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Take a Trip Back In Time With These Photos of Imperial Russia’s Winter Palace

Samantha Franco
Photo Credit: Alex 'Florstein' Fedorov / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0
Photo Credit: Alex 'Florstein' Fedorov / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

When the House of Romanov was still in power in Russia, the Winter Palace served as their opulent oasis. The wealth of the family was obvious through the indulgent interiors and sheer size of their home, and these photos offer a glimpse into the grandeur of their imperial lifestyle. Of course, this was before the fall of the Winter Palace as a result of the October Revolution in 1917.

The Winter Palace

Exterior view of the Winter Palace.
An exterior view of the Winter Palace. (Photo Credit: Alex ‘Florstein’ Fedorov / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

Prior to the fall of the Romanov family, the Winter Palace served as their official residence. Located in St. Petersburg between the Palace Embankment and the Palace Square, the Winter Palace stretches over 215 meters long and rises up three stories high. The building is so large that it features 1,500 rooms and almost 2,000 windows and is decorated with the same grandiosity inside as it displays from its exterior.

The bedroom of Crown Prince Nikolai Aleksandrovich

An illustration of a bedroom at the Winter Palace.
The Bedroom of Crown Prince Nikolai Aleksandrovich, 1865. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

Before he became Tsar Nicolas II, Crown Prince Nikolai stayed in this room, which isn’t quite as grand as many of the others you’ll see. However, it’s filled with items of his interest, including fine pieces of art and an assortment of swords.

The bedroom of Grand Princess Maria Alexandrovna

An illustration of a bedroom at the Winter Palace.
The Bedroom of Grand Princess Maria Alexandrovna, 1873. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

This room belonged to Tsar Nicholas II’s paternal aunt, Maria Alexandrovna. Its ceiling bears intricate molding, and light colors of baby pink and blue complement one another. Plush fabrics are found all over the space, providing a welcoming feel.

The bedroom of Grand Princess Maria Nikolayevna

An illustration of a bedroom at the Winter Palace.
The Bedroom of Grand Princess Maria Nikolayevna, 1867. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

This room belonged to one of Tsar Nicholas II’s daughters, Maria. It features a domed ceiling and brightly patterned walls, accented with heavy, lush drapes, perfect for a young girl.

The bedchamber of Empress Maria Alexandrovna

An illustration of a bedchamber at the Winter Palace.
The Bedchamber of Empress Maria Alexandrovna, 1859. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

Empress Maria Alexandrovna’s room was far more luxurious than her daughter’s, with arches dropping from the ceiling around the bed. Additionally, purple is the main color, accented by gold, fitting for her status as royalty.

The bathroom of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna

An illustration of a grand bathroom at the Winter Palace.
The Bathroom of Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

Not a single room was overlooked when designing and decorating the Winter Palace, not even the bathrooms. This is the private bathroom of Tsar Nicholas II’s wife, Alexandra Fyodorovna, complete with carpeted flooring, a fountain-style bathtub, and an intricate chandelier.

The study of Emperor Alexander II

An illustration of a study at the Winter Palace.
The Study of Emperor Alexander II, 1857. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

Up next are several studies found throughout the Winter Palace, with almost every family member who resided there having their own personal study. This first one is that of Emperor Alexander II, littered with precious art, sculpture, and portraits.

The study of Crown Prince Nikolay Aleksandrovich

An illustration of a study at the Winter Palace.
The Study of Crown Prince Nikolai Aleksandrovich, 1865. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

The study of Tsar Nicholas II prior to him taking the throne has a lot more personality, including the armor of a samurai, bookshelves lined with books, and a massive desk ready for studying.

The small study of Grand Princess Maria Nikolayevna

An illustration of a study at the Winter Palace.
The Small Study of Grand Princess Maria Nikolayevna, 1867. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

The Tsar’s daughter, Maria, had her own smaller study, decorated in a rich green color with walls also lined with precious artwork. There are numerous places to sit in this space, suggesting she enjoyed the room with the company of others.

