St. Petersburg in the era of Peter II (1727-1730)

With Peter's accession to the throne, Petersburg underwent a short period of desertion and neglect. After going to Moscow with his entire Court for the coronation ceremony, Peter became enchanted with the hunting possibilities in the vicinity, and for all practical purposes the capital of the country was thus transferred to Moscow. With the absence of the Court and many of its affluent residents, the city, which at the time was not yet even twenty-five years old, quickly fell into disrepair. Construction projects stalled, the city decayed, and its inhabitants gradually began to depart. Only the death of Peter and the return of the Court from Moscow under Empress Anna permitted Petersburg to escape the fate of a provincial seaside town, which might have otherwise been its destiny.

Menshikov's mansion and the Ambassadors Palace
Menshikov's mansion and the Ambassadors Palace
by Alexey Zubov

Unsurprisingly, Peter II's short reign left little trace on the face of the city, but one significant building can be mentioned: it stands at 11 University Embankment, near the Twelve Colleges and the Menshikov Palace, and was built as the Palace of Peter II, although the young Emperor never lived there. Hoping to marry his daughter Maria to the Tsar, Prince Menshikov (until his unexpected resignation and disgrace) did everything he could to protect the underaged Emperor and this palace was built for him on Menshikov's own land. Designed by Petersburg's first important architect, Domenico Trezzini, the building was not finished at the time of Peter's untimely death, but was only completed in the middle of the eighteenth century. Today it houses the philological and oriental departments of the St. Petersburg State University.