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Saint Petersburg, Russia
Introduction   
 
 
The Marble Palace
 
Mramornyi Dvorets or the Marble Palace is located in Saint Petersburg, in Russia. The Neoclassical palace is located between the Palace Quay and the Field of Mars, near the Winter Palace. The Empress Catherine the Great had this built for her favorite nobleman, Count Grigory Orlov. Construction and design of the palace began from 1768 and lasted for 17 years. 
 
The architect Antonio Rinaldi designed the palace, which features opulent marble decorations - pink Karelian marble pillars, Finnish granite floors, and white marble festoons and capitals. The urns that served as decorations are made of Tallinn dolomite. As floor separations, Rinaldi used bluish gray Urals marble. The main staircase is adorned with gray Ural marble, with the stairs inlaid with dark gray sandstone. In all, the Marble Palace used 32 shades and types of marble and granite as adornments for the façade and the interiors. This includes Greek, Italian, Karel, Siberian and Ural marble. Renowned craftsmen such as Stefano Torellu, Fedot Shubin and Mikhail Kozlovsky adorned the palace interiors with stucco and other inlaid colored marbles. 
 
The palace also has a unique design for each of its four façades. One façade features a court is decorated with a statue of Alexander III sitting on a horse. This statue is by Paolo Troubetzkov. It was moved from the Moscow Railway Station to serve as an adornment for the court.
 
Although the palace was made for Count Orlov, the count fell out of favor with Empress Catherine and the palace eventually changed ownership. Count Orlov did not get to see the finished products and the Empress bought the palace from the count's heirs. The Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich eventually owned the palace. Later in 1843, the Grand Duke Constantine Nikolayevich had the palace redecorated. Unfortunately, only the Marble Hall and the main staircase survived the renovation. The rest of the interior was refurbished in the Renaissance, rococo, classicism and Gothic inspiration.
 
At present, the Marble Palace is part of the Russian State Museum and houses exhibitions of the works of foreign artists who lived in Russia during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is acknowledged for its collection of Modern and PopArt, including works of the famous Andy Warhol. The museum also includes the "Peter Ludwig Museum at The Russian Museum, which is a collection of modern art bequeathed by European art collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig. The collection includes works by Russian, American and European artists.
 
The palace address is at Milionnaya Ulitsa 5/1 at Nevsky Prospekt. You may visit the palace during Wednesdays to Sundays, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. However, you can only enter the palace until 5:00. On Mondays, the palace is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
The Marble Palace is an amazing example of the luxury and splendor of royal life at the time. It is a testimony of the Russian expertise in marble processing. The marble's colors and understated beauty is sure to take your breath away.

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