Visit to the Marble Palace. The marble used for the decoration of this marvelous palace’s façade gives it its name. Built in the late 18th century for Grigory Orlov, a favorite of Catherine the Great, it is situated in front of the Peter and Paul Fortress and neighbors the Winter Palace. This is the only building in the city for whose exterior decoration original marble was used: granite from Finland for the ground floor, rose marble from Karelia for the pilasters, marble from the Ural for the capitals, dolomite from Reval (modern day Tallinn) for the urns, and blue marble from Siberia for the floors – in all 32 varieties of marble and precious stones. The building features wonderful views of the Neva River from the windows of its beautiful Marble Hall, a popular venue for big and festive celebrations and balls. It also houses prestigious expositions put on by the Russian Museum.