Located at the heart of St. Petersburg this palace was named after the daughter of Emperor Nicolas I, the Great Princess Mary and was designed by Andrey Stackenschneider.
The land on which Mariinskiy was developed was formerly a St. Petersburg residence of Zakhar Chernyshev, a prominent military commander who had played a key role in the Seven Years' War and been Minister of War in the reign of Catherine the Great. In 1839, Emperor Nicholas I ordered Stackensneider to build a palace as a wedding gift to his daughter who was about to marry Duke Maximilian of Leuchtenberg, the step-grandson of Napoleon Bonaparte and a keen amateur scientist and art collector.
Stackensneider, who was also the main architect of the Nikolaevskiy Palace and the Beloselskiy-Belozerskiy Palace, created a majestic neoclassical building with elaborate decor inspired by medieval French and Renaissance architecture. In 1884, the Mariinskiy Palace was bought back from Maria Nikolaevna's heirs by the Imperial Estates and assigned by Alexander III to house the State Council of Imperial Russia.
The palace has been used as a government building ever since - as home to the Council of the Russian Republic under the Provisional Government of 1917, to the Leningrad Soviet after the Second World War, and since 1994 to St. Petersburg's Legislative Assembly.
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