The Yusupov Palace on the Moika Canal
Located on the Moika Canal in the center of St Petersburg, Yusupov Palace is a showcase of the lavish and aristocratic lifestyle of the nobles. Excursion of the Palace during 3-day tour in St Petersburg is the best way to feel the beauty and opulence of the elite who lived in Russia starting from the time of Peter the Great. The Palace was owned by five generations of the aristocratic Yusupov family between 1830 and 1917. The Palace is one of the few remaining examples of an aristocratic mansion still standing in St Petersburg and includes an art gallery, luxurious theatre, music room, and the private quarters of the Yusupov family. Over the years many of the rooms have been meticulously restored to give tourists the feeling of a lifestyle reserved for a few elite families in city.
Grigory Rasputin — Murdered in Yusupov Palace
Yusupov Palace was made famous as the place where the Siberian peasant and Russian mystic Grigory Rasputin was assassinated on December 17, 1916 in the private room of Prince Felix Yusupov. Over the years there has been controversy, myths, and a great deal of mystery surrounding the death of Rasputin. As part of a tour in Yusupov Palace visitors can see a recreation of the events that took place on this fateful evening.
Rasputin was known throughout Russia as a mystic healer, prophet, and visionary. However, many believed him to be a religious charlatan who used his powers of persuasion over Emperor Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, and their only son Alexei, to partake in excesses of drinking and sex. He was certainly a controversial figure and in some circles has been credited with the eventual fall of the Romanov dynasty in Russia. A group of nobleman including Prince Felix Yusupov had decided that Rasputin’s influence over the Royal Family was so great that the only recourse was to assassinate him.
On the night of December 16th Rasputin was given an open invitation to visit Yusupov Palace to visit with Princess Irina. Once in the Palace Rasputin was brought by Prince Yusupov to the cellar where he was offered red wine and various cakes, all laced with enough of the poison cyanide to kill up to 5 men. As Yusupov anxiously waited, there was no result and he quickly ran upstairs to consult with the other conspirators. It was believed later that the mystic had an immunity to poison or that in fact he never tasted the wine and cakes due to a medical condition. Prince Yusupov returned to Rasputin and shot him in the back with a revolver and quickly left the palace along with the other conspirators. Upon his return and to his astonishment, Rasputin was still alive and whispered to Yusupov «you bad boy» and proceeded to unsuccessfully strangle him. Rasputin was quickly shot 3 more times, beaten, sexually abused (apparently having his penis severed), wrapped in carpeting, and thrown into the icy Neva River.
It was determined that Rasputin died from drowning, although the poison should have killed him much earlier. Eventually Rasputin’s body was taken to the woods and burned. In the flames Rasputin apparently sat up and tried to move, shocking those people overseeing the horrifying event. The most believable explanation for this was an improper cremation, although many still believed that Rasputin contained some mystical powers and that he simply refused to die.