The Czar’s Ball: A Luxurious New Year’s Celebration in St. Petersburg

The Czar’s Ball: A Luxurious New Year’s Celebration in St. Petersburg

The sumptuous Czar’s Ball, held in St. Petersburg, Russia’s lavish Catherine’s Palace on New Year’s Eve, faithfully recreates the imperial soirees of the 19th century, when no expense was spared to dazzle and entertain the favored nobility. Entering the extravagant palace, guests enter the pages of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

A Czar's Ball performance

A Czar’s Ball pas de deux

From the moment that uniformed hussars carrying torches light their way to the palace entrance until the stroke of midnight when they raise their glasses to toast the New Year, Czar’s Ball guests experience the height of czarist grandeur and privilege.

An intricate ice sculpture sparkles against the gold fixtures and stunning guests. Photo credit: Baltic Travel Company

A translucent ice sculpture glows against the gilded palace interior at the Czar’s Ball

Welcome to the 19th CenturyThe program commences as guests descend from their cozy coaches to the flash and fervor of a brass band and the welcoming hussars, then make their way to the palace entrance over a thick carpet.


An inaugural cocktail awaits them in the baroque Stasov Room, surrounded by creamy white walls and Corinthian columns topped with gilded capitals.

Catherine’s Place in Pushkin

The “Golden Enfilade” at Catherine’s Place in Pushkin
Photo credit: Jonathan Irish

The meticulous illusion of a 19th century royal ball is bolstered by the appearance of the Czar and Czarina, who greet their guests and lead them down the “Golden Enfilade,” the great hallway connecting the chambers and apartments that run the length of the palace.

The Czar's Ball at Catherine's Palace. Photo credit: Baltic Travel Company.

18th century couple at the Czar’s Ball in Catherine’s Palace

The procession passes rooms with fanciful names such as the Arabesque Hall, the Cavaliers’ Dining Room, and the Crimson and Green Pilaster Rooms, stopping to bask in the glow of the storied Amber Room, paneled with precious amber mosaics, mirrors, and gilded carvings.

The Amber Room at Catherine's Palace. Photo credit: Jonathan Irish.

In St. Petersburg: The beautifully crafted amber panels in the fully restored Amber Room are one of the highlights of Catherine’s Palace
Photo credit: Jonathan Irish

Dining and Dancing with the CzarsStepping into the Great Hall, guests are enveloped in candlelight and gold – 696 candles in sconces framed by gold-encrusted mirrors light up the linen-draped dining tables, the stage where arias and pas de deux will be performed, and the parquet floors where the party will soon be dancing. At midnight, guests will gather at the hall’s tiers of arched windows to watch the New Year’s fireworks bursting overhead, just as the czar and his privileged guests did long ago.


Attend the Czar’s Ball with MIRMIR has 30 years travel experience to Russia, with Western Russia affiliate offices in St. Petersburg and Moscow offering on-the-ground support and tour managers that clients rave about. MIR’s full service, dedication,commitment to quality, and destination expertise has twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”

MIR’s annual small group tour, Russian Winter Wonderland, celebrates New Year’s Eve in St. Petersburg, and offers an optional opportunity to step into the past at the Czar’s Ball in Catherine’s imperial palace.

Alternately, you can contact one of MIR’s Independent Travel Specialists to handcraft a custom, private tour of Peter’s beautiful capital and add your name to the roll of the elite dining and dancing with the Czars.

(Top photo: The sumptuous Czar’s Ball New Year’s celebration at Catherine’s Palace, St. Petersburg.)

PUBLISHED: June 8, 2015

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