The Catherine Palace was the home of the Romanov family prior to the Russian Revolution.
In 1916, Nicholas II hosted a grand ball at the Catherine Palace to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Romanov rule; however, the ball was interrupted by the treacherous Grigori Rasputin, who vowed to Nicholas that he would never rest as long as a member of the Imperial family lived. True to his word, Rasputin sold his soul for the power to spark the unhappiness of the Russian people into the flames of revolution, and they invaded the Catherine Palace with the intent to kill the Imperial family. The people were for the most part able to achieve their goal, though the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna and the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna escaped due to the knowledge that a young kitchen boy named Dimitri possessed of the palace's secret passageways.
By 1926, the abandoned Catherine Palace was deteriorating at a rapid rate, with many of its rooms run-down from years of neglect and its articles either looted for sale in the black market or destroyed.