The Eastern Pavilion is part of the imperial residence, erected by decree of Emperor Paul I in 1796-1800. The center of the architectural ensemble was the Mikhailovsky Castle with the Constable Square
in front of the southern facade, on which in 1800 a bronze monument to Peter The Great was created by the sculptor B.-K. Rastrelli.
In compositional unity with the castle, architect Bazhenov designed two pavilions of the same architecture, which now open the Maple Alley leading to the monument. The architect Brenna, who headed the construction after him, made important changes to the project.
Both pavilions are ovals in the plan, complicated by projections. The lower floors are decorated with rust and bas-reliefs on the subjects of ancient myths about the wanderings of Dionysus (sculptor Gordeev), the upper ones are decorated with elegant Ionic columns. Despite their small size, the pavilions give the impression of monumental structures, acting as a link between the castle and the urban development.
The territory where the pavilions are located, in the Peter's era, was occupied by a Summer Garden-from the Neva to the Bolshaya Perspektivnaya Road (Nevsky Prospekt). By 1740, the Summer House of Empress Anna Ioannovna stood on the bank of the Moika River. In 1741, the architect Rastrelli began the construction of a Summer palace for Elizabeth Petrovna. In a remote part of the garden, near Nevsky Prospekt, a plot was allocated for an Elephant Yard to accommodate the strange gifts of the Persian Shah. Every year, the solemn transfer of the Empress from the winter residence was accompanied by magnificent ceremonies under the artillery salute.
On September 20, 1754, Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich was born in the Third Summer Palace.
In 1796, in the first month of his reign, Paul The Great issued a decree on the construction of the Mikhailovsky Castle on the site of a dilapidated palace. On February 1, 1801, the imperial court moved to the new palace.
Mikhailovsky Castle had a chance to stay as a ceremonial residence for only 40 days. After the tragic death of Paul I on March 11, 1801, the emperor's family left the castle forever.
In the first decade of the XIX century, the former palace housed both state institutions and private apartments. The building of the Eastern Pavilion in 1802 was occupied by the" Chapter of the Russian Cavalier Order " – the office created by Paul I, which was responsible for all Russian awards and honorary titles.
On July 1, 1817, Emperor Alexander I appointed Nikolai Pavlovich chief of the battalion and inspector General for the engineering unit. One of the first steps of the new Inspector General was the establishment of an Engineering School in 1819 on the basis of a special engineering school at the Drawing Expedition. The Mikhailovsky Castle, together with the pavilions, was transferred to the Engineering Department for the Main (later Nikolaevsky) Engineering school.
Classes of conductors were held in the Eastern Pavilion until 1822 Engineering School, later-the Guards Bereitor School and the fencing school of the Guards regiments.
In 1823, by the personal decree of Alexander I, the former ceremonial residence of Emperor Paul received a new name-the Engineering Castle. Work has begun on adapting its premises for a school and an engineering department. The Church canal and the canals around the Constable Square were filled in, the main entrance gates of the Mikhailovsky Castle were dismantled, the fittings at the corners of the building and the sculptures on the pediments were dismantled. As the castle lost the appearance of the imperial palace, a new military educational institution located here was formed and strengthened, the need for which has long been overdue in Russia.
Many of the graduates of the Nikolaev Engineering School made up the glory and pride of Russia: the hero of Sevastopol, Count Totleben, the hero of the Russian-Turkish war, Radetsky, the hero of Port Arthur, Kondratenko, writers Dostoevsky and Grigorovich, composer Kui, scientists Sechenov and Yablochkov, Bishop Ignatiy Bryanchaninov and others.
After the revolution, the Mikhailovsky (Engineering) Castle and both pavilions were occupied by the First Petrograd Engineering Command Courses. During the following years, the educational institution was renamed several times. Shortly before the Great Patriotic War, the Leningrad Red Banner Military Engineering School was named after Zhdanov.
In 1942-1943, the castle and the pavilions were subjected to repeated aerial bombardments and ground shelling.
During 1947-1949, priority restoration work was carried out on the Mikhailovsky Castle palace complex (the facades of buildings were restored, the ceilings were destroyed, the preserved fragments of decoration were preserved).
In 1951, according to the decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the Engineering Castle was transferred to the Navy to accommodate educational institutions and a library.
In the summer of 1960, the Minister of Defense decided to relocate the military engineering school to Kaliningrad.
From 1960 to 1993, various state institutions were located in the premises of the castle.
On March 9, 1994, the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation was signed on the transfer of the Engineering Castle to the operational management of the State Russian Museum.
Since 2001, tDepartment "Russian Center for Museum pedagogics and Children's Creativity" of The State Russian Museum has been located in the building of the Eastern Pavilion of the Mikhailovsky Castle.