Saint-Petersburg.com

Palace of Grand Duke Andrey Vladimirovich (Von Derviz Mansion)

Until 1917 this spectacular Florentine-style Renaissance Revival palace belonged to Grand Duke Andrey Vladimirovich (1879-1956) - grandson of Emperor Alexander II, the last grand duke of the Romanov dynasty, and morganatic husband of the famous ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska. Andrey Vladimirovich owned the house for only a short time, and in fact it has rarely been occupied. Today, the palace's superb interiors can be seen in all their splendor if you have reason to visit St. Petersburg's Wedding Palace No. 1, a glorified registry office housed in the building since the 1950s.

  • Derviz Mansion (Palace of Grand Duke Andrey Vladimirovich) on the English Embankment in Saint-Petersburg, Russia
    Derviz Mansion (Palace of Grand Duke Andrey Vladimirovich) on the English Embankment
  • Florentine-style facade of the Derviz Mansion (Wedding Palace) on the English Embankment in St Petersburg, Russia
    Florentine-style facade of the Derviz Mansion (Wedding Palace)
  • Decorationation of the entrance to the Derviz Mansion in St Petersburg, Russia
    Decorationation of the entrance to the Derviz Mansion
  • Inside the Derviz Mansion in St Petersburg, Russia
    Inside Derviz Mansion

The history of this building on the English Embankment began in 1730. It was then that a two-story house was built on the order of Ivan Polyansky, adjutant of Prince Alexander Menshikov. His son's successful marriage enabled him to rebuild the house in neoclassical style with luxurious interiors. After having changed owners a few times, the house was acquired by the railroad magnate Paul von Derviz, who had amassed a huge fortune in the railway construction business. In 1889, his son inherited the mansion and ordered the architect Alexander Krasovsky to carry out a complete reconstruction. The Florentine facade was crafted and the mansion became home to some of the most spectacular state rooms in St. Petersburg, of particular note among them the Golden Sitting Room, the White Hall and the Ballroom. The Moorish Sitting Room is another masterpiece of interior design. The living quarters on the mezzanine also include a beautiful English Gothic library.

In 1903, this mansion, which was proving difficult to keep up, was sold for 400 thousand rubles to the young Grand Duke Andrey Vladimirovich. He had just entered the Military Academy of Law at Potseluev Bridge, and he then began an affair with the Polish prima ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska. That affair ended in their legal marriage once they had both settled in France after the October Revolution.

  • Interior of the Derviz Mansion in St Petersburg, Russia
    Interior of the Derviz Mansion
  • Ceiling in the Derviz Mansion in Saint-Petersburg, Russia
    Ceiling in the Derviz Mansion

The palace, however, was nationalized and various agencies were housed here until 1959 when it opened as the first Wedding Palace in the Soviet Union. Until that time, registration of Soviet marriages was only conducted in the rather drab and bureaucratic surroundings of a normal registry office - excessive formal celebrations, particularly as they tended to have strong roots in tradition and religion, were discouraged among Komsomol members. By the late 1950s, however, the idealization of asceticism and material puritanism was receding in Soviet culture, and so the young people of Leningrad got the chance to celebrate their weddings in some of the city's most beautiful and richly decorated interiors.

Address:28, Angliskaya Naberezhnaya
Metro:Admiralteyskaya
Directions:Exit Admiralteyskaya metro station and turn left then right then left onto Nevsky Prospekt. Follow the road round past Palace Square until you reach the Neva River. Turn left onto Admiralteyskaya Embankment and walk along the river about 800 m.
What's nearby? Neva River, Blagoveschensky (Annunciation) Bridge, Duke of Leuchtenberg Mansion, General Staff Academy
USEFUL ADS