This palace in the center of Moscow was built in the 18th century under the order by Catherine II. For centuries it was a posh residence of Russian emperors, a military staff, a museum and an educational institution. The residence was intended for imperial rest of royals tired of their long journey from St.Petersburg to Moscow (700 km of riding in a carriage). It was the last stop before arriving at the Kremlin in full glory. In 1812, it hosted Napoleon's staff for some time until French troops hastened to retreat from Moscow amid the flames. Under Nicolas I it was surrounded by a park loved by Moscow nobility and artistic intellectuals. Part of it has survived till now – dubbed by Moscow Versailles it was frequented by Pushkin, Lermontov and Askakov.