Lenin Museum at Smolny Institute

Saint Petersburg / Russia

Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens was established by Catherine II in 1764. It was a closed privileged school for daughters of the nobility.

Originally, the Institute was housed at the Smolny convent, which explains its name. But soon afterwards, in the very beginning of the 19th century, architect Giacomo Quarenghi erected a special building of Smolny Institute near the convent.

The Institute for Noble Maidens functioned till February 1917, and as soon as in August of the same year Petrograd of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies moved here.

The headquarters of the Revolution operated from the building of Smolny Institute. And on October 25 (November 7in New Style) the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets met here in the White Hall, and Lenin announced victory of the Revolution.

Lenin lived and worked at the building of Smolny Institute from October 24 1917 till March 10 1918, i.e. he spent here less than five months but those were crucially important months in the lives of both the new country and the proletarian leader himself.

Now the Smolny Institute houses the administration of St.Petersburg. The office of the city’s governor is there. Despite this fact, the building also houses a public museum of V.I.Lenin. By all means, it’s a special museum: it can be visited only with a pre-arranged tour and in full compliance with safety measures.

Available for visits are:

— White Hall (Assembly Hall) of the Smolny Institute. It was a ball room when it was a school for girls from aristocratic families, and in October 25-27 1917 the Second Congress of Soviets was held here.

— Lenin’s Office and the room where he lived in the first months after the Revolution.

— corridors of Smolny Institute. In one of those corridors Sergei Kirov was assassinated on December 1 1934.

gallery of governors of St.Petersburg. Portraits of all top officials of the city starting with Alexander Menshikov

— Zhdanov’s bunker at Smolny. It’s an air raid shelter 12 meters deep under the Smiolny Institute. The government of the city headed by Zhdanov lived and worked here during the siege of Leningrad. The shelter was closed for visits during many years, and rumours about a mysterious bunker ran through the city. It was as late as 2019 that Zhdanov’s bunker became part of the museum’s display and available for visits.

Saint Petersburg / Russia