Winter Palace

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Winter Palace


an 18th-century architectural monument in Leningrad; the principal residence of the Russian emperors until 1917. The first Winter House was built for Peter I in 1711 on the bank of the Winter Canal. The second version was constructed under the direction of architect G. I. Mattarnovi from 1716 to 1719 on the site of the present-day Hermitage Theater; it was rebuilt in the 1720’s under the direction of the architect D. Tressini. In 1732, B. Rastrelli began construction of the third Winter Palace with facades on the Neva River and the Palace Square; it was rebuilt several times. The fourth Winter Palace, a temporary wooden structure that was destroyed in 1762, was built in 1755 by Rastrelli at the corner of Nevskii Prospekt and Moika Embankment.

The fifth and current Winter Palace was built in the baroque style by Rastrelli from 1754 to 1762 on the site of the third palace that had been pulled down. The building, designed in the shape of a powerful square with an inner courtyard, has facades directed toward the Neva, the Admiralty, and the Palace Square. The palace has more than 1,000 rooms. Its facades, which are each decorated differently, are coordinated with their surroundings. The columns are arranged in varying intervals—grouped closely together to conceal the wall or separated to reveal the wall’s flatness. The grandiose dimensions of the Winter Palace and of its facades, the strong projection of the major risalitos, the accentuation of the stepped corners, and the rhythmic arrangement of columns create an impression of majesty, magnificence, and powerful plasticity. The splendid decoration of the facades and the interior, which contains suites of rooms, emphasizes the formal and ceremonial functions of the building.

The interior of the Winter Palace has been frequently reconstructed. The suites along the Neva, as well as the Throne (Georgievskii) Room, were rebuilt during the 1780’s and 1790’s by G. Quarenghi and I. E. Starov. The Gallery of the Patriotic War of 1812 was constructed in 1826 by the architect C.I . Rossi. After the fire of 1837, the facades and main halls were restored by V. P. Stasov, and the interior chambers, by A. P. Briullov.

On Feb. 5, 1880, S. N. Khalturin, in an attempt to assassinate Alexander II, set off an explosion in the Winter Palace. On Jan. 9, 1905, a peaceful workers’ demonstration in front of the Winter Palace was fired upon; this event marked the beginning of the Revolution of 1905-07. During the February Revolution of 1917, the palace was occupied by troops that had gone over to the side of the people. In July 1917, it became the residence of the bourgeois Provisional Government; at the same time, a significant part of the palace was used as an infirmary. During the Great October Socialist Revolution, the Red Guard and revolutionary soldiers and sailors surrounded the Winter Palace on the night of Oct. 25-26 (Nov. 7-8), 1917. Guarded by a garrison of 2,700 cadets, the palace was taken by storm at 2:10 A.M. on October 26 (November 8). The leaders of the Provisional Government were arrested. In 1918, part (and, in 1922, all) of the building was transferred to the State Hermitage.


Uspenskii, A. I.Imperatorskie dvortsy, vol. 1. Moscow, 1913.
Sokolova, T. M. Zimnii dvorets. Leningrad, 1958.
Piliavskii, V. I. Zimnii dvorets. Leningrad, 1960.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
"This is a magnificent habitation," said Beauchamp, looking towards the mausoleum; "a summer and winter palace. You will, in turn, enter it, my dear d'Epinay, for you will soon be numbered as one of the family.
It was under a lime-tree, near the entrance to the Fairy Queen's Winter Palace (which is within the circle of the seven Spanish chestnuts), and Peter approached it warily, for the birds had never mentioned such things to him.
Then there's the cruiser Aurora, moored on the river, which sealed the Russian Revolution's success by lobbing shells at the Winter Palace. You can scramble around the decks, pose by the guns and buy yourself a sailor's hat.
Another must while in St Petersburg is the Hermitage Museum based in the 400 room Winter Palace.
Despite this complete lack of knowledge about all things connected to the former USSR, I would like to think Babushka bar on Sauchiehall Street looks a bit like the Tsar's Winter Palace.
The State Hermitage Museum owns the Russian Imperial Collections, brought together over more than three centuries and housed in the former Winter Palace of the tsars in the centre of St Petersburg.
The public readings, prerecorded at locations all over Russia, from the Winter Palace in St Petersburg to remote Arctic islands, have been coordinated by Tolstoy's great-great-grand daughter and feature Russians from all walks of life, from gas workers to cosmonauts.
WINTER PALACE A DARK, moody, monochrome palette, sensual textures and razzledazzle metallic touches conjure an opulent, elegant sanctuary.
The five-star State Hermitage Hotel in central St Petersburg has been inspired by the architectural features and history of the Winter Palace and a free shuttle service will link the two sites.
Stars of the movie Farida Fahmy and Mahmoud Reda were reunited in the Winter Palace
The Winter Palace was so short of guests they had closed the Pavilion block where I usually stay and I was upgraded to the Old Winter Palace.