Saint Petersburg, Russia, was, from 1732 to 1917, the official residence of the Russian monarchs. Today, the restored palace forms part of a complex of buildings housing the Hermitage Museum. The palace was constructed on a monumental scale that was intended to drawing winter in stages for children the might and power of Imperial Russia. 125 million subjects by the end of the 19th century.
The first Winter Palace, designed in 1711 for Peter the Great, by Domenico Trezzini who, 16 years later, was to design the third Winter Palace. The 18th century was a period of great development in European royal architecture, as the need for a fortified residence gradually lessened. This process, which had begun in the late 16th century, accelerated and great classical palaces quickly replaced fortified castles throughout the more powerful European countries. The third Winter Palace of 1727.
Designed by Domenico Trezzini it incorporated the second Winter Palace of 1721 by Georg Mattarnovy as one of its terminating pavilions. The first Winter Palace was a modest building of two main floors under a slate roof. It seems that Peter soon tired of the first palace, for in 1721, the second version of the Winter Palace was built under the direction of architect Georg Mattarnovy. The Winter Palace was not the only palace in the unfinished city, or even the most splendid, as Peter had ordered his nobles to construct residences and to spend half the year there. Saint Petersburg was founded upon a swamp, with little sunlight, and it was said only cabbages and turnips would grow there. As a result of pressed slave labour from all over the Empire, work on the city progressed quickly. It has been estimated that 200,000 people died in twenty years while building the city.
Feast of the Epiphany the Tsar descended this Imperial staircase in state for the ceremony of the “Blessing of the Waters. On Peter the Great’s death in 1725, the city of Saint Petersburg was still far from being the centre of western culture and civilization that he had envisioned. Many of the aristocrats who had been compelled by the Tsar to inhabit Saint Petersburg left. Peter I was succeeded by his widow, Catherine I, who reigned until her death in 1727.
She in turn was succeeded by Peter I’s grandson Peter II, who in 1727 had Mattarnovy’s palace greatly enlarged by the architect Domenico Trezzini. In 1728, shortly after the third palace was completed, the Imperial Court left Saint Petersburg for Moscow, and the Winter Palace lost its status as the principal imperial residence. Moscow had once again been designated the capital city, a status which had been granted to Saint Petersburg in 1713. Following the death of Peter II in 1730, the throne passed to a niece of Peter I, Anna Ivanovna, Duchess of Courland.