Yusupov Palace

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The other day my friends and I went to look for the Harley Davidson store. We weren't sure if they were going to have any clothes or souvenirs but we figured we might as well check it out while we had some free time. Little did we know that it was a 20 minute walk along a highway to get there. Of course once we did get there, and after a minute of my awkward Russian-speak, we learned that they were just a dealership. Oh well. It was cold but it wasn't a bad walk and we got to see some new parts of the city.

Friday I took my midterm for Early Russian History. I also got back my test for my Communist Phase class which I got a 5 (A) on! I don't think I did as good on the second test as I did on the first.

Today we had an excursion to Yusupov Palace. This was also a 20 minute walk from the metro however it was a nice walk along one of the smaller rivers, where the streets are line on both sides by old palaces. Yusupov Palace is the place where Prince Felix Yusupov tried (multiple times) to assassinate Rasputin. The tour started with path that the assassins took on their way to kill him. They poisoned him, shot him multiple times, and after he managed to escape, they wrapped him up in a curtain and threw him into the Neva River. When they found his body a few days later they found that he had escaped from the curtain but eventually drowned. I thought that was going to be the main part of the tour but we actually got to tour the entire palace. The Yusupov family was the richest in Russia. The Imperial family actually had to borrow money from them on occasion. The palace was huge, with something crazy like 6 drawing rooms, several dining rooms, a ballroom, a home theater, bedrooms with secret doors, and a library with a hidden nook in the wall full of Pushkin letters. I thought it was prettier than the Winter Palace which was where the Tzars lived.

After that we ate at a small basement Chinese restaurant which looked sketchy from the outside but was really nice inside and the food was great and pretty cheap. We also went to St. Isaac's Cathedral. We went there at the very beginning of the trip but we never went in and we tried going last week but the line was too long. We just got a pass to go on the Colonnade and not into the actually church itself. There was a lot of stairs but the view was worth it. You could see most of the city unfortunately most of the city in under construction in one way or another. My favorite picture is the sunset with all the cranes in the distance. It kind of reminds me of Jurassic Park with all the dinosaurs on the horizon.

Tomorrow were going to see the Nutcracker! We tried to buy tickets to the show at the Mariinsky Theatre but the were 1800 roubles ($80). We asked if it was showing it at any other theaters. The woman said a ton of stuff in Russian that we didn't understand but we ended up buying tickets for 300 roubles instead. We came back here and looked it up online and it turns out its the Nutcracker on ice! I think it's going to be awesome. Or I at least hope it is going to be awesome. We'll find out tomorrow!

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