The mansion is an opulent, private residential building in the city. In tsarist Russia, mansions were referred to as “city houses” designed for accommodating one family. Many mansions had once been the homes of the upper-class Russian families, today many of them still stand well-preserved in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Unlike houses in the country, owners along with their families tend to assume a year-round residence within a mansion.
Mansions built before the Russian Revolution were made for extravagance and luxury. Ornate columns, porticos, arches, ornamental decorations on walls and ceilings, mezzanine floors and other architectural techniques highlight the owners’ high status. Today, sightseeing tours are conducted in Moscow for the most interesting Russian mansions. Houses that belonged to the Apraksin family, the Bulgakov family, Jacob Bruce, Igumnov, Muravyov-Apostol are considered world architectural masterpieces.
Some mansions had once belonged to renowned French aristocrats, and can still be seen today in France. These were private city houses that accommodated the family and its staff (servants, cooks, gardeners, etc.). Mansions stood out from ordinary houses with their exquisite interiors, rare constructive/decorative materials, and lavish decor.
At that time, mansions were prevalent for hosting exclusive events and gatherings. The crème de la crème of high society would gather, along with bohemian poets, artists, and writers. The most famous of mansions in Paris include the mansion of the Duke de Lozen and the mansion of the Marquise de la Païva. Today, they are considered architectural monuments and are protected by the French state.
Modern-day mansions are private homes most often designed in the classic Antebellum style. These houses typically have a large, spacious area, high ceilings, grand staircases, a private plot of land, a garden and parking. In modern-day Russia, the concept of a "country mansion" has appeared. This mansion is intended for a single-family in the rural, suburban areas. These mansions are surrounded by a large fence, and are built to accommodate security and housing staff. Mansions are practically never one-story tall, they are generally built with either two or three floors.