Winter Palace was constructed here in 1708 by tsar
Peter the Great. It was a simple wooden house made in a Dutch style.
Just three years later it was replaced by a more permanent stone
building. The magnificent palace that you see today was commissioned
by Empress Anna Ioannovna in 1731. Its chief architect was Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli.
It took only four years to complete and it was finished in 1735, but in 1752
famous master of Baroque architect was asked to expand the palace by Empress
Elizabeth or Elizaveta Petrovna. New reconstruction lasted for two years and
was completed in 1754. At a height of 22 meters it is the tallest building
in the historic centre of Saint Petersburg. After great fire of 1837 most of
interior were remodelled under supervision of Vasily Stasov. During World War
I Imperial Palace was stripped off its furniture and instead turned into a
hospital for the wounded soldiers. After last Russian Emperor Nicholas II
abdicated in 1917, Winter Palace was turned an official seat of the
Provisional Government under Alexander Kerensky. He didn't last too long and
just 9 months later Bolsheviks staged a coup against the government and
overthrew democratic government, thus establishing their tyranny for several
decades. Today it is turned into art museum known World wide as a Hermitage.