The Russian Empress who ordered the palace’s construction, Elizaveta Petrovna, never lived to see its completion in 1752. In the early 19th-century, the palace burned down in a series of fires and was abandoned for almost half a century. In 1870, Alexander II of Russia had the palace rebuilt.
The Baroque palace was rebuilt in the 18th-century, using old drawings and watercolours of the original as guides. It was renamed after the reigning Empress Maria Alexandrovna, who ordered for a large park to be built to the south - Mariinsky Park.
Today it is the official ceremonial residence of the President of Ukraine, and the decadent blue and white façade fronts its eponymous park.