Gomel Palace & Park Ensemble > The Palace of the Rumyantsevs & the Paskeviches
The central part of the Palace is an architectural monument of the late 18th century (1777-1796). Its history is closely related to life and selfless devotion of the outstanding individuals of the Russian State, of the statesmen and military figures: the representatives of the Rumyantsevs and the Paskeviches families. The Palace has been numerously destroyed and reconstructed after its creation. It suffered substantially in 1919 during the Strekoputov Mutiny and during the years of the Great Patriotic War in 1941-1945. Reconstruction work finished after the war in the 1960s.
The rooms of the ground floor in the central part of the Palace served as gala halls for the owners in the 19th - early 20th century where they used to organize receptions and festive occasions. Architecture and outward decorations of the halls would fit their status.
Currently the ground floor of the central part of the Palace is a combination of partial reconstruction of the historical interior and museum expositions. Alongside the exposition halls some rooms are for representative purposes. The Pillared Hall and the Red Sitting Room have been renewed. New interiors have been created. Now the halls' functions fit their names: the White Sitting Room, the Hall of State Receptions, the former House Church, the Knightly Hall, the Grotto.
Compositional center of the Palace is the Pillared Hall. It is the biggest room in the Palace. Majestic internal perspective of the Palace was primarily seen through three large doorways and it leaded into a two-leveled pillared hall. The hall played the main role in the theater of showy life of the owners of the Rumyantsev-Paskevich Estate. Even today the hall looks outstanding due to its size and scale. Its beauty is in the architectural expressiveness of the space, which is covered by the dome. The hall is surrounded by sixteen Corinthian pillars.
The central space contrasts with the recreation rooms. They surround it from four sides with a separate colonnade. The front part of the building is decorated by the vases (2004) by V.I. Andreyanov, and the side-parts of the building exhibit the busts of P.V. Rumyantsev-Zadunaiski (copy of the famous painting by F.I. Shubin) and of I.F. Paskevich. There are niches crowned by arches, too.
Today the arched niches are decorated with the figures of women and with the busts by V.I. Slobodchikov, Sculptor made in 2004. Those statues are allegoric seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn.
The balconies (mezzanines) of the first floor of the Pillared Hall are fenced by marble balustrades and decorated by chandeliers. The central chandelier of the Pillared Hall is great. Alternation of light and shadow, spectacular perspectives opening the suites of the gala halls: all that creates the feeling of spaciousness and solemnity.
The doors of the Pillared Hall opposite the main entrance lead to the wide half-round veranda hiding the Palace grotto underneath. That's the place to show the view of the terrace in front of the Palace, a park zone and water meadows on the opposite bank of the Sozh River. Two timber vases (made in the 1840s) decorate the terrace: they preserved until currently.
The galleries full of light open their perspectives on the both sides of the central space of the Palace. Big rooms formerly known as sitting rooms or drawing rooms precede the galleries. Those rooms had no special purpose, and the landlords of the Palace, the Paskeviches, would internally distinguish them by color as a "red" one and a "white" one. Through the South Gallery the White Sitting Room used to be the way to the belongings of Prince Paskevich: a pavilion and a tower, where feats of arms run through everything. The Red Sitting Room used to lead through the North Gallery to the House Church.
The White Sitting Room occupies 120 square meters and it is the third largest room of the main building of the Palace. The guests and the residents of the Palace would gather there for state receptions and parties. In the middle of the sitting room there was a big ceramic vase placed on top of the stand: it was manufactured at the Imperial Porcelain Factory and presented by Emperor Nicholas the 1st to the Prince I.F. Paskevich in 1841 to commemorate the noble visit to the Gomel Palace. The corners of the sitting room would host huge candelabra made of color glass and the gifts from the Russian Emperor. Unfortunately, the internal décor has been lost, and that is why it was decided to re-equip the sitting room and to make a chamber concert hall there during the latest repair-reconstruction.
The Red Sitting Room was less official if compared to other drawing rooms at the time of the previous Palace owners. That room was an important part of the glorious enfilade of the Palace according to the architect's message. The size or the room, but which is more important, its location neighboring the central hall and the dining room have determined the purpose of the room with the lapse of time. In the middle of the 19th century it was a portrait room. It was necessary to make a musical saloon of the kind, and in the 1870s an organ and a grand-piano were placed there together with twenty "oil-base-painting" portraits. Later the Red Sitting Room became one of the favorite rooms of Princess I.I. Paskevich, the last owner of the Gomel Palace. Today the Red Sitting Room is one of the finest halls in the Palace, which shows an attempt of interior reconstruction of the gala halls of the Russian estates of the 19th - early 20th century.
The Palace of the Paskevich Princes possessed a lot of religious items alongside with secular paintings, decorative and applied arts. Those were mostly icons: oil paintings, fretwork, inlaid work and religious books. Their biggest number was accumulated in the building of the House Church established in the North Risalit of the Palace in 1857-1858 and named after St. John the Theologian and St. Elisabeth. Today that small room exhibits an exposition named "Objects of religious worship from the Museum holdings".