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Smolny Institute in Saint-Petersburg photo

At the beginning of 19 century, the Smolny Palace was built near the Smolny Convent. Originally, the palace was designed as an educational institution for girls from noble families. He was named the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens. 

Catherine II decided to establish the Institute for Noble Maidens in 1764. Initially, it was called the Imperial Educational Society of Noble Maidens, and its rules there were indicated the following purposes: “to give the state educated women, good mothers, useful members of the family and society”.

At first, this institute was housed in the Smolny Convent. It was comfortable enough for nuns but was not suitable for a large educational institution, where it was necessary to organize their educational process of 200 girls, in addition to their life.

In 1806, next to the magnificent baroque monastery building designed by Francesco Rastrelli, there was built the simple classic Smolny Palace. It was designed by Giacomo Quarenghi. Quarenghi has developed a class layout, which is still used in school design.

After the February Revolution of 1917, the Provisional Government raised the issue of vacating the Smolny Palace. And the Institute for Noble Maidens, headed by Princess Golitsyna, moved to Novocherkassk in the south of Russia where the last graduation took place in 1919.

In October 1917, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of Workers` and Soldiers` Deputies` Soviets and the Council of People`s Commissars led by V. Lenin moved from the Tauride Palace to the Smolny Palace (Institute). The October Revolution was also led from there. On October 25, Lenin came to the Smolny Palace. That day, on October 25, all the key objects of the capital (railway stations, telegraph, post office, bridges, etc.) were in the hands of the Bolsheviks. Lenin issued an address “To the Citizens of Russia” where he announced the deposition of the Provisional Government and the transfer of power to the Military Revolutionary Committee.

Lenin lived and worked in the Smolny Palace from October 1917 to March 10, 1918, when the government moved to Moscow. Together with Krupskaya, Lenin occupied two rooms in the Smolny Palace, which were later turned into a museum.

During the Great Patriotic War, the Smolny Palace housed the defense staff of the city under siege. Now the Smolny Palace is the residence of the Governor of St. Petersburg, so free access to this palace is closed. However, given the scale of the historical events with which the Smolny Palace is associated, excursions are still held there.

During an excursion you can see the exposition devoted to the three main periods: Institute for Noble Maidens, the October Revolution and the rooms of Lenin with his personal belongings and the period of the siege of Leningrad during the Great Patriotic War.