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1914: Start of World War I. A hospital is opened in state rooms of the Winter Palace.

From 1904 the Winter Palace effectively ceased to be an official Imperial residence and was only used for ceremonies. Nicholas II preferred to live at the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo. During World War I the interiors of the Winter Palace changed radically. For instance, in October 1915 empty state rooms were used to house the Tsesarevich Alexey Nikolayevich Hospital, which continued in existence until November 1917. Beds for wards now filled the Nevsky Suite, running between the Fieldmarshals' Hall and the Malachite Room, and the Alexander and Picket Halls. The Fieldmarshals' Hall housed a dressing station while the Armorial Hall with its richly gilded columns became an operating-room. Doctors on duty were accommodated in the Memorial Hall of Peter the Great, hospital attendants in the galleries of the Nicholas Hall and the Anteroom, and nurses in the guest rooms. The Military Gallery of 1812 served as a medical store room. The vestibule of the Main Staircase was used as a dining-room, while its landings served as the head physician's room, reception room, laboratory and X-ray room.

Most of the contents of the Museum meanwhile, had been sent to Moscow for safety. As the First World War turned into a Civil War in Russia, and the front came ever closer to the city (named Petrograd between 1914 and 1924 as a reaction against the Germanic name Sankt Peterburg), it was not until 1921 that the collections were returned.

   


The hospital in the Nicholas Hall of the Winter Palace
Larger view


The hospital in the Field Marshals' Room of the Winter Palace
Larger view

 

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