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August 14, 2003
The Cabin of Peter I ("The Original Palace", or "The Red Mansion") was built in 1703 on an island in the Neva’s mouth captured from the Swedes. The construction took only three days (May 24 to May 26), and it was the first residence of the Russian Tzar and the first building in St Petersburg.
We can read the information that the location was chosen by Peter I; the palace was made by unknown workmen, but the manner of cutting ("in six angles"), the treatment of logs, the planning of the house and the shape of the windows prove that it was made in the traditions of Swedish national architecture. "The Original Palace" of Peter I is the smallest of the known palaces; it’s 12m long, 5.5m wide, and 2.72m high. There are three rooms here, a study where the Tzar worked (23.5 sq m), a dining room (17 sq m), and a small bedroom (6.75 sq m); there is also a small entrance hall (5.3 sq m). The high four sloped roof was originally decorated with a wooden model of a mortar and two shells "in flames" at both ends: these symbols (lost in the XVIII century) indicated that the house belonged to a military man. It was Peter I’s wish that all the buildings in the city of St Petersburg should have some likeness to the architecture of Amsterdam, so he issued a decree according to which houses in the city should be built of square beams. In those cases, when logs were used, they were to be covered with boards, painted crimson and designed so as to look like Dutch brick masonry. The remnants of such painting were discovered during the restoration of the house in 1971-75.
Peter I spent only a few weeks in this palace. He had to leave St Petersburg at the end of summer of 1703. When he returned another palace, a warm "winter palace" had already been built for him, and the smaller mansion was no longer needed. Thus, the house was turned into a historical structure under the state protection. It was, in fact the 1st museum piece in Russian history.
Open for visitors Wed-Mon (except the last Monday of each month) from 10 am to 5 pm.
From journal St Petersburg
June 21, 2002
Unfortunately, there is limited English to read in the cabin, so our guide was particulary useful. It will not take you long to walk through here, but it is worth the effort of getting there.
From journal Peter’s City
October 31, 2001
I've greatly enjoyed reading & studying about Peter the Great, partly through the works of Pushkin who wrote, "Now an academician, now a hero, now a seafarer, now a carpenter; he, with an all-encompassing soul, was on the throne, an eternal worker."
From journal St. Petersburg--A Window on Europe