Moika Palace

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Moika Palace
Дворец Юсуповых на Мойке
Spb 06-2012 Moika various 03.jpg
The Yusupov Palace from across the Moika River
General information
Town or city St. Petersburg
Country Russia
Coordinates 59°55′46.2″N 30°17′55.32″E / 59.929500°N 30.2987000°E / 59.929500; 30.2987000
Completed 1770

The Moika Palace or Yusupov Palace (Russian: Дворец Юсуповых на Мойке, literally the Palace of the Yusupovs on the Moika) was once the primary residence in St. Petersburg, Russia of the House of Yusupov. The building was the site of Grigori Rasputin's murder in the early morning of December 17, 1916.[1]

The palace was first built around 1770 by the French architect Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe. Over the years numerous well-known architects worked on the palace, and it is known for the hodgepodge of architectural styles. A. Mikhailov reconstructed the building in 1830-s when the Yusupov’s became owners of this palace . This time the modern appearance of the palace was formed.

The palatial theatre

From 1830 to 1917, the palace belonged to the House of Yusupov, an immensely wealthy family of Russian nobles, known for their philanthropy and art collections. Thus in the time of Imperial Russia, the palace became known as the Yusupov Palace.

The fantastic and luxury interiors of the palace were not inferior to royal palaces. More than 40,000 works of art including works by Rembrandt, jewelry, sculptures kept in the palace. Yusupov collection was nationalized and placed into the Hermitage and other museums. Ernst Friedrich von Liphart who was the curator of paintings at the Hermitage had earlier painted the curtain and ceiling of the Palace's theatre.[2]

Sappho and Phaon. A painting by Jacques-Louis David from the Yusupov collection in the Moika Palace

The palace is most famous, however, because of the actions of its last prince Felix Yusupov. He was thought to be even as rich as the tsar. In Russia Yusupov owned 57 palaces, including four in St. Petersburg. The palace on the Moika was the prince’s favorite residence in the capital.

The exact events surrounding Rasputin's death are still in dispute. What seems clear is that on 30 December [O.S. 17 December] 1916, 1916 Felix, along with Vladimir Purishkevich and Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, invited Grigori Rasputin to the Moika Palace. In the basement, according to Felix, they served Rasputin cakes and red wine laced with cyanide—supposedly enough poison to kill five men. (Much of the account, from Yusupov, is considered implausible.) When Rasputin seemed unaffected, Yusupov retrieved a revolver and shot Rasputin from the side. Taking him for dead, Yusupov went upstairs. He returned a short while later to find Rasputin still alive. Rasputin succeeded to flee through a secret door into a courtyard. Purishkevich shot Rasputin in the back on the doorstep. A third bullet at close range, perhaps by Oswald Rayner, entered his forehead. The conspirators wrapped him in a carpet, drove outside the city and tossed him into the Malaya Neva.

The Russian Revolution followed shortly after Rasputin's death and once the Soviets came to power, they confiscated the property of the nobles. In 1925, the palace was handed over to the city's Education Commissariat. While most nobles' palaces were converted to mundane use, the Education Commissariat decided to preserve the mansion as a public museum. Today the palace serves as a Palace of Culture for Educators and it also functions as a museum to Rasputin's murder.[3][4] The courtyard where Rasputin attempted to flee from his killers is now occupied by a kindergarten playground adjacent to the palace.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Yusupov Palace". The New York Times.  Retrieved on June 10, 2008.
  2. ^ Yusupov Palace,, retrieved 3 January 2014
  3. ^ "Yusupov Palace". Museum's official site.  Retrieved on June 6, 2008.
  4. ^ "Yusupov Palace". Fodor's.  Retrieved on June 11, 2008

External links[edit]

This article incorporates information from the revision as of June 6, 2008 of the equivalent article on the Russian Wikipedia.