The Maryinsky Palace as it appeared in 1918. Source: Wikipedia.

It is again possible to go and see the Mariinsky Palace, which is the official ceremonial residence of the President of Ukraine in Kyiv. You have probably seen it before from a distance, but it is now possible to go inside. 

The historical Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv has been undergoing renovation of its baroque image for the last 12 years and has, therefore, been closed to the public. The renovation is now completed, and the palace has yet again opened its doors for visitors. You can now come and see the historical place which was once home for the tsar. 

Mariinsky Palace was completed in 1752 and firstly served as the tsar’s residence in Kyiv. The palace is today the official ceremonial residence of the President of Ukraine in Kyiv and is used for political events such as receptions for foreign visitors – even during renovation. But it has been inaccessible for the public during that time, according to Kyiv Post

That has now changed, and if you decide to visit, you will have a peek into the history of Ukraine. Mariinsky Palace was designed by the famous architect in the Russian Empire Bartolomeo Rastrelli back in 1744, and it took eight years to build. Empress Catherine II was the first royal person to stay in the palace, which she did during a visit in 1787. 

The Maryinsky Palace in 1911. Source: Wikipedia

Hit by several fires

The palace has been burned to the ground in separate fires, only to be rebuild again and again. In 1870, architect Konstantin Mayevsky reconstructed the palace yet again after a fire by using old drawings with watercolors as his guide. It is, however, unclear whether Mariinsky Palace looks similar to what it did when it was first constructed back in 1752. 

The large park ‘Mariinsky Park’ in front of the palace was established around the 1800s and was firstly inaccessible to the public. The palace was used as a headquarter during the Russian Civil War from 1917 to 1920. It belonged to an agricultural school after the war in the 1920s before it became a museum. It was partly destroyed in Second World War, which resulted in more extensive renovations after the war and again in the 1980s. 

More recently, the palace underwent another significant renovation in 2004, which due to budget problems and other issues, dragged on for a long time. The foundations have been strengthened, and the facade restored, among other things.

Today, you can see the palace on a guided 45 minutes tour, but you will need to buy tickets in advance. They are sold out for months at the moment. You can get tickets at www.m-palace.com.ua, and they cost around 150 hryvnias. Guides speak English. 

Mariinsky Palace inside. Photo: Mariinsky Palace tours

What you get to see

Inside the palace, you will see the locations for ceremonies and where round-table negotiations have been taking place. Among other things, Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma signed the Ukrainian Constitution in 1996 in Mariinsky Palace.

Kyiv post writes that prominent guests such as the former U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton plus the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher have visited Mariinsky Palace. The many foreign visitors brought gifts, and they are also visible in Mariinsky Palace. 

Besides that, it is also possible to see old paintings and an exhibition of local Ukrainian artists. In the future, it is the plan to make even more governmental buildings available to the public, such as the House with Chimaeras, which is another presidential residence.