The Mikhailovsky Castle: housing the Romanovs

The Mikhailovsky Castle: housing the Romanovs
07 December 2016

One of the various beautiful palaces and parks, located in the city of Saint-Petersburg is the former residence of Grand Duke and Romanov Pavel Petrovich I and his family. The initial ideas for the architectural style of the castle came from Pavel himself, not wanting to live in the, according to him, unsafe Winter Palace. Afraid of conspiracy plots to assassinate him he ordered to build this castle at the banks of Fontanka and river Moika. The descendant of Peter the Great visited several architectural structures on his journeys to foreign countries, got inspired by their different styles, resulting in a clear reflection of his artistic taste on the castle. The construction of the Mikhailovsky Castle started in 1784 and lasted twelve years. Ironically Pavel was murdered 40 days after he moved into his newly built fortress. After the death of Pavel I, his family moved into the Winter Palace and donated the Mikhailovsky Castle to the Central Collage of Engineering, whereafter the name of castle was changed into Engineers Castle – among others Fyodor Dostoyevsky graduated from this academy.

The castle is located in the center of Saint-Petersburg in line with the Summer Garden, the oldest park in the city. Peter the Great ordered to create this garden. The Summer Garden is located on an island, surrounded by two canals – Fontanka and Moika – and the Neva river. The people of Saint-Petersburg love to spend their free hours in this park. Peter the Great wanted the park to be more beautiful than the for its in style similar garden in Versailles, so he placed a series of antique marble statues in the park. In wintertime, the statues are protected against the cold weather in upright wooden coffins. Some of these statues are exhibited in the Mikhailovsky Castle.

Summer Garden Saint-Petersburg

Since 1991, the Mikhailovsky Castle is a part of the State Russian Museum. One can visit permanent and temporary exhibitions in this museum and enjoy an impressive walk through the enormous and beautifully decorated rooms of members of the Romanov family. The permanent exhibition shows Saint-Petersburg in a wide variety of paintings, graphics, sculptures and applied arts of the first half of the 19th century. Till 31th of January 2017 it possible to visit the exhibition of world-famous Italian Sculptor Paolo Troubetzkoy. The exhibition focusses on the prolific Russian period of Troubetzkoy’s art.

If you would like to experience the impressive Romanov way of housing and visit interesting art exhibitions, you should visit the Mikhailovsky Castle.

Written by Luuk Winkelmolen, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Saint-Petersburg

Posted by Luuk Winkelmolen

Hello, my name is Luuk Winkelmolen. I am a Dutch Human Geography student from Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. I am currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Language Centre in Saint-Petersburg. Some years ago I started to get interested in Russian history and culture, and after that I started to get familiar with the Russian language. In 2015 I studied Russian at the Dutch Institute in Saint-Petersburg. This was the first time I actually lived and studied in Russia. This was a great experience, so I decided to return to Russia and especially to the city of Saint-Petersburg, in order to live there again for a few months and to feel myself a little bit Russian again.

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