Cabin of Peter The Great
The cabin (cottage) of Peter the Great is the first royal residence to be erected on the Neva embankment - a small pine-log house built by military carpenters in the span of just 3 days in 1703.
Peter stayed here for just a few days before the Great Northern War with Sweden. It is the oldest Saint Petersburg building still standing in the city.
Modelled on the traditional Russian village house (izba), it is also reminiscent of a Dutch home, having large windows and a high roof covered with shingles.
The vestibule and each of the three rooms are furnished with Peter’s belonging and fitting period items, objects related to the founding of the city and the construction and restoration of the house. His bedroom contains a 1707 iron cast of his hand. You can also see a chair built by the tsar himself! The dining room was turned into a chapel by his daughter Elizabeth in the 1740s.
This little cottage is still carefully preserved. It is surrounded by a neat building with large arched windows, having the ap pearance of a conservatory or green-house, which was erected, in 1823, by order of the present Princess of Orange, sister to the late Emperor Alexander, who purchased it to secure its preservation. In the first room you still see the little oak table and three chairs which constituted its furniture when Peter occupied it.
A memoir of the life of Peter the Great, 1837, Sir John Barrows
Under the vaults of the stone tent roof with the glazed arches raised over the cottage in 1844, an exhibition devoted to the victory of Russia in the Northern War and to the early years of the city's construction has been set up.
In 1875, a garden was laid our round the cottage and a bronze bust of Peter was mounted on a marble plinth, cast from a model by Parmen Zabello. This bust is a simplified copy of the one made by Carlo Rastrelli, for whom Peter the Great sat in person, and now kept in the Hermitage.
With religious scrupulousness his rooms are preserved in precisely the same order as when he occupied them. There stands his bedstead; there are his tools, his architect’s rule, his inkstand, and some old fragments of his clothing; Everything he touched, all that belonged to him, is held sacred by his descend ants; and even a foreigner cannot but feel a pious emotion at the sight of these relics—mementos of the thoughts, deeds, and mode of life of the greatest man of his time.
St Petersburg and Its People, 1855, E. Jermann
Originally the building was known as the Red Mansion or the Original Palace. Red because it was painted to look as though it was made of red brick – despite the actual material being pine logs.
... a simple dwelling suited to the man who, though an emperor, knew by personal experience what it was to toil as a common laborer.
Russia in the Summer of 1914, Jared Scudder
It was placed under the protection of the Museums Authority in 1918, and in 1930, the cottage was opened as a museum.