Audio File length: 2.20
English Language: English

The second major palace of Tsarskoye Selo is Alexander Palace, built by Giacomo Quarenghi on the orders of Catherine the Great, as a wedding gift for his favorite nephew Alexander I.

The palace, completed in 1796, is considered one of the finest Neoclassical buildings in Russia. Quarenghi, who originally designed the building for St. Petersburg, created a masterpiece, beautifully crafted and painstakingly decorated. The striking main facade features a magnificent colonnade in the middle and wings extending from both sides.

When he ascended to the throne, Alexander gifted the palace to his brother Nicholas, who made improvements to the interior and gardens. The famous Mountain Hall, with a large slide for the children of Nicholas I, was built in this period.

Alexander Palace owes its fame to the fact it was the residence of the last Tsar, Nicholas II. Along with his wife Alexandra Feodorovna, the tsar decided to take refuge here after the Bloody Sunday of 1905, when the imperial guard fired on unarmed demonstrators, making it too dangerous to remain in the Winter Palace.

The imperial couple turned the ballroom into the Maple Drawing Room and the New Study, and added new rooms for their children on the upper floor. Empress Alexandra, together with the architect Meltzer, chose the Art Nouveau style, considered "bourgeois" rather than imperial: the most famous of the restyled rooms is the Mauve Room.

The building was also equipped with electricity and a telephone line, and in 1899 an elevator was also installed. As cinema became popular, a projection booth was also built in the Semi-Circular Hall.

You can see an exhibition dedicated to the last Romanovs in the palace, which features photographs, models and personal belongings, and you can also watch a documentary filmed during the reign of Nicholas II.


An interesting fact: After the October Revolution, the interiors of the palace were preserved intact to show the people how the tsars lived. Since visitors continued to show considerable interest in and fondness for the monarchy, the government decided to close the palace in 1930.


TravelMate! The travel app that tells you about the Wonders of the World!
Share on