Elena Kalnitskaya, General Director of the Peterhof State Museum-Preserve has announced that the museum is now discussing the future of the Lower Palace (or Lower Dacha) located in the Alexandria Park on the shore of the Gulf of Finland.
The Lower Palace was the home of Tsar Nicholas II and his family while in residence at Peterhof. After the Revolution, the palace became a museum until 1936. It was later used as a holiday home for the more privileged members of the NKVD (People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs). During the Second World War the palace was badly damaged. During the 1960s it became a popular spot with monarchists and a decision was made by the local Soviet to blow the building up.
Kalnitskaya said that the museum is currently considering a number of options. Among them is the conservation of the ruins, or even a complete reconstruction of the palace. She made the announcement during an interview with topspb.tv in St. Petersburg.
During the interview she noted that her father, who was born in 1915, told her about the days when it was a museum, "filled with lots of toys" that once belonged to the Tsar's children.
The subject of reconstructing the Lower Palace was raised several years back, however, the project was shelved due to lack of funding. According to museum staff, the storage vaults at Peterhof house a large repository of documents, plans, photographs, and items from the former palace that would allow them to rebuild the structure and open it as a museum dedicated to the private world of the last Tsar and his family.
Kalnitskaya noted that she favours the conservation of the ruins as "a monument to human barbarism of the 20th century." All options will be reviewed by a special committee before a final decision is made.
The ruins of the Lower Palace are a short walk from the Cottage Palace in the Alexandria Park, however, accessibility is now greatly restricted due to a large fence that was erected in 2004.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 February, 2013