A Look Inside the White Tower at Tsarskoye Selo and Restoration Update Topic: Tsarskoye Selo
After a delay of more than a decade, the restoration of the White Tower have entered the final stages. Work has begun on the interiors of the historical monument which overlooks the Alexander Park at Tsarskoye Selo.
The White Tower can be seen in many vintage photographs showing the children of Tsar Nicholas II playing in the snow around the building. During World War II, the Soviets feared that the tower would be used as an observation post by the Nazis, and was subsequently destroyed.
Work is expected to be completed by the summer of 2012, at which time the building will be used as a museum.
Ukraine Refuses Monumental Russian Gift Topic: Stolypin, Pyotr
Kiev's city government spoke against installing a Russian-made monument to a tsarist statesman in the Ukrainian capital.
The gift was proposed by Russian Culture Minister Alexander Avdeyev, who wanted to commemorate Pyotr Stolypin in connection with the anniversary of the statesman’s death. Stolypin was shot dead by an assassin in Kiev in 1911.
But the proposal is “either a provocation or an extremely thoughtless move,” Alexander Briginets, head of Kiev legislature’s culture and tourism commission, said on Monday.
“Stolypin’s reforms destroyed Ukrainian peasantry and Ukrainian traditions, forced a large part of the nation to move to Siberia and bled Ukraine dry,” Briginets said, the country’s news agency UNIAN reported.
Avdeyev did not comment on the rejection as of late Monday.
Stolypin was one of the most controversial figures in the history of late tsarist regime, earning a dual reputation for his attempts to modernize Russian agriculture and industrial sector before World War I, but also for his ruthless crackdown on political opposition. Part of his agrarian reform involved voluntary resettling of Russian and Ukrainian peasants to unused land in Siberia.
A memorial to Stolypin was erected in Kiev shortly after his assassination, but destroyed after the revolution of 1917.
The new monument was to be created by prolific Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, whose reputation is the real reason why Kiev City Hall is opposing the gift, Kievpress.net reported in December.
Many of Tsereteli’s oeuvres are tens of meters in size and have sparked allegations of tastelessness. A city official told Kievpress.net on condition of anonymity that the Kiev government intended to “fight [the gift] tooth and nail.”
Requiem for the Murdered Grand Dukes Topic: Grand Dukes
The Grand Dukes Nicholas Mikhailovich, Dmitry Konstantinovich, Paul Alexandrovich, and George Mikhailovich
A requiem service was held at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg today for four members of the Russian Imperial family murdered in 1919.
The Grand Dukes Nicholas Mikhailovich, Dmitry Konstantinvich, Paul Alexandrovich, and George Mikhailovich were murdered by the Bolsheviks in the early morning hours of January 30th, 1919.
The service was led by Abbot Alexander Federov, who said: "Today is a memorable date for St. Petersburg and Russia. We honour the members of the Imperial family. They have served the Fatherland. Each had his own talent-in the military, science, culture endeavours. They suffered only because they belonged to the Imperial family."
Worshippers laid a bouquet of white roses and prayed in front of the memorial plaque with the names of the victims of the Red Terror in the Grand Ducal Vault, followed by hymns.
There are plans to erect a monument to the four grand dukes at the Peter and Paul Fortress.
Book collecting is a passion shared by many Romanovphiles. Old books in particular allow us a glimpse into life during the last years of Imperial Russia.
The Almanach de St-Petersbourg, Cour, monde et ville was published annually in 1910, 1911, 1912 and 1913-14. Each volume contained more than 400 pages.
The official part contains a list of persons, including members of the Russian Imperial family, including branches of the Oldenburg, Leuchtenberg, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, as well as members of the Imperial family living abroad.
Other lists include members of the State Council, officials of the State Chancellery, deputies of the State Duma, ministers and deputy ministers, members of the Senate, the Synod, as well as governors, mayors, provincial marshalls of the nobility, officers of the St. Petersburg City Council; list of Diplomatic Corps in the capital, including their wives and daughters. The Obituaries contain a list of people who died the previous year.
In the main section of the book are the addresses of those noted in the book (including members of the Russian Imperial family), details of their positions, relatives, wives and their maiden name, year of marriage, names and dates of birth, including sons and daughters. Listings in great detail of the noble families of Russia include the Princes Gagarin (15 families), Baron Korf (15 families) and Princes Golitsyn (30 families).
