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Palaces and museums of Saint Petersburg - Engineer (Mikhailovsky) Castle

Mikhailovsky (Inzhenerny) castle is a wonderful work of 2 great architects Brenna and Bazhenov which was created in 1801. The project of the castle itself was made by Paul the first. Emperor Paul I, who, being obsessed with phobias from the cradle, was trying to conceal himself from the potential danger and that is why it was decided to construct not ordinary palace but a fortified castle, with rounded corners in which a small octagonal courtyard is located, complete with moat and cannon. Constructed in the concluding year of the 18th century, the palace displays to the onlooker a certain controversy in the decoration of its facades – one can notice the traces of Italian Renaissance as well as the French Classicism and Gothic. For instance, the north facade features a Doric colonnade while the east – a church with a fine tall spire consecrated to Archangel Michael, whom the emperor considered to be his patron saint (hence the name of the castle).

Ironically, Paul I was assassinated only 40 nights after he moved into his newly built castle. He was murdered on 12 March 1801, in his own bedroom, by a group of dismissed officers. After Paul’s death the castle was empty for 20 years and in 1819 it was given to the army's Main Engineering School (later to become the Nikolayevskaya Engineering Academy and now Military Engineering-Technical University). Since then the building has been called the Engineer Castle and some changes were brought to the facades of the castle, the drawbridges were pulled down, the canals were filled up. Nowadays there is a museum which provides temporary exhibitions of famous artists.


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