Tuesday, 6 September 2016
Admiralty Side of the Winter Palace
There were two parade grounds surrounding the Winter Palace, Admiralty Square on the western side and Palace Square (photo below).
Prior to the fire in 1837, Nicholas I had the vegetation removed around the palace and replaced with cobbled stones.
The Admiralty side of the Winter Palace was the main parade ground until 1896, when the private garden was built for Nicholas II.
Sadovnikov’s painting below shows the Admiralty side of the Winter Palace (note the green tent over the portico).
In April 1873, 2000 musicians were assembled here in the evening that ended the celebrations to mark the 55th birthday of Alexander II.
The Saltykov was the main entrance to the palace from the Admiralty. From 1840 until the summer of 1855, a green tent covered the platform above the Saltykov portico (note green porch in Sadovnikov’s painting). The Imperial family and guests would come out the door from Alexander II’s reception room to watch the military parades.
In 1856, the archive documents confirm that Alexander II forbid the Major of the Gate 'to erect a tent on the balcony of His Own [Saltykov] porch’.
The photos below show one year with the tent, another without. Alexander II appeared to waver with his 1856 order!
In 1885, the architect N.A. Gornostaev built the ramp to the Saltykov entrance visible in the photo below.
The photo below clearly shows the ‘gazebo’ that was at the Saltykov entrance. I haven’t seen any reference in the archives on this structure. Was it to protect the Emperor from the elements when reviewing the troops? Improbable as it would have shown weakness. Do you have any ideas, can you help me?