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Story 2. A Journey to the Past: the Last Residence of the Romanov Family

The Alexander Palace in Pushkin, a neoclassical masterpiece by Quarenghi, was the favourite residence of the Romanov family, where they spent the last twelve years before the outbreak of the Russian revolution in 1917. As the deplorable changes swept across the country a century ago, they put an end to the monarchy in Russia. After more than 300 years of reign of the Romanovs – the second royal dynasty in Russia – Emperor Nicolas II was forced to abdicate. The walls of the Alexander Palace, that had witnessed the last Emperor’s birth, became his prison following the February revolutionary events. It was from this palace that the Romanovs were exiledto finally meet their tragic end in Ekaterinburg.

The Alexander Palace, built in the late 18th century as a wedding gift for the future Tsar Alexander I, had been mostly used as the imperial family’s summer “dacha” until 1905, when Nicolas II made it his permanent residence. It is of the few original imperial residences to have survived World War II – unlike other architectural marvels including the Catherine Palace or the Great Palace in Peterhof that had been practically ruined and rebuilt afterwards.

The Alexander Palace is currently closed for visitors due to ongoing large-scale restoration, planned to be completed next year. The historic interiors are being carefully restored based on old photographs, so the spirit of the royal family might soon return to their favourite rooms.

Click on the video below to see how the Alexander Palace now looks from the outside: