Russia retained a feudal type of government until well into the 20th century (before the Russian Revolution, of course) that depended on the backbreaking labor of its serfs to fund the lavish lifestyles of its ruling elite. Not only that, the Czars were considered chosen by God himself to rule, and considered sacred, which is something even the Hapsburgs missed out on. So to be born a peasant in Russia was really getting the short end of the stick in the equality sweepstakes.
Most of the nobles’ former palaces survived the wars intact and are now open to the public for all to see. There isn’t anything especially Russian about them, though. They could be in Finland or France, for all the architecture says. No, the real palaces of Russia are the wooden ones. Only a handful of the less impressive ones survived the years, so the Russian government built a new one, in the old style, to give tourists a taste of its pre-Communist years. That’s the ornate building above, which serves as a visitor’s office.
Want a Russian palace of your very own? Here’s a list.
St. Svetan’s Castle
Dniev Mountain Fortress
Babinsk Batka Monastery
Supper Palace of Novodiev
Ektini’s Winter Palace
Zvodora Country Dacha