building that completely shook me with its exquisite beauty. We saw the famous Winter Palace of the Russian Tsars, which now houses one of the largest and greatest museums in the world — the Hermitage.

The Winter Palace is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. There is nothing like this in India. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the Winter Palace was the main palace of the Russian Empire. Emperors from Catherine the Great to Nicholas II of Russia lived in it. The Winter Palace was built according to the design of perhaps the most famous architect in Russia, the Italian Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. In addition to the Winter Palace, Rastrelli created many other outstanding buildings in Saint Petersburg.

This palace is very large — 210 meters in length; it is approximately like two football fields. Inside it has more than a thousand rooms, many of which are huge halls. I was struck by the beautiful colouring of the Winter Palace, as it harmoniously combines white, lime, and golden colours. These colours are very well suited to the Winter Palace; it is hard to believe that in earlier times the colours were completely different but this is true.

Sculptures are installed around the vast perimeter of the roof of the Winter Palace. There are so many of them that it is impossible to see everything even with a great desire. This is some kind of sculptural magnificence and even profligacy. In general, Saint Petersburg struck me with a number of sculptures. I have never seen such a number of stone sculptures anywhere. Sometimes it seemed to me that there were even more sculptures in Saint Petersburg than people.

The Winter Palace gives the impression of overwhelming luxury and power. It seems that it was here forever symbolizing the greatness of Russia; therefore, nothing could compete with it. However, the great tragedies are also hidden behind a beautiful façade.

The Winter Palace was built in 1762; in 1837, a terrible fire almost completely destroyed the building. In fact, 75 years after its construction, the Winter Palace had to be rebuilt. Looking at the enormous size of the building, I could only wonder at the feats of the builders.

The interiors of the Winter Palace were created mainly by the Russian architects — Vasily Stasov, Alexander Brullov, Alexander Staubert — who rebuilt it after the fire of 1837.

After a century, the Winter Palace had to go through a new stern test — the attacks of Hitler’s troops. During the Second World War, the palace buildings were hit by artillery shelling and bombardment; in total, seventeen artillery shells and two aerial bombs fell into them. Many halls were badly damaged; in some of them, there was no roof. Now admiring the splendour of the Winter Palace, it is even difficult to imagine that it survived such tremendous blows.


© Traveling To Russia - 2024

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