The Brusnitsyn Mansion
Nikolai Brusnitsyn was a hustler who made his fortune when he moved to Saint Petersburg from Tver, Russia and opened a small leather factory. He went from peasant to merchant and his factory grew from just 10 employees to 600. He bought the Brusnitsyn mansion in the 1800s and started remodeling it by enlarging the windows and making the second floor higher as well as enhancing the facade.
After his death, his sons (Nikolas Jr., Alexander and George) took over the business and the mansion and added their own alterations and decor to the interior in addition to having the main staircase and winter garden built.
In honor of their parents and in commemoration of the factory’s 50th anniversary, the Brusnitsyn brothers financed and opened a charity house for the elderly and orphans which included an elementary school and hospital.
During the revolution, Nik. Jr. and George immigrated from Russia, but Alexander stayed behind to manage the business. He was arrested and imprisoned but later released. The mansion passed into the state’s hands and was used as offices for the factory managers. A lot of the interior was ruined during this time, but some rooms on the second floor still exist as pictured below.
Nikolai is seated to the left of Mrs. Brusnitsyn (in white) with their sons gathered behind them. They are all sporting cool mustaches – just like their dad!
The Grand Dining Room
The dining room was where the Brusnitsyn’s often entertained guests. After the mansion passed on to the government, this room was used as a cafeteria for factory workers (see the picture in the slide to the left).
Interesting fact: The wallpaper is made from real leather from their factory.
The Living Room
There were once many living rooms in the Brusnitsyn mansion but this is all that remains now.
Interesting fact: The silk wallpaper is original.
The White Hall / Dance Hall
Decorated in the style of Louis XV, the family would have a ball here – literally! During the summer, the doors between the living room and dance hall were removed and curtains were hung in their place. The factory used this room as an event hall (see the leftmost image).
Fun fact: The chandelier is original but during the Soviet Union it was taken down and the soviet symbol with the hammer and sickle were engraved all around the brass collars.
Fun fact: The aristocrats didn’t read Arabic, so they weren’t aware that the inscriptions read ‘Glory to Allah’. When they chose the style, they just chose inscriptions they thought looked pretty or whatever pattern was available.
The Smoke Room is unscathed by the Soviets because (as you can see in the previous picture of the event hall during the Soviet Union) the door was shut, locked and blocked by a radiator or piece of furniture.
The Main Staircase
Beautiful molding of ladies and vegetation cover the ceiling and walls. It’s no longer the main entrance but still impressive with its marble stairs and handrails which are all well-preserved.
The Billiard Room
The billiard table is long gone, but the cabinets where the billiard accessories were stored are still here most likely because they are built into the wall and to take them out one would have to destroy that beautiful wall.
Fun fact: The chandelier can be lowered closer to the billiard table.
The Winter Garden
The Legend of Dracula’s Mirror
The Brusnitsyns bought a mirror in Italy that is said to have been stored in the Venetian palazzo where Count Dracula’s remains were kept. Legend has it that once the mirror was brought into the house, the family started to become ill with no explanation. When Brusnitsyn’s granddaughter suddenly died, the mirror was taken down and stored away from the mansion.
Many years later, the mirror was found at the Kirov Palace of Culture and returned back to its home at the mansion where it was hung in the factory director’s office. Mysteriously, he disappeared as did another worker who reported seeing his reflection in the mirror.
Many years later, the mirror was found at the Kirov Palace of Culture and returned back to its home at the Brusnitsyn mansion where it was hung in the factory director’s office. Mysteriously, he disappeared as did another worker who reported seeing his reflection in the mirror.
The Soviet stamp is still left on the building. Even today the government still owns the Brusnitsyn legacy.
The palace is not open to the public – a guard is posted at the entrance.
Tours are given sporadically and only in Russian.