The Mikhailovsky Palace was built for Mikhail, the brother of Nicholas I, by Carlo Rossi between the years of 1819 and 1825.
Its main building is located at the back of a forecourt formed by the administrative premises. The high railing separating the forecourt from the square is considered to be one of the finest examples of wrought-iron work in Saint Petersburg. It’s dissected by three gates, the gate posts of which are decorated with military accoutrements. Under the arcade supporting the protruding central eight-column portico, ramps allowed carriages to drive right up to the palace’s main entrance.
A wide granite staircase decorated with bronze lions (copies of classical originals) leads up to the doors. On the sides of the portico, between the rounded windows of the first floor, Corinthian semi-columns rise in rhythmical order.
As one of his contemporaries testifies, Rossi considered the palace he created for Mikhail to be reminiscent of the Louvre. The main building of the palace, which served as Mikhail’s residence, was built up like the side buildings in two floors but was twice as high.
The erection of the Mikhailovski Palace was being pushed forward with the utmost speed. The stage at which it had arrived can easily be imagined if we reflect that the foundation-stone of the building was laid in November 1797 and that the Emperor declared he was going to inhabit it with his Court in February 1801. He seemed to have a presentiment that he would not live in it long, and to be making haste to enjoy the few days of power that remained to him.
Memoirs of Countess Golovin, 1813
A park was laid out at the back of the palace. There, near the Moika, Carlo Rossi built a graceful pavilion from which a granite terrace with a wrought-iron railing and staircases leads down to the river.