The construction of the contemporary Winter Palace originated from Empress Elizabeth I. Launched in 1754, architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli was put in charge of the project. The Elizabethan style facades were completed in 1762 during the reign of Peter III (six months). The interior was modified under Catherine the Great.
This palace was used until 1904 as Imperial residence. It contained no less than a thousand and eighty-four rooms, spread in a two-storey building made up of four wings around an inner courtyard. The façade looking at the Neva River stretches on 137 meters.
Because it was such a symbol in Imperial Russia the palace always had an important role. In 1905, the workers demonstration that was walking towards it was violently suppressed. After 1917 it became the headquarters of the Russian temporary government.
In 1920 it hosted the National Museum of Revolution. From 1945, it became the main building of one of the largest museums in the World, the Hermitage Museum.