When you are inside of these miraculous halls you'll have a strong sensation of having got back to the times of the emperors. When you take the magnificent State Gala Staircase covered with a red velvet carpet and decorated with sculptures, huge mirrors, ceiling paintings, marble, gilded wood carvings - all to the baroque style - you are going to feel yourself one of the astonished guests invited to the pompous balls and receptions held in the Winter Palace. They had never before imagined such richness and splendor. Candles were lit in the vast Great Throne Room where the Emperor and Empress as well as Grand Dukes received their guests. Nobody was forgotten. The provincial nobility was received in the Emblem Hall covered all over with gilded bronze and sparkling in the candlelight.