Overshadowed by the Catherine and Alexander Palaces, the palace of the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich at Tsarskoye Selo is one that most visitors overlook while visiting modern-day Pushkin.
The land that the palace sits was presented to Prince Victor Pavlovich Kochubey in 1817, as a gift from Emperor Alexander I. It was here that the prince had a palace built. In 1835, Emperor Nicholas I purchased the palace for his son, the Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich.
In 1875 the palace changed hands yet again, when it was purchased by the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich. The grand duke served as president of the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg for more than 30 years until his death in 1909. During the First World War, the palace became a meeting palace for members of the Imperial family, headed by Vladimir’s widow, the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna. It was here that they plotted against Emperor Nicholas II and his policies in dealing with the war against Germany, his wife, Rasputin, and more.
In the last few years, the palace underwent a major restoration, and today, the former residence of the grand duke serves as a wedding palace for the residents of Pushkin. Two lions stand guard at the steps of the staircase leading to the main entrance to the palace which overlooks a beautifully kept garden.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 01 March, 2012
A monument to the hero of the Patriotic War of 1812, Prince Pyotr Ivanovich Bagration will be erected in St. Petersburg by September, 7th, the day which will mark the 200th anniversary of the Borodino Battle.
The author of the monument is sculptor Jan Neiman. The monument to Pyotr Bagration – “Lion of the Russian army” - is expected to be set up in the eastern part of the former Semenovsky parade-ground – next to the Theatre of Young Spectators. Bagration, a descendant of the Georgian royal family, he served as chief of the life guards of the Semenovsky Regiment.
© Russia Info-Centre. 29 February, 2012
The Imperial Chambers of the Romanov Boyars Museum in Moscow will be restored by next year for the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 2013.
The museum has stated that it will be a partial restoration, because the building is still in rather good condition.
Along with the repair work in the Imperial Chambers, there are plans to redesign the layout of the museum itself. This will allow visitors to experience how the noble families of the 16th and 17th century Moscow lived.
The imperial manor became a museum in 1857. It also gave birth to the legend that the future tsar of Russia would be born there. The Imperial Chambers have been a branch of the State Historical Museum since 1932.
© Russia Info-Centre. 29 February, 2012
Peter the Great outstripped the competition in a bid to become Russia’s next president in a rehearsal vote held in 12 voting stations in Moscow on Saturday.
His opponents were Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, and Genghis Khan, the Moscow election committee said, RIA-Novosti reported.
The voting followed the procedures to be used in the presidential election on March 4. The rehearsal was also an opportunity to test the video cameras installed at each location.
The ballots included information about each candidate, including date of birth, nominating party, marital status and a summary of achievements.
At one voting station, twenty-six voted for Peter the Great, six for Genghis Khan, and four for Alexander the Great, while Napoleon Bonaparte and Winston Churchill each received two votes.
City-wide, Peter the Great won by a large margin.
© St. Petersburg Times. 29 February, 2012
A fire broke out at the former St. Petersburg residence of the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and his wife, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna.
Situated on the Nevsky Prospect, the palace is today more commonly known as the Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace.
The fire broke out about noon and quickly spread to the attic and the roof. The cause of the fire or the extent of the damage to the interiors and the facade is not yet known. Further updates will be posted as information becomes available.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 28 February, 2012
A glass canopy will swoop over part of the garden, joining the stone cultural centre and church with nine golden domes
Plans to build a 25-meter-tall Russian Orthodox Church are being given a similar reception to the Eiffel Tower more than a hundred years ago.
The Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe describes the church with its five gilded domes, as “ostentatious”. The Mayor fears it won’t match “the harmony of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the perspective of the Eiffel Tower”. He says that if the authorities give Russia the green light to build the church, it will only be for diplomatic and financial reasons.
Earlier this year Russia put in a planning application for a church and a cultural centre on the site of a former headquarters of the French Weather Service. The whole complex will be a little over 4,000 square metres and include a library, a divinity school and a meeting point for Russian community members.
The project is the brainchild of Russian and French architects headed by Spanish artist Manuel NuÑ ez-Yanowsky. However, the idea of its creation belongs to the late Patriarch of Russia, Aleksey II who proposed the idea to French President Nicolas Sarkozy back in 2007.
© Russia Today. 28 February, 2012
An exhibition featuring photos of Nicholas II and his family, titled With Love to Russia, has opened in Yekaterinburg in the Urals.
A source in the Yekaterinburg eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church told the ITAR-TASS news agency that the collection features rare photos of the last Russian emperor and members of his family.
Nicholas II and his family were executed by Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg on 17 July, 1918.
© ITAR-TASS. 27 February, 2012
Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
Activists of a Cossack society in Moscow will guard all Orthodox Christian churches in the city’s southeast after a provocative stunt was staged by feminist group Pussy Riot in a downtown cathedral.
“Cossacks are setting up patrols by every church in the district,” the district administration cited the group as saying on Monday .
The Cossack group, called Southwest, also demanded that the Pussy Riot group be put on trial by church believers, the report said.
Pussy Riot radicals shocked the Christian community last week, when five masked members of the female group stormed the Christ the Savior Cathedral to perform a “punk prayer” attacking the church for its ties to the Kremlin. Churchgoers were too stunned to prevent them from escaping, while a video of the stunt became a hit on YouTube.
Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin demanded to make blasphemy a criminal offense following the incident. Lawmakers did not react but city police opened a case on hooliganism charges, punishable with up to seven years in prison.
Details of Cossack involvement in church protection remained unclear on Monday. Earlier this month, representatives of the Cossack community voiced plans to form “vice squads” to enforce a controversial ban on 'gay propaganda', currently being considered by the St. Petersburg city legislature.
Pussy Riot first made national headlines in January, when they performed an anti-government song on Lobnoye Mesto, a spot on the Red Square where executions are believed to have taken place in tsarist times. Two activists were detained but got away with fines of 500 rubles ($17).
© RIA Novosti. 27 February, 2012
A concert in memory of Anna Ivanova Zelenovna will be held on February 29th at Pavlovsk. Zelenovna served as Director of Pavlovsk from 1941 to 1979.
She is credited with the evacuation of art treasures from Pavlovsk during the Second World War, after having them moved to the basement of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg.
After the war, she played a significant role in initiating the restoration of a number of palaces, including the Catherine Palace, Peterhof, Pavlovsk and Gatchina.
Her life and work is explored in detail in Pavlovsk, The Life of a Russian Palace by Suzanne Massie (1990) and Saving the Tsars’ Palaces by Christopher Morgan and Irina Orlova (2005).
Anna Zelenovna died on the job on January 16, 1980, at the age of sixty-seven. Since her death, every year on her birthday her friends and co-workers gather at Pavlovsk to listen to chamber music concerts and honour her memory.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 February, 2012