Mariinskyi Palace. The tsarist palace in Kyiv. Using Count Oleksii Rozumovsky's palace in Perov, near Moscow, as his model, Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli designed it in the rococo style for Empress Elizabeth I. It was built above the Dnipro River in the Pechersk district under the supervision of the architects I. Michurin, P. Neelov, and Ivan Hryhorovych-Barsky in the years 1747–55. The palace consisted of a long central section with a stone ground floor and wooden second story (destroyed by a fire in 1819), two stone one-story wings, and a large adjacent park with an orangery and orchards. It was inhabited sporadically by visiting members of the royal family and various governors, including Petr Rumiantsev (in 1776), but otherwise stood empty. From 1834 to 1868 it was leased by a mineral-water company. The palace was renovated in 1870 according to K. Maievsky's Louis XVI–style design for the visit of Emperor Alexander II and Empress Maria (hence its name). In 1918 it housed the Hetman government's Ministry of the Interior and the National Guard headquarters, in 1919, the Soviet Council of People's Commissars, and in 1920, the Soviet military-district headquarters. From 1923 to 1925 an agricultural school was located there. Since 1925 the palace has housed an agricultural museum, a permanent industrial exhibit, and various official agencies. After being damaged and looted during the Second World War, it was rebuilt by 1949. Since the 1990s Mariinskyi Palace has served as the setting for high-level meetings with foreign dignitaries and it is slated to become the official residence of the president of Ukraine.

[This article was updated in 2005.]

Encyclopedia of Ukraine