The Winter Palace (1754-1762)
Under Empress Elizabeth, St. Petersburg became a city of sumptuous baroque grandeur. The crowning glory of the Empress’s architectural endeavor was the Winter Palace, built by Elizabeth’s favorite architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli on the Neva River. The Imperial residence was designed in a distinct Russian baroque style featuring an abundance of decorative details and the lively interchange of columns and statuary embellishing the palace’s graceful facades.
The river façade presented an uninterrupted sweep of over six hundred and fifty feet, blending admirably with the environment. The enormous structure overlooked the vast river expanse in the north and Palace Square in the south. The southern façade had three arches leading into the main ceremonial courtyard behind the elaborate wrought-iron gate.