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Home » Sights » The Cabin of Peter the Great

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The Cabin of Peter the Great

A wooden house of Peter I on the Petrogradskaya Side is a witness of the first days of the city. In the papers of Peter-s time it was called "The Original Palace" or "The Red Mansion". The Swedish carpenters built the 12.7 x 5.7 blockhouse of pine logs in three days - 24-26 May 1703. There were "burning" canon balls and a wooden mortar on the roof symbolizing that the house belonged to the "captain of the bombardier company". From the outside the house walls were painted as if made of brick and the frames and the doors were decorated with paintwork. During the restoration in the 1971-75s headed by the architect A. Gessen, the so-called "grass" oil ornament on the frames of windows and doors was cleared. Flowers and grass interweave - roses, dogrose, peppermint, cornflowers, carnations... Large tricuspidate windows with lead binding, six-sided logs and the Cabin planning itself are unusual for traditional Russian wooden architecture. Once all the inner doors of the Cabin were removed from the Swedish ships captured by Peter I. The doors still retain some paintwork. There are a study, a dining room, a bedroom and a hall in the Cabin. There was a fireplace of ceramic tiles in the study. The atmosphere of Peter-s time has been recreated in the rooms. The sailcloth upholsters the walls. The "moon" glass glazes the windows. The glass was made recently according to the technique of the early 18th century. Peter cared for the preservation of the Original Palace. In 1723 a "case" - an open stone gallery with a roof (arch. D.Trezzini) - was built to protect the Cabin in bad weather. In 1822 the embrasures of the gallery were glazed. In 1846 a new, more spacious stone case with large windows was built according to the project of the architect R. Kuzmin. In 1889, the building was enlarged from the Northern and Southern sides. In the late 19th century a small garden was laid out around the Cabin. On special occasions the members of the Emperor-s family planted oaks there using a special silver spade that was kept in the house until the Revolution of 1917. Some of these trees still grow. For a long time an invaluable reliquary was kept there - a Sudarium icon that belonged to Peter I. In 1742, Elisabeth I ordered to build a chapel in the Cabin to worship the icon. To control an endless flow of visitors a window in the bedroom was turned into a doorway and, thus, pilgrims could enter the chapel (the former dining room) through the hall and left it through the door of the bedroom. Nowadays this icon is in the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour in Saint-Petersburg. In 1871, on the donations of the citizens, the territory surrounding the Cabin of Peter I was fenced in "a cast-iron grating with gilt elements". In 1874, the City Duma adopted a decision to enlarge the lot and in 1875 it was fenced in a cast-iron grating similar to the first inner one. In the same year a miniature garden was laid out. (N. - F. Gillet - P. P. Zabello, copied from the original design by B. K. Rastrelli). There was a bronze bust of Peter I in the middle. In December 1929, the Chapel was destroyed; the fencing of the outer garden was dismantled. The symbols of the emperor-s power were removed from the inner fencing. In 1930, a museum was opened in the Cabin of Peter the Great. Nowadays there is an exposition of memorial belongings of Peter the Great in the museum: a uniform made of red woollen cloth; a pipe of boxwood with agate insets (a present from A. Menshikov); a cane in Oriental style covered with a sea skate skin, with a handle decorated with gilt on the japanning; a cast of Peter-s hand copied from the print made at the ironworks in Lipetsk (1707); a light boat built by Peter himself which he used it to cross the Neva river. An armchair made of pear tree wood is near the table. A legend says that it was Peter I who made it. In 1999, in the process of complex renovation a historical planning of the lot and the fencing of the outer garden were reconstructed. The inner fencing with all the details and colours was restored

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