Beloselskiy-Belozerskiy Palace

Unmissable on any walk down Nevsky Prospekt, the magnificent Beloselskiy-Belozerskiy Palace is something of an imposter - despite its grand rococo facades, it actually dates from the 1840s, and the style seems to have been chosen to ape the opulence of the Stroganov Palace at the other end of Nevsky Prospekt.

The palace belonged to the Princes Beloselskiy, a family who claimed descent from Yuri Dolgorukiy, the founder of Moscow. Their first palace was built on the same site by the Fontanka River in 1747, but it was a much more modest affair. The family's fortunes increased thanks to the close relationship between Prince Alexander Mikhailovich Beloselskiy-Belozerskiy and Emperor Paul I, and through marriage to two heiresses to Urals mining fortunes. It was one of those heiresses, the widowed Princess Elena Pavlovna Beloselskaya-Belozerskaya, who commissioned the present palace, petitioning Emperor Nicholas I to allow his court architect, Andrey Stackensneider, to design the building (his only civil commission in the city).

  • Beloselskiy-Belozerskiy Palace in St Petersburg, Russia as seen from Anichkov Bridge
    Beloselskiy-Belozerskiy Palace as seen from Anichkov Bridge
  • Atlantes on the Beloselskiy-Belozerskiy Palace in St Petersburg, Russia
    Atlantes on the Beloselskiy-Belozerskiy Palace

The palace was built 1847-1848, and became renowned for the lavish parties thrown there by Elena Pavlovna. A few decades later, however, the family found the palace too expensive to maintain, and it was sold to Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich, brother of Emperor Alexander III, in 1884. He had part of the interiors redesigned in 1888, and in 1897 the facades were restored and first painted in the deep pink that can be seen today.

Nationalised after the October Revolution, the Beloselskiy-Belozerskiy Palace became the headquarters of the Regional Committee of the Communist Party for the centre of Leningrad. In this role, its historic interiors were carefully maintained during the 20th century, despite significant damage in the Second World War, and the original rococo decorations have largely survived intact. The building is now home to a Municipal Cultural Centre (along with several smaller institutions), and hosts regular concerts of chamber music as well as offering occasional guided tours of the state rooms (three or four times per month or by appointment).

Address:41, Nevsky Prospekt
Metro:Nevsky Prospekt/Gostiny Dvor or Dostoevskaya/Vladimirskaya
Telephone:+7 (812) 315-5236
Admission:Tours of the palace are given only by prior arrangement. Scheduled times for Russian-language tours are published on the palace's website. Cost of a tour is usually RUB 200.00
Photo and video:Photography is allowed in some rooms and is free of charge.
Accessibility note:Sorry, this museum is not wheelchair accessible.