The Сabin of Peter I
At the behest of Peter I a large city grew out of swampy forests and later became one of the most beautiful cities not only in Russia, but in the whole Europe. St. Petersburg appeared contrary to common sense and the laws of nature. Many critics told Peter that it was impossible, but he did not listen to public opinion and did what he thought was necessary. There are few evidences of how Peter lived in the first years of construction of the future capital, while legends galore. However, history has preserved the first building of St. Petersburg to our days – a wooden cabin of Peter I.
The Emperor Peter I
Grandiose construction of St. Petersburg began in 1703 in the midst of the Russian-Swedish war, and it was assumed that the city should become an impregnable fortress. For the future capital of the Russian Empire Peter the Great chose a small island, with three sides washed by the river and a small duct on the Northern side. The works on the fortress construction were most convenient to observe from the right bank of the Neva river, therefore, only eight days after the laying of the foundation stone of the fortress, Peter ordered to build a small wooden palace in which he could live and personally supervise the construction process.
According to a legend, the cabin of Peter I was built in just three days by three first-class carpenters. Unfortunately we can’t say with confidence who was the architect of the wooden palace of the emperor. According to one version it was an unknown Russian carpenter, the other version states that some of the European architects were involved, and proponents of the third version say that the house was moved to the right bank of the Neva river from the Nienschanz fortress. The fact that building such a facility in three days from local forests was almost impossible induces to accept the latter one. Most likely, we will never know how it actually happened, but, anyway, Peter’s cabin is the only wooden building that has been preserved since the construction of St. Petersburg.
“The amazing thing is that the wooden palace on the banks of the Neva river became a memorial during the life of its owner”
The amazing thing is that the wooden palace on the banks of the Neva river became a memorial during the life of its owner. When you see the cabin of Peter I for the first time, there is a strange feeling that you’ve been cheated, because in front of you there is a brick building while historians say that the palace was made of wood. The thing is that the protective “shield” was built around the house to protect it from external influences, and the first safety gallery was raised by the will of the Emperor just 20 years after the construction. Thus Peter founded his private museum during a lifetime.
Peter’s working table
The palace is only 60 square meters and consists of three rooms: study, dining room and bedroom. In the cabin of Peter I the interiors of the Peter’s era have been carefully restored with the use of authentic belongings of the emperor. Judging by the interior of Peter’s house, the Russian Emperor was not a fan of luxury, rather he was closer to an ascetic way of life with a minimal but functional set of things.
Today, anyone can visit the museum and explore the house where the Great Russian Emperor lived. Perhaps, the cabin of Peter I is not the most popular museum in St. Petersburg, but it certainly deserves a visit, because this is where history was made and this is where one of the most legendary figures in the Russian history lived.