Palace Square, St. Petersburg

The II St. Petersburg International Legal Forum took place in the East Wing of the General Staff Building (The State Hermitage).

The General Staff Building, one of the symbols of the Russian Empire, was built in by Carlo Rossi in 1820-1830 on the Palace Square, St. Petersburg. As a basis for the project Rossi conceived the idea to join together two separate buildings by the triumphal arch.

The famous double arch with an allegorical sculpture of the Russian triumph in the war of 1812-1814 became the centre of the composition forming a symmetrical axis with the central part of the Winter Palace. The arch of the main facade facing Palace Square is 580 meters long. The second facade judging by its significance, facing the embankment of the Moika, belongs to the eastern building that now has been given to the State Hermitage.

Originally, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and some other ministries of the Russian Empire were located in the Eastern Wing of the General Staff Building. Beginning in 1917 various institutions and organizations occupied the building. The General Staff occupied the Western wing is used as a Leningrad military region headquarter.

In 2008 large-scale reconstruction of the East Wing was began by one of the leading Russian architects, Nikita Yaveyn. Long empty courtyards are now covered with a transparent dome and connected by the single enfilade with 14-meter doors. By the end of the reconstruction, exhibition halls, Faberge museum, lecture halls, cafes and museum shops will appear in the East Wing. Moreover, the historical interiors of several rooms will be restored, for example the offices of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. The full completion is scheduled for the 250-year anniversary of the State Hermitage in 2014.