The Menshikov Palace

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        Alexander Menshikov was Peter the Great’s closet associate and friend. Coming from the lower classes, he earned the superior titles, ranks and orders: Prince of Rome and Russia, the Duke of Izhora, the Field Mar­shal, the bearer of St Andrey Pervozvanny order, of Danish Elephants order, of Prussian Black Eagle order and Polish White Eagle order. The tsar trusted Men­shikov with all his most important business. His main duty was to realize all Peter’s projects. But he was well- known for his machinations. Menshikov was given Vasilievsky Island as a present in 1709. Later, in 1714, the tsar took back his present. When Menshikov owned the island, he managed to build this palace. Menshikov was the first general governor of St Petersburg and did much for its development.

        Menshikov’s first palace was made of wood. In 1710, the large stone palace with a garden was laid. It was the most luxurious building in St Petersburg after the project of the architect Giovanni Mario Fontana. He be­gan the construction and it was finished in 1714 by the architect Johann Gottfried Schedel. This palace was the first large building of stone in St Petersburg. The style of this palace successfully combined traditional Russian and West European methods and forms of architecture. Dutch and Russian tile, wooden paneling, carved and gilded decorations, sculptured moulding and monumental decorative painting have been used in its rich and original ornamentation. In this luxurious palace lavish festivities, great banquets and official diplomatic recep­tions were held.

        In the course of its long history the Menshikov Palace was repeatedly extended and rebuilt. In 1727, in a strug­gle for power Menshikov lost and was sent to Siberia where he died two years later. Since 1731, the palace housed a privileged military educational establishment, known later as the first Cadet School.

        The palace was restored to its original appearance at the end of the 20th century. In 1981, the palace became a branch of the State Hermitage. The building itself and its restored interiors are the most important exhib­its of this museum. This palace is the fine example of a private house of the first quarter of the 18th century preserved till our days.

 

Vocabulary

associate - товарищ, партнер, помощник

appearance - внешний вид

banquet - банкет

bearer - носитель

branch - отрасль, ветвь

cadet - кадет

carve - высекать, вырезать

combine - комбинировать

course - течение, ход

development - развитие

duke - герцог, князь

earn - заслуживать

establishment - учреждение

exhibit - экспонат; выставлять

extend - расширять

festivity - празднество, торжество

gilded - позолоченный

governor - губернатор

interior - интерьер

lavish - расточительный

lay - положить начало, заложить

lose (lost; lost) - проигрывать

luxurious - роскошный

machination - махинация

manage - управлять

monumental - изумительный, колоссальный

mould – форма

own - владеть

panel - панель

preserve - сохранять

privileged - привилегированный

realise- осуществлять, реализовывать

reception - прием, встреча

repeatedly - повторно, неоднократно

restore – восстанавливать

struggle - борьба

success - успех

superior - высший

tile - черепица

title - титул

trust -  доверять, полагаться

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