If you have not known it yet, Winter Palace is an integral part of Catherine Palace. Catherine Palace itself is located in the city of Pushkin, near Saint Petersburg, Rusia. The city once called as city as Tsarskoye Selo or the Tsars’ village.
Peter the Great built Catherine palace for his wife in 1717. The place functioned as the place of rest of Catherine the Great during her journeys. Initially, it was a two story building. After the initial construction, it received several reconstructions and redesigning under the instruction of Empress Elizabeth, Catherine II, as she considered the style was old-fashioned.
The reconstruction resulted in the Catherine Palace people know today, which has become a museum called Hermitage Museum. The word “Hermitage” itself comes from the word “hermit,” which means “people who live alone.” In this museum, Winter Palace lays beautifully.
1. Winter Palace
Visitors know Winter Palace as the main building of Catherine Palace. It has shape of an elongated rectangle and has 60,000 meters square of floor space. Moreover, it has 325 meters long, 30 meters high and is nearly 1 km in circumference. Under that condition, people will need days to enjoy every side and corner of it.
Initially, the palace was not that massive. It was Empress Elizabeth who instructed architect to rebuild the palace in such size to rival Palace of Versailles. In addition to the massive size, Empress Elizabeth asked the architect to design the palace in rococo style.
In addition to those facts, there are 9 interesting facts of Winter Palace in Russia. Check it out.
2. People who live in Winter Palace
Winter Palace had been the official residence where the Russian monarchs lived from 1732 to 1917. Moreover, Romanov Tsars also lived in the palace along with his family. He had four daughters and one son. From the palace, the Tsar ruled over 22,400,000 kilometers square of lands by the end of the 19th century. It was almost 1/6 of the Earth’s landmass.
3. It was redesigned by 4 acclaimed architects at the time
Empress Elizabeth first began the redesigning in 1743. She asked four different architects to do the work. The first architect was Chief Architect of the Imperial Court. She then hired Bartholomeo Rastrelli to design it in a flamboyant Rococo style. In addition, German sculptor Johann Franz Dunker put his heart on designing exterior looks. He also worked alongside Rastrelli to design the interiors. The final touch began in 1863. Empress Elizabeth hired Russian architect I. Monighetti to construct and decorate the main staircase. The architect designed it in Rococo style.
4. It has Chaterine’s Collection with the total of 255 paintings
Due to her interest in arts, Catherine the Great bought a total of 255 paintings from Berlin in 1746. She had since continued to collect paintings for the rest of her life. Those paintings are still in good condition in the museum.
5. It has More Than 3 Million Collections
In addition to those bountiful paintings, the palace has more than 3 million collections of art. Those collections include West-European art, Ancient Art, Primitive culture, Oriental art, Russian art and collections of coins and medals. With all of those collections, people will need 11 years to enjoy each of them for 1 minute.
6. Beautiful Colors
Besides its massive size, Winter Palace has beautiful colors. Since the first construction, its wall had different colors, such as red, pink and blue. However, the original color was pale green. Its beauty has attracted around three millions tourists every year.
7. It is so huge
As the place is so huge, there are surely a lot of rooms, staircases, windows and doors. It is estimated that there are 1,057 rooms, 117 staircases, 1945 windows and 1,786 doors. Such a huge place keeps around 176 sculptures and several vases. It is said that it required 4,000 masons and plasterers, modelers, parquet floor layers and painters to build the museums. Although the result is incredibly beautiful and grand, those workers lived in small tents and terrible living conditions.
8. Filled with Debris
After the reconstruction of Winter Palace, there were so many debris which covered the front area. Knowing this, Emperor Peter III determined to clean the area in a traditional way. He instructed his people to make announcement that everyone in the town could take all the debris they wanted for free. For your information, as the debris came from such grand and excessive building, the debris worth a lot of money. Thus, it did not get long to clear the debris as groups of people came and cleared them in less than a day. It did not require money as well.
9. Rebuilt by 6,000 unknown workers
The palace was burnt down in 1837 due to construction mistakes in the Small Throne room. As the result of the fire, most of the rooms were destroyed and many exteriors were ruined. However, 6,000 unknown workers came to rebuild Winter Palace. They worked days and nights for 15 months until the palace was completely restored. For their works, those 6,000 workers only obtained salary that equal to a few hundred workers.
Those are 9 interesting facts of Winter Palace in Russia. You might want to know more of several other histories surrounding Russia like Kremlin building that functions as President’s office nowadays, Russian icons and history of Russian Theater.