1792 – 1796. Architect: Giacomo Quarenghi
Designed by the Italian architect Quarenghi in the neoclassical style, the Alexander Palace was a gift from Catherine II to her grandson Alexander on the occasion of his marriage to the Princess of Baden. Painted in deep yellow and white, typical of St. Petersburg neoclassicism, the palace was one of Quarenghi’s best artistic achievements. A renowned artist and art historian, Igor Grabar wrote: “In Petersburg and suburbs there are palaces large and small, some larger and more regal than this one, but architecturally there are none superior. The great double colonnade connecting the wings of the palace is one of a kind!!”
During the nineteenth century, the Alexander Palace was used as a summer residence of the heir to the Russian throne. After the revolutionary upheavals of 1905, the palace became the permanent residence of Nicholas II, who was born in the palace and was deeply attached to Tsarskoe Selo. In the Alexander Palace, the Emperor conducted the affairs of the state.
The Palace became a cherished family home for Nicholas, Alexandra and their five children. The British Ambassador George Buchanan observed, “In the seclusion of Tsarskoe Selo the family lived a simple life that excluded outsiders from that happy family circle.” Nicholas and Alexandra lived in the palace for twelve years until they were arrested and moved to Tobolsk and ultimately to Ekaterinburg, where the family was assassinated at the order of the Bolshevik government.