Thursday, October 05, 2006

Yusopov Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia

More from my trip to Russia:

I had to give Yusupov Palace its own travelogue email because it truly made an impression on me. Never a royal residence, it was owned by the Yusupov family who were even more wealthy than the reigning czars at the time of the revolution. This is the palace were Rasputin was first poisoned, shot, bludgeoned and finally drowned back in December of 1916. This was also the favorite palace of Queen Elizabeth II during her first official visit to Russia in 1994--a fact I do not dispute based on the hilarious photo of her visit. (She is standing there with an open mouthed grin ear to ear, her teeth showing like some sort of musical comedy star.)

Anyway, we had the palace all to ourselves the night we toured it and were greeted by court dancers in 18 century costume lining the grand staircase upon our arrival. We were then given a private tour of the palace and were led down to the apartment of rooms and basement where the murder of Rasputin was first plotted and then carried out. (There are wax figures depicting the event.) After that we were led to a ballroom where we were served caviar and champagne, were entertained by the court dancers and a quintet of traditional Russian instruments. From there we were led into a jewel box of a theater and listened to an opera concert. As you can imagine I bought into all this nonsense hook, line and sinker!

The photos below are: The court dancers greeting us on the grand staircase, Rasputin about to eat some "poisoned pastries," The red reception room, One of the ballrooms (if you follow the feet of the muses on the ceiling you can learn to dance), Our very talented and entertaining quintet of musicians, And finally the theatre with the concert in full swing.Enjoy!

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