About Smolny Institute: Smolny Institute

The last work of the court architect Francesco Rastrelli was the Smolny Female Monastery in the area of the river Okhta. And at that the empress Catherine II dismissed him even before it was finished and gave the building itself not to monastery but to a newly created Society for Education of Noble Maidens, later called the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens. Catherine II decided to create this institution by the model of Paris Saint-Cyr Institute.

The girls were accommodated in the monastic cells, but at once it became clear that they weren’t suited for such purpose, and at the beginning of 19th the emperor Alexander I had the School for Noble Maidens built nearby.

The Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens was the first building in Petersburg, which was built as an educational establishment. The architect Giacomo Quarenghi developed the class-rooms layout, which is still used in designing schools.

After 1917 from the Tauride Palace to the Smolny Institute there was moved VTsIK of Soviets and the Council of People's Commissars headed by V. Lenin. The October Revolution was also directed from there. Today the Smolny Institute houses the Residence of the Governor of St. Petersburg.

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