Yelagin Palace is a royal summer palace on Yelagin Island in Saint Petersburg, located appr 20 min drive from the city center.
The palace as well as the land was named after their first owner, Ivan Yelagin, close ally of Catherine the Great. Despite the fact that the place was passing over from hands to hands, it still retained its original name.
It served as a royal summer palace during the reign of Russian Tsar Alexander I. After the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna declared that she was too old to make daily trips to such distant residences as Pavlovsk Palace and Gatchina Palace, her son – Tsar Alexander I bought the estate from Yelagin's heirs and asked architect Carlo Rossi to design the villa on the site of an earlier mansion. And the new palace was constructed In 1822 on the site of an earlier mansion.
Its lavish Neoclassical interiors were decorated by famous sculptors and architects of that time. The entrance is guarded by two lion sculptures, inspired by the Medici lions in Florence.
After Maria Feodorovna's death, the palace remained the alternative imperial residence, however, the emperors didn’t often stay there.
At the beginning of the XX century, the palace lost its value and significance and was never again the official residence of any member of the Imperial family but turned into the resting place for prime ministers of the Russian Empire
After the October Revolution in Russia (in 1917), the Bolsheviks turned the Yelagin Palace into ‘a museum of the old lifestyle’. Later on the Yelagin Palace was reformed into a cultural and educational center.
In 1932 on the territory of the Elagin Island the Central park was created. The place became the most popular resting spot for the citizens of Leningrad.
During the World War II, the palace and park were badly damaged. After the end of the war the restoration work had begun Immediately, and in 1961 the revived palace received first visitors as the one-day rest base for workers with exhibition halls on the first floor. Those years, the park became the main zone of active rest of all citizens.
Yelagin Palace and park ensemble, that preserved the original charm, remains one of the favorite resting spot for many generations of Petersburg citizens for three centuries in a row.
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