St. Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great in 1703 at the place where the Neva falls into the Baltic Sea. It was founded during the period of the most active military actions of the Northern War with Sweden, waged by Russia for the outlet to the Baltic Sea.

For the first seven years on the place of the future capital of the Russian Empire there were built only wooden izbas (log cabins). The construction of stone buildings became possible only in 1710, when the Russian troops captured Vyborg, thereby securing St. Petersburg from enemy attacks.

In those years the Prince Menshikov was the closest retainer of Peter the Great, and during the Northern War he also proved to be a good military leader. And in consideration of all his merits, Peter I gave Menshikov the whole Vasilievsky Island, where the latter began an intensive building activity. So, in St. Petersburg there appeared the Menshikov Palace – one of the oldest surviving stone buildings of the city.

Today the Menshikov Palace doesn’t seem as impressive as the magnificent imperial residences of St. Petersburg, such as the Catherine Palace or Peterhof Palace. However, its historic value isn’t the least for that as in the course of several decades the Menshikov Palace was the most luxurious mansion in the northern capital, where the tsar Peter I held all receptions, dinners and even his own wedding.

The palace and its garden occupied a huge space on Vasilievsky Island from the Bolshaya (Big) Neva to the Malaya (Small) Neva. If you take it into account that by 1714, when the Menshikov Palace was finished, it was surrounded by undrained swamps, and Peter I had a small two-floor Summer Palace in the Summer Garden only just finished, such display of luxury wasn’t quite justified.

Thirteen years later, on May, 12, 1727 the tsar gave Alexander Menshikov the rank of generalissimo (only Suvorov and Stalin had this rank after him), and in several months accused him embezzlement of the treasury and exiled to Berezov. The Menshikov Palace was confiscated and given to the Cadet Corps. In the Soviet time the Menshikov Palace was returned the rank of the museum, and there were restored the significant part of historic interiors.

Of the greatest interest are the Nut Room, the Barbara`s Chamber, the Study from the Anteroom and the Predspalnya (anteroom) – such were the names of the front rooms within the private chambers of the Menshikov Palace. On the first floor there are rooms, which were characteristic for the buildings of the first half of 18 century - the Guard Room, the Great Hall, and the Great Seni. Now the Menshikov Palace is a branch of the State Hermitage Museum and is at least as interesting as the other palaces and residencies of St. Petersburg.

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A view of the Menshikov Palace from the Neva river
The main building of the Menshikov Palace on Vasilyevsky island in Saint Petersburg
Walnut drawing-room of Menshikov Palace at St. Petersburg
Palace and a garden occupied a huge space on Vasilievsky Island and was the most luxurious estate of St. Petersburg
Great Hall of Menshikov Palace where balls and parties took place
View of the Menshikov Palace from the Neva River
Barbara`s Room or the bedroom of Barbara Alekseyevna Arsenyeva, sister-in-law of Menshikov
The facade of the Palace of Menshikov on Vasilevsky island
The adjoining room of the Barbara`s Room at Menshikov Palace
Bedroom of Menshikov with the bed at Menshikov Palace
Painting room and Walnut drawing-room are in the buildings facing the river Neva
Great Hall is the first public room of Menshikov Palace
The anteroom near the study of Menshikov
The map of Vasilievsky (Basil) Island on the table at the anteroom of Menshikov Palace
Bolshie Seni (anteroom) of Menshikov Palace at St. Petersburg
Original door of the Walnut drawing-room at the time of Menshikov
The clock of 18 century are in the Great Hall of Menshikov Palace
Western reception room (dining-room) of Menshikov Palace
Chinese drawing-room of Menshikov Palace
Ante bedroom is the first ceremonial room of Menshikov Palace
The room for orderly sailors and oarsmen at Menshikov Palace
Turnery is a place where prince Menshikov liked to work
Stair from the Bolshie Seni (anteroom) to the first (second) floor of Menshikov Palace
Portrait room of Menshikov Palace
Kitchen of Menshikov Palace
Corps de garde, or guardroom, of Menshikov Palace
The model of Menshikov Palace