The Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg provides an interesting look at the lives of the aristocracy of the 19th and early 20th century. The palace has exotic rooms such as the Moorish room with its beautiful mosaics and a pool room with a secret compartment under the table. The palace has a wonderful Rococo theater, which seats 180 and is still used for concerts. However, Yusupov Palace is best known as the site of the murder of Grigory Rasputin, the "mad monk" who was killed in December 1916 by Prince Yusupov and others loyal to Nicholas II. They believed Rasputin had a mystical hold over the Empress Alexandra that was damaging the imperial family.
Rasputin was not easy to kill. Prince Yusupov first tried poison, then shot him. He escaped, was pursued by the assassins and shot three more times before being battered and thrown in the Neva River. Rasputin's body was found in the freezing river three days later and an autopsy showed he had drowned. Perhaps he did have mystical powers!