Also noted are the days and hours in which members of the nobility receive visitors, membership in aristocratic clubs of St. Petersburg (automotive, yachts, national and English clubs), plus their residential addresses during the summer months (including their estates in various Russian provinces, as well as abroad).
The publication includes other information, including table of ranks, titles and positions, etc.
Copies of the Almanach de St-Petersbourg are very rare. A copy of the 1913/14 edition recently sold for 4,000 Euros (more than $5,200 USD).
In the Children's Rooms at the Alexander Palace Exhibit Extended Topic: Alexander Palace
The exhibit, In the Children's Rooms at the Alexander Palace has been extended until 30th April, 2012.
The exhibit which originally opened in June 2011 is set out in the former rooms of the children of Tsar Nicholas II on the second floor of the Alexander Palace.
The exhibit tells the story of the lives of the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, as well as the Tsarevich Alexei, and includes more than 200 items, many being exhibited for the first time.
The Imperial Train in the Grand Duchy of Finland Now Playing: Language: Finnish. Duration: 2 minutes, 16 seconds
The highlight of the Finnish Railway Museum collections is the special train built for the Russian Emperor. The train was built for the Emperor's and Grand Duke's of Finland trips to Finland, an autonomic part of Russia at the time. The train consists of three wagons, Emperor's car, Empress's car and the lounge car. The three wagons are the only remaining Russian Imperial train cars in the world.
The decision to acquire imperial wagons was made in 1869, at the time of building of the railway line Riihimäki - St. Petersburg. The Emperor, Alexander the II, had already imperial wagons in other parts of the country and it was considered necessary to have such rolling stock for Finland also. The railway line connecting Finland to St. Petersburg was opened in 1870, but it was not until 1913 when the railway networks of the two countries were finally connected when the bridge over Neva-river was finished.
Originally the Imperial train consisted of six wagons. However, train's dining car, kitchen unit car and the heating car did not survive to our days. The oldest cat of the train is the Emperor's car which was built in Germany in 1870. The interior of the car was decorated with luxury materials. The walls and the furniture of the reception area of the car were covered with dark green leather, the ceiling is decorated with silk. Wooden decorations are made of American walnut tree and the carpeting is of wool plush.
The Empresses' car and the lounge car were built in 1870's in the Finnish Railway's repair shop in Helsinki. The decoration of the Empresses' car is blue silk and the lounge car and it's furniture are decorated with red silk. The outside of all the three cars was painted dark blue and decorated with golded imperial emblems. The cars were later modified and improved in many parts like in the heating system, illumination and the toilets.
The Imperial cars survived mainly for two reasons. They were built by the Finnish Railways and kept from 1914 in Kaipiainen train shed instead of earlier storage site in St. Petersburg. If the train had been left in town, it would have most certainly been destroyed during the Russian revolution in 1917 like happened to all other imperial trains in Russia.
Brasovo, the Country Estate of Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich
Situated seventy miles from Orel, the estate of Brasovo had originally belonged to the Grand Duke George Alexandrovich, son of the Emperor Alexander III. He had purchased it in 1882 for 4.3 million roubles. It covered some 430 square miles. The estate passed to Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich upon the death of George in 1899.
It was here that Michael came to live with his wife, Natasha (nee Natalya Sergeyevna Wulfert) in 1911 after Emperor Nicholas II conceded that she could stay there. Thanks to her artistic taste, she succeeded in making an elegant dwelling as well as a comfortable home, thereby creating for Michael a place where he found comfort, peace and happiness.
The comforts of this country house are emphasized in these beautiful watercolours by S.J. Zhukovsky (1873-1944) in 1916.
Artist: S.J. Zhukovsky. Orenburg Museum of Fine Arts
Artist: S.J. Zhukovsky. State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
On 29 October [Old Style 17 October] 1888, the Imperial train carrying Emperor Alexander III and his family derailed at high speed near the town of Borki. The train was travelling from the Crimea to St. Petersburg when the accident occurred, killing and injuring dozens of people.
Alexander held the collapsed roof of the rail car on his shoulder while his family escaped to safety. The story of the miraculous escape resulted in a cathedral being built near the site, but was later destroyed by the Soviets.
In 1992, local residents embarked on an ambitious fundraising plan to rebuild the chapel. With the help of the Southern Railway, reconstruction on the chapel was completed in the summer of 2003.
Local residents and Orthodox faithful are optimistic that the Christ the Saviour Cathedral will be rebuilt on the site of the demolished church.