Located on Ploshchad Truda ("Labour Square"), not far from St. Isaac's Cathedral in the centre of St. Petersburg, the Nikolaevskiy Palace was one of the last palaces to be built for the Imperial family in the city. An enormous late neoclassical edifice designed by the architect Andrey Stackensneider, who also designed the Mariinsky and Beloselsky-Belozersky Palaces, the Nikolaevskiy Palace was commissioned by Emperor Nicholas I for his third son, Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, and completed in 1861.
After the Grand Duke's death in 1891, the Nikolaevskiy Palace was turned into the Ksenia Institute for Noble Girls, a finishing school named after Grand Duchess Ksenia Alexandrovna, daughter of Alexander III. After the October Revolution, the Bolshevik government handed the building to the trade unions, who made it their local headquarters and renamed it the Palace of Labour. It still fulfills this role today, although some parts of the palace have been rented out to private enterprises.
The palace is notable for its monumental and intricately decorated main staircase. Although the palace is not open to the general public, some of its halls are regularly used to host a folk music and dance performance, which provides the opportunity to admire some of the interiors.