The history of the palace

The history of the palace
21 March 2024

In the middle of the XVIII century, a temporary wooden Winter Palace for Empress Elizabeth I was built on the site of a modern complex of buildings along Moika – Nevsky Prospect – Malaya Morskaya Street. After her death the wooden palace was destroyed by order of Catherine II, and the site was granted for private ownership to the Chief of Police of St. Petersburg Nikolai Chicherin. On the site he built a mansion in 1771 which still exists today. It is one of the oldest buildings on the Nevsky prospect.

Concerts and masquerades were held here, many famous writers, including Alexander Radishchev, Denis Fonvizin were frequent guests of the mansion.

In 1789 one of Nikolay Chicherin's sons, Alexander, vice colonel of the cuirassier regiment, was forced to sell the house to Prince Alexei Kurakin. By order of the new owner, a stone apartment building was built in 1794 along the Moika River embankment, 59.

Owners of the mansion used to rent part of the house to wealthy tenants. For example among the famous tenants, we can name Count Palen, the Governor-General of St. Petersburg, Giacomo Quarenghi, the fashionable architect, Alexander Griboedov, writer and diplomat. Later, the Eliseev brothers leased the premises of their house to a Musical society, a Dance assembly, and Noble Assembly. Musical and literary evenings were regularly organized here, famous writers Ivan Turgenev, Fedor Dostoevsky, Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin were among visitors. The Russian Musical Society, led by the famous composer Anton Rubinstein, gave its concerts here.

The famous poet Alexander Pushkin was an offer visitor or popular restaurant "Talon", which was opened at the first floor of the house.

The Eliseev family acquired the complex of buildings in 1858. In 1902-1904, according to the plan of Stepan Petrovich Eliseev, a complete reconstruction of the interiors of the palace was carried out, the halls were decorated in various styles: Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, French Empire. While being at the exhibition in Paris, Eliseev orders a library decorated in the Art Nouveau style, which has been preserved in its original form to the present day.

Upon completion of the restoration, the Eliseevs move to a part of the building located on the Moika River embankment. The wing located on Nevsky Prospekt was occupied by the bank's operating room.

In 1918, after the revolution, the Eliseev family was forced to emigrate. In 1919-1922, the Eliseev mansion was nationalized, and the House of Arts, a society founded by Maxim Gorky and uniting the creative intelligentsia, was created in the building. The society included many famous creative figures: Anna Akhmatova, Evgeny Zamyatin, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Osip Mandelstam. The activities of the House of Arts are described in Olga Forsh's novel "Crazy Ship".

Many writers and poets read their works here: for example, it was here that Alexander Green finished and publicly read the last version of his "Scarlet Sails". In 1920 representatives of the Soviet intelligentsia met with the classic of world literature, the English science fiction writer Herbert Wells, in the Walnut Living Room, and Maxim Gorky presided over the evening.

In November 1923, the House of Arts has been closed, in 1924 a new cultural institution was opened in the building complex – the cinema for workers "Light Ribbon". For some time, the young aspiring composer Dmitry Shostakovich worked here as a musical illustrator. Since 1931 the cinema has been called the "Barricade".

In the 1920s there was a "Club of business workers of Socialist Industry", for which a large Music room on the ceiling was painted by the artist Valery Izmailovich in 1926 in a large ceiling "New Socialist Way of Life".

In 2003, the grand opening of the Taleon Imperial Hotel, dedicated to the tercentenary of St. Petersburg, took place.