The large study of Grand Princess Maria Nikolayevna

An illustration of a study at the Winter Palace.
The Large Study of Grand Princess Maria Nikolayevna, 1867. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

Not only did Maria have a small study, she had a larger one, as well. Plenty of seating areas are scattered around the room, with a large chandelier to light the space at night.

The yellow salon of Grand Princess Maria Nikolayevna

An illustration of a salon in the Winter Palace.
The Yellow Salon of Grand Princess Maria Nikolayevna, 1866. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

In case she didn’t want to use the small or large study, Maria could withdraw to her yellow salon, aptly named for its bright yellow walls. A beautiful domed ceiling opens up the space, allowing the bright color to liven up the space.

The raspberry study of Empress Maria Alexandrovna

An illustration of a raspberry colored salon at the Winter Palace.
The Raspberry Study of Empress Maria Alexandrovna, 1860s. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

The Empress chose a more muted raspberry color to decorate her study with. Added touches of greenery bring life into the room, and a chaise lounge allows for relaxation beyond the chair at her desk.

The boudoir of Empress Maria Alexandrovna

An illustration of a boudoir at the Winter Palace.
The Boudoir of Empress Maria Alexandrovna, 1861. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

The Empress also had her own private boudoir, which looks as though no expense was spared in decorating it. Somehow, the gold filigree details take a backseat to the deep red walls, curtains, and fabric upholstered on the tufted chairs.

The billiard room of Emperor Alexander II

A illustration of a billiards room at the Winter Palace.
The Billiard Room of Emperor Alexander II, mid-19th century. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

All work and no play wasn’t the reality for Emperor Alexander II, who had his own billiard room. From the looks of it, we guess male guests would have gawked over the several weapons that lined the room.

The Gold Drawing Room

An illustration of a gold drawing room at the Winter Palace.
The Gold Drawing-Room, mid-19th century. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

Arguably, one of the more lavish rooms at the Winter Palace is the Gold Drawing Room. Practically everywhere you look, gold is the main attraction. The walls, ceilings, chandeliers, and even the furniture are illuminated with gold.

The small church

An illustration of a small church at the Winter Palace.
View of the Small Church in the Winter Palace, 1862. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

Along with all the other rooms at the Winter Palace, the great estate also had its own church. The warmth from the windows and the muted green and gold colors create an inviting space here, and a mural is painted on the ceiling.

The studio of George Dawe

An illustration of an art studio at the Winter Palace.
Emperor Alexander I in the studio of George Dawe in the Winter Palace. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

George Dawe, the English portraitist, had his own studio at the Winter Palace. This makes sense, as he was the one who painted over 300 portraits of Russian generals active during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia for the Military Gallery at the palace.

St. George’s Hall

A large room at the Winter Palace.
The St. George’s Hall (Great Throne Hall) in the Winter Palace. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

One of the largest rooms at the Winter Palace, St. George’s Hall, served as the principal throne room and hosted many formal events involving the royal family. It exudes grandeur, with large pillars lining the walls and multiple chandeliers hanging from the decorated ceiling.

The grand staircase

A grand staircase at the Winter Palace.
The Grand Staircase of the Winter Palace. Also known as Ambassador’s Staircase or Jordan Staircase. (Photo Credit: Fine Art Images / Heritage Images / Getty Images)

Given the opulence of the rest of the Winter Palace, it’s no surprise the grand staircase is just as luxurious as the rest of the estate. The ivory stone, the intricate detailing of the ceiling, and the massive granite pillars all add to the grandeur of the grand staircase.

The library

A wood library at the Winter Palace.
Library of the Winter Palace Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia. (Photo Credit: Education Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images)

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One of the less flashy rooms at the Winter Palace is that of Tsar Nicholas II’s private library. Rather than use bright colors or rich stones, the library features intricate wood accents in a Gothic style. The warmth of the walnut is enriched by the glow of the chandelier, making this one of the coziest spaces in the palace.