The canal trip went past the Yusupov Palace, not a very imposing building, and the guide did not seem to think it worthy of mention. But its the site of one of those enthralling snippets of Russian history - the multiple assasination of Rasputin - mad monk or mystic healer and possible lover of the Tsarina.
Hated by courtiers for being a peasant with so much influence over the Tsarina, Prince Yusupov and some co-conspiritors plotted to kill Rasputin. He was invited to the Yusupov palace for a late night supper and possibly some illicite sex.
He was first poisoned with arsenic laced cakes, which had no effect; he was then given poisoned wine, still with no apparent effect. Eventually Yusupov fetched a gun and shot Rasputin in the chest. Satisfied that he was dead the conspiritors retired upstairs to celebate and when an hour later Yusupov returned to the basement Rasputin leapt up and attacked the Prince. The Prince escaped up stairs and Rasputin ran out into the courtyard where he was shot twice more in the kidneys and in the head.
Still apparently alive he was further bludgened in the head with a dumbell. Probably begining to fear that maybe Rasputin did have some mystical powers they wrapped him in a rug, tied it up and dumped his body in the frozen Nevka River.
When his body was found a few days later his arms were free and upraised as if he were trying to claw his way out of the frozen river - whoooooooo!
Its a well documented murder with police reports, pathologist records and admissions from the conspiritors. So, what does it suggest? That when a Russian wants to kill someone they really like to go to town or maybe they can be a bit inept?