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Palace of Russian Tsar to reopen

A Russian imperial residence is to reopen following extensive rehabilitation. This is the Alexander Palace in St Petersburg which over the past three years has been renovated for more than £24 million (or 31 million US dollars or 2 billion Russian rubles). The palace was the last home of Tsar Nicholas II before he was executed along with his family. It was from the Alexander Palace that the Tsar and his family were sent into exile to Tobolsk in Siberia in August of 1917.

The palace is located on the outskirts of the former imperial capital of Saint Petersburg and has been under renovation since 2012 before completely closed to the public three years later. The renovation has been extensive and includes the restoration of its floors, tapestries and ceiling paintings. The first eight rooms will reopen in June or July of 2020 a spokeswoman for the Tsarskoe Selo State Museum has said.

Alexander Palace. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The first rooms that are to open next year include the Emperor and Empress’s rooms including the Mauve Boudoir, Alexandra Feodorovna’s favourite room, and the Tsar’s bathing chamber designed in the Moorish style.

The Neoclassical Palace was planned by Giacomo Quarenghi and built between 1792 and 1796. It was agreed that the architect had excelled himself in creating a masterpiece. The palace is considered one of the best works of the Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi. Unlike other palaces, the Alexander Palace was not destroyed by Nazi Germany during World War II and housed the military command and a prison. The courtyard was used as a cemetery for SS soldiers.

Interior from Alexander Palace after the work in 2010. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Following World War II, the palace was used as a depot for artworks coming back into the area. In the 1990s, work began to make Alexander Palace a state museum. Russia received financial support from other nations and the work began. In the summer of 1997, a permanent exhibition was opened dedicated to the Russian Imperial Family.

In 2010, the three largest public rooms in the middle wing were reopened, following partial restoration. In 2014, the Russian government finally allocated significant funds to enable a more complete and authentic restoration of the quarters of the Imperial Family. This resulted in the closing down of the museum. Now, the work is soon to be finished, and the building can finally reopen. From next year, parts of the castle are open, and from 2021, the whole palace museum will be back in business. 

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.