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Thursday, 5 April 2012
Yusupov Chambers: Splendid Residence of Russia's Richest Nobles
Now Playing: Language: English. Duration: 3 minutes, 4 seconds
Topic: Yusupov

A former royal residence turned into the home of one of Tsarist Russia’s wealthiest families, Yusupov Chambers is offering visitors a fascinating journey through the centuries.

­Located in Bolshoi Kharitonyevsky lane, the area was once woodland during the times of Ivan the Terrible. The Tsar liked to hunt there, so he ordered a palace to be built.

The legend goes that it was designed by Barma and Postnik, the renowned duo who went on to create St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square. The Tsar used the palace to relax after his hunting sprees, feasting lavishly, before slipping back to the Kremlin via a secret underground tunnel.

After Ivan’s death, the building stood abandoned until the reign of Peter the Great, when its ownership switched hands several times. The chambers were successively presented to a string of courtiers who rose to power and then fell out of favor.

In 1727, the palace was granted to Prince Grigory Yusupov. The wealthy and influential House of Yusupov owned the chambers for the next 200 years, rebuilding and enlarging the estate and gathering a vast collection of art.

At the start of the 19th century parts of the huge house were rented out. One of the tenants was the father of Aleksandr Pushkin – the future poet loved to roam the palace’s gardens, which inspired some of his works.

After the revolution, the Yusupovs fled to Europe and the estate ended up housing an agricultural academy. Now restored to its former splendor, it is open to visitors. Much of the house is decorated in the traditional Russian style.

On the ground floor, the so-called Hunting Room is dominated by paintings of hunting scenes featuring Ivan the Terrible, while at the main staircase guests are greeted by lions holding the family’s coat-of-arms.

The first floor has a striking Chinese Room, decorated in the Oriental style, very fashionable in the 19th century. Next to it is the Throne Room used for receptions and adorned with portraits of several Russian Tsars. With plenty more to see, the palace offers a fascinating look at how some of Russia’s richest nobles lived.

||| Click Here to View 37 Colour Photos of the Palace Interiors |||

© Russia Today. 05 April, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:56 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 5 April 2012 11:05 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Restoration of the Greek Gallery at Gatchina
Topic: Gatchina

 

The restoration of the Greek Gallery at Gatchina is now underway. Modern-day masters will recreate the elegant 18th-century gallery based on drawings, photographs and watercolours which have survived.

In its heyday before the Revolution, the Greek Gallery was illuminated thanks to the light-orange hues of the walls and the orange-coloured curtains of the semicircular windows. This was intensified by the rays of sunshine coming in through the large windows that ran the entire length of the gallery.

The gallery included the furnishings and decor details associated with the art of ancient Greece. The walls were adorned with reliefs of dancing bacchantes and medallions showing profiles of ancient heroes, moulded bracket carried marble busts of Roman emperors and philosophers and marble statues of antique gods and goddesses stood opposite the windows.

Four large canvases by Hubert Robert depicted architectural sights of ancient Rome. The Greek Gallery completed by Vincenzo Brenna in the 1790s terminated the ceremonial palatial apartments retaining the 18th-century decorations.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 04 April, 2012





Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:40 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 5 April 2012 11:49 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Summer Palace at Kolomenskoye Insured for 1 Billion Rubles

 

The summer palace of Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich has been insured for 1 billion rubles (USD 34 million) by the Russian insurance company, Rosgosstrakh.

The former palace of the first Romanov tsar was recreated at Kolomenskoye, a former royal estate situated to the southeast of Moscow  and opened its doors as a museum in September 2010.

The original palace, which was made entirely of wood was built in the 17th century, but it was demolished a century later. The recreation of the modern-day palace, which consists of 288 rooms, is thanks to original plans and drawings that had been preserved.

||| Click Here to View 60 Colour Photos of the Palace Interiors |||

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 03 April, 2012


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:22 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2012 11:42 AM EDT
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Monday, 2 April 2012
20-Year Anniversary of the Canonization of St. Elizabeth Romanov
Topic: Elizabeth Feodorovna GD

 

The Russian Orthodox Church is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the canonization of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna Romanova. She was renowned during her lifetime for her missionary, educational and charitable work. The Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy which she created with her own funds continues to this day to assist the needy, Vesti reports.

Grand Duchess Elizabeth was the widow of Grand Duke Sergeii Alexandrovich, who had been assassinated by terrorists in 1905. After her husband's death, she gave away her magnificent collection of jewels, including her wedding ring, and sold her other possessions. With the proceeds, she opened the convent and became its abbess. Her vision was to begin a religious community, made up of women from all social strata, that would merge the ideals of saints Martha and Mary, dedicated both to prayer and to serving the needs of the poor.

St. Elizabeth’s death was that of a martyr. Arrested on Lenin’s order, she was thrown into a mine and peppered with grenades, dying a slow and painful death.

Elizabeth was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 1981, and in 1992 by the Moscow Patriarchate as New Martyr Elizabeth. Her principal shrines are the convent she founded in Moscow, and the St. Mary Magdalene Convent on the Mount of Olives, which she and her husband helped build, and where her relics (along with the Nun Barbara) are enshrined. She is one of the ten 20th-century martyrs from across the world who are depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, London, England.

A statue of Elizabeth was erected in the garden of her convent after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Its inscription reads: "To the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna: With Repentance."

© Russkiy Mir Foundation. 02 April, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:37 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 2 April 2012 6:53 AM EDT
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Monument to Lumiere Brothers in Ekaterinburg

 

A monument of the Lumiere Brothers will be set up in Yekaterinburg. It will appear near the Kosmos cinema and concert theater. It will be unveiled in the end of August and timed to the Day of the Russian cinema and the 289th anniversary since the foundation of Yekaterinburg. The idea of setting up a monument to the Lumiere Brothers in Yekaterinburg belongs to the city administration. 

In 1895 in Paris the Frenchmen Auguste and Louis Lumiиre patented the device Cinematograph invented by them. On March 22 the same year at the conference dedicated to the development of the French photoindustry, the Lumiere Brothers introduced to public the first film on big screen Workers Leaving the Lumiиre Factory. The same film opened the well-known first paid film session of ten films in the cellar of the Grand Cafe on Boulevard des Capucines in Paris on December 28, 1895.

One of their most interesting films was the filming of the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II in Moscow in 1896, by the French cameraman Kamill Serf. He was sent to Russia by the Lumiere Brothers' company.

||| 1896 Film of the Coronation of Nicholas II to be Restored |||

© Russia Info-Center. 02 April, 2012


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:24 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 2 April 2012 6:57 AM EDT
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Sunday, 1 April 2012
Imperial Russian Law Exhibited at Yale Law Library
Topic: Imperial Russia

 

The latest exhibition from the Yale University Law Library's Rare Book Collection is on display from now through May 25, 2012. This exhibit takes a look at Monuments of Imperial Russian Law. This brings us back to the days before the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Russia had built up an extensive code of law under the czars, but once the Communists came to power, they tried to bury all mention of the nation's past. There was to be no memory of those terrible days before the land became a workers' paradise.

With the fall of the Communists, Russia is again looking to its earlier past to help guide it through the post-Soviet era. According to William E. Butler, Distinguished Professor of Law and International Affairs at the Dickinson School of Law, Pennsylvania State University, “The post-Soviet era of Russian history has made the legacy of the pre-1917 era newly relevant in ways unimaginable. It is not merely a country recovering historical experience suppressed or distorted for ideological reasons during the Soviet regime, but a country seeking to modernize partly on the basis of its earlier legal legacy.” Butler is co-curator of the exhibition, along with Yale Law Rare Book Librarian Michael Widener. William Butler is the pre-eminent U.S. authority on the law of the former Soviet Union and is the author, co-author, editor, or translator of more than 120 books on Soviet, Russian, Ukrainian, and post-Soviet legal systems.

Among the items on display is a copy of the Sobornoe ulozhenie, printed in 1649. It was the first printed collection of Russian laws, and it continued to be used into the 19th century. There are also three versions of the Nakaz (Instructions). This statement of law was promulgated by Catherine II in 1767. It was patterned on the enlightenment thoughts coming out of France at the time. She actually wrote it in French. It provided for such things as equality of men before the law, and disapproved of the death penalty and torture (no wonder the Soviets didn't want to to remember their past). If not applied in all its humanitarian splendor, it was still a remarkable document for its time, and helped earn Catherine the sobriquet of “Catherine the Great” (without it she simply would have been “Catherine the Ordinary”).

The exhibit includes material from the Yale University libraries, the Harvard Law Library, and a private collection. It is open to the public daily from 9:00 am – 10:00 pm at the Lillian Goldman Law Library at the Yale Law School in New Haven.

© Americana Exchange. 01 April, 2012


 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:37 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 1 April 2012 5:39 PM EDT
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Romanov Dynasty to Be Revived Once Again in Kostroma
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 6 seconds
Topic: 400th Anniversary

Outside the walls of the Ipataev (Hypatian) Monastery in Kostroma, actors from the local Ostrovsky Theater are organizing a historical re-enactment of the appointment of Mikhail Romanov as tsar of the Russian lands, RIA Novosti reports. This event took place 399 years ago and essentially put an end to the Time of Troubles.

The re-enactment of historical events of 1613 based on the Ipataev chronicles will be staged near the monastery’s gates. Actors will don costumes from the 17th century and will re-enact the process of inviting Mikhail Romanov to take the throne, thus launch the 303-year rule of the Romanov dynasty.

During the Time of Troubles in Russia, the Ipatiev Monastery was occupied by the supporters of False Dmitriy II in the spring of 1609. In September of that same year, the monastery was captured by the Muscovite army after a long siege. On March 14, 1613, the Zemsky Sobor announced that Mikhail Romanov, who had been in this monastery at that time, would be the Russian tsar.

The Ipatiev Monastery was disbanded after the