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Palaces and museums of St. Petersburg - Historical Memorial Museum of Smolny

In 1749 the most talented architect B.Rastrelli by the decree of the Empress Elizabeth was ordered to construct a convent in the city outskirts, on an abandoned site of the Admiralty tar stone – hence the name Smolny (Tar) Convent. It is supposed that the palace should have accommodated 120 nuns of the best families. During the life of Rastrelli construction of the monastery was not finished and in 1830 architect Stasov continued to work on the interior decoration in the classical style. When Catherine the second ascended the throne it was decided to create "Educational society of noble maidens" or the Smolny institute - the first Russian educational institution for women.

Originally the institute was located in the unfinished building of the monastery, and then it was moved into a new building which was created in 1806-1808 years next to the monastery by the project of architect J. Quarenghi. This new construction known as Smolny Palace was made in a classical style and differs with simplicity and elegance of the decor. Despite the difference in style, the building of the Smolny palace is considered to be a part of the ensemble of Smolny convent. After the February revolution of 1917, the institute of noble maidens ceased to exist, and in the Smolny palace housed the executive committee of the Petrograd soviet of workers' and soldiers' deputies. Now Smolny is housed by the Government and the Administration of Saint-Petersburg, besides there is a historical and memorial museum, where you can climb up the bell tower of Smolny Cathedral  to enjoy the city panorama and a short concert of bells.


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