Yusupov Palace

TOUR THE YUSUPOVs' PALACE WITH US: Tour of The Yusupovs' Palace for cruise passengers,  Tour of The Yusupovs' Palace for independent travelers

The Yusupovs family was one of the few who could boast of more than 1,000 years family history. The founder of this ancient family was a Muslim prince Yusuf who had faithfully served Czar Ivan the Terrible and for his loyalty was given noble rank and the family name Yusupov. For centuries the Yusupovs had been Czars’ trustworthy and favored associates. Nickolas Yusupov senior who had bought the palace on The Moika, served as a Russian diplomat in Europe, and personally met many of European monarchs and aristocracy, had private audience with French philosophers Voltaire, Diderot, Bo Marche, made rare art purchases for Catherine's the Great Imperial Hermitage collection, managed crowning ceremonies of Paul I, Alexander I, Nicolas I. Nickolas Yusupov Junior was member of Parisian conservatoire, Rome Music academy, Munich music society etc.

Yusupov palace Yusupov palace Yusupov palace Yusupov palace

The Yusupovs' Palace on The Moika became the Yusupovs' family residence in 1820 and until the Bolshevik Revolution remained the home of the wealthiest nobles of all Russia. At the beginning of 20th century the Yusupovs' property allegedly surpassed that of the Czars': it included 4 palaces in Petrograd (St. Petersburg), 3 palaces in Moscow, 37 estates in different parts of Russia, coal and iron-ore mines, plants and factories, oil fields on the Caspian Sea. Felix Yusupov (the last owner) recalled: "one of our lands ran 200 miles along the Caspian seashore. There was so much oil that soil seemed to be oversaturated with it ..." Before the October Revolution, the Yusupovs' financial assets were 700-1,000 million rubles (250-500 million dollars), its equivalent in today's values is difficult to imagine. The Yusupovs' Palace on The Moika is notoriously famous for the murder of Rasputin which took place in one of the cell rooms on 16-17 December, 1916.

Murder of Rasputin Zinaida Yusupova

Felix Yusupov had long known Rasputin, frequented night pubs and restaurants with him, but deeply detested him in his heart. The idea to kill Rasputin visited him a year before the actual murder. In December, 1916 he finally accomplished his plan together with 4 conspirators: a member of the state Duma Purishkevich, Prince Dmitry, the military doctor Lazovert and lieutenant Sukhotin. On 16th of December Felix invited Rasputin to his palace to spend a nice evening together and meet his spouse Irene (niece of Emperor Nickolas II) of whose beauty Rasputin had heard much. Irene and Felix's parents were at the time away in Crimea. Felix picked up Rasputin from his house and drove him to The Yusupovs' Palace. They came to the basement room and Felix started treating Rasputin with poisoned cakes and wine. Meanwhile, conspirators stayed upstairs pretending to be partying with Irene (a gramophone played 'Yankee Doodle' again and again, loud voices and laughter were heard). Potassium cyanide had not affected Rasputin after two hours. Tired of conversation, confused and disappointed, Felix ran upstairs to ask for advice. He returned with a Browning pistol and shot at Rasputin. The monk fell down on the floor and seemed dead, but soon moved again and tried to catch Felix and strangle him. Filled with terror, Felix ran upstairs, Rasputin following. More shots were fired at Rasputin by Purishkevich who chased him into the yard. The badly beaten body of Rasputin was finally wrapped in drapes and drowned in The Neva River that night. News of Rasputin's murder quickly spread through Petrograd the next morning. Police managed to find the body only three days later. With much evidence uncovered, Felix and Prince Dmitry were accused of murder and exiled from the city. Empress Alexandra fell into deep sorrow and could not believe what had happened. After Nickolas II's abdication in February 1917 while Russia was in the state of political chaos and full of revolutionary fervour, the Yusupovs decided to leave Petrograd and move to their southern estate in Crimea. Felix last visited his palace in October 1917 (right before The October Revolution) to hide the remaining family treasures in the palace and take some precious things with him. In 1919 the Yusupovs left Russia forever on board the English battleship 'Marlboro'. They lived in Paris for the rest of their lives and were buried at the Russian emmigrant cemetry Sainte-Geneviиve-des-Bois. Felix's daughter Ksenia is still alive. She lives in Greece and has both the Greek and Russian citizenship. She first visited The Yusupovs' Palace in 1991 and now comes to St. Petersburg regularly to participate in important events and concerts held at The Yusupovs' Palace which has never become a museum. In 1919 it was nationalized and in 1925 became the Teachers' Community House.

Open: daily, 11:00am - 5:00pm.

Closed: first Wednesday of the month (October-April).

Tour duration: 3 hours (including pick up and drop off at the hotel).

Tourists' Remarks

 "... On our last night, we visited home of Felix Yusupov, the man who killed Rasputin. Here, you are given a history of the event and see the room where the notorious Rasputin was assassinated, complete with wax figures of Rasputin and Yusupov. After the tour, we were led into a breathtakingly gorgeous theater where we were treated to some typical Russian entertainment including a fantastic piano player and world-renowned ballet dancers. A great experience and a taste of Russian culture !.."

" ... were all keen to see it for its connections with the man credited with killing Rasputin. It housed little of interest, barring a malachite fireplace and a Moorish room complete with onyx fireplace and monolithic bath in carved marble. I liked the blonde birch-wood doors and floors throughout. But all we really wanted to see was the cellar where the process of Rasputin’s bloody assassination began ..."

" ... Yusupov palace was very warm and much more livable than the others we had visited and still remained very grand. We were able to visit all the family rooms including the basement men’s area where Rasputin was poisoned and then shot. We were able to see into the garden where the final shot was fired at Rasputin before he was thrown into the river. The Yusupov family was the richest in the world at that time- worth over 200 million in the 1700’s. They made their fortune from diamond mines in Africa, international trading, and banking. The family does not own the Palace anymore as it belongs to the state but there is a granddaughter still living in Greece ..."

" ... The Yusupovs were the richest family in Russia. Much of their fame is thanks largely to Prince Felix, leader of the group that plotted to kill Rasputin—the mystic, lecherous monk on whom the Tsarina depended to cure her haemophiliac only son. Stories abounded of Rasputin’s evil hold on the empress. Playing on the monk’s legendary weakness for pretty women, Felix invited him to make the acquaintance of his wife Irena ..."

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