In order to tour the Yusupov Palace at 94 Moika, you must call ahead and make an appointment for a guide. It is one of the few palaces in St. Petersburg where you must be accompanied by a palace employee. English speaking guides are available and my personal favorite is a lady named Zoya. She goes out of her way to be as entertaining as possible.
The Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful privately built palaces in the world. It boasts a life span of 250 years. It is not only beautiful; its history is forever linked to the assassination of the mad monk, Rasputin. It was here that Prince Felix Yusupov and a small group of elitists determined to stop Rasputin’s outrageous conduct that was seen by the royalists as so harmful to the cause of Tsar Nicholas II. One of the most popular stops in the palace is a special room where wax figures are arranged to show the main characters in this drama.
When you enter the palace which is built along the banks of the romantic Moika River you are immediately presented with a wide, beautiful staircase which leads to the second floor of the palace where you cannot help but be amazed by the opulent appointments and furniture in place there. Rooms include the music hall, a jewel of a private theater, the oriental bath, living apartments, picture galleries, drawing rooms, the library, and the fabulous restaurant where you may order a meal from a set menu in advance of your visit.
The palace is filled with fantastic art and objects of art. The Yusupovs were one of the richest families in the Empire and owned all sorts of manufacturing plants that created many of the fine pieces on display in the palace. The Yusupov line produced many beautiful women, and the men were noted as great collectors of art and all things beautiful. As the palace was used to entertaining the Romanovs on frequent occasions, the owners spared no expense in making sure the palace was a place where even the Tsar of all Russia would be quite at home! This is a must see for visitors that come to St. Petersburg.
In closing it must be stated that the gift shops in the palace sell very high quality objects of Russian applied art and other souvenirs that represent all areas of Russia. Credit cards are accepted but cash buyers may ask for and get special discounts. The various chess sets there are very historical in nature and would be a credit to anyone’s collection. I splurged on a set that pits the Russians against the forces of Napoleon at Austerlitz.