The Menshikov Palace was named after the first governor-general of Sankt Petersburg, Prince Alexander Menshikov. The edifice dates from the beginning of the 18th century, having been erected in 1710 on Vasilevsky Island. Throughout time, the palace has been used for various purposes, both as dwelling and for administrative purposes. At present, the Menshicov Palace is part of the Federal Cultural Institution “State Hermitage.”
The architectural design of the Menshikov Palace is unique and this can be explained by the process of construction it underwent. The building work took a considerable number of years until completion and the design was conveyed by a team of European artists and architects: Giovanni Mario Fontana, Johann Gottfried Schadel, Domenico Trezzini, Carlo Bartolommeo Rastrelli, Georg Johanns Mattarnovi, Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond. But the palace was erected by the hands of Russian people, these having transposed the ideas on paper into the palpable construction one can admire nowadays.
The architectural design of the palace is a mixture of traditional Russian elements and novel features, imported from Europe, which consisted of the newest developments both in the structure and the design of buildings.
At the interior, the palace is decorated with paintings, molds, marble, vintage and modern Italian sculptures, textiles, tapestries, Russian and Dutch tiles. Although there is quite a variety of decorative elements, they are tastefully arranged so you don’t feel overwhelmed when entering a room.
The beautiful museum contained a numismatic collection, as well as statues, documents, books, and paintings and was considered the cultural center of Sankt Petersburg at that time.
But when Prince Alexander Menshikov lost his status, his possessions were impounded by the state and the palace came under the patronage of the First Cadet Corps.
The edifice was preserved to its original design as it was subjected to restoration during the 1970s. When this work was completed, the palace, now transformed into a museum, was opened for visitations from 1981 onward. The objects on display are not solely the private collections of prince Meshinkov, but include items belonging to the Imperial Family, as well as collections of the nobility.