The Mariinsky Palace
The Mariinsky Palace, situated just across the square from St Isaac's Cathedral, is better known today as the seat of the local Legislative Assembly (i.e. the City Council), although it was originally built as the Imperial residence of the Grand Duchess Maria, daughter of Emperor Nicholas I. Built between 1839 and 1844, the palace was filled with magnificent interiors and furniture and even boasted an enormous greenhouse, where it was said that pineapples grew rather well.
In 1884 the Mariinsky Palace was bought by the government and became the seat of the State Council, the State Chancellor's office and the Committee of Ministers (later - the Council of Ministers). Since 1945 the palace has belonged to the city council and local administration.