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
The hospital in the Field Marshals' Room of the Winter