How the St. Petersburg Winter Palace turned into hospital during WWI (PHOTOS)

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Nicholas II and his family allowed the palace to be converted into a large infirmary. Below are some photos of the royal halls for balls and receptions stacked with beds with the wounded.

World War I was one of the most difficult struggles of the Russian Empire and one of the reasons for its fall and the subsequent revolution. The country faced huge losses and the Romanov family was actively helping the frontline’s needs, while the Empress and Princesses joined the Red Cross and were nursing the wounded soldiers. 

The country lacked medical care and hospitals, so Nicholas II ordered the official tsar residence, the Winter Palace, be turned into one (He and his family had been living in Tsarskoye Selo outside the city since 1904). The hospital was named after Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich and was opened in 1915 and up to the 1917 October Revolution, when it was closed by the Bolsheviks, who transferred the patients to other clinics.

About six ceremonial halls were used as hospital wards, while special places were assigned for post-operative treatment and bandaging. The Winter Garden was used for the bathrooms and showers. The Gallery of the 1812 War served for the linen storage and as an X-ray room. 

The surgical infirmary consisted of 1,000 beds and the hospital staff counted more than 200 people, including the chief physician, 34 doctors, 50 nurses, 120 hospital attendants, 26 household staff and ten clerical staff. 

The hospital staff in St. Nicholas Hall

St. Nicholas Hall turned into a ward

The wounded lying in the Fieldmarshal’s Hall

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana completed a full course of nursing and worked for the Red Cross

Wounded soldiers posing with sisters of mercy

Armorial Hall. Sisters making covers and pillowcases

Sisters of Mercy pictured standing on the Jordan Stairs

Doctors and nurses posing in the palace

The Eastern Gallery of the palace

Sisters of mercy

The bandaging room in the Fieldmarshal’s Hall

Doctor I. A.Tikhomirov putting a cast on a patient

Nurses preparing bandages

Doctor Tikhomirov playing chess with a wounded soldier

Wounded lying in the Armorial hall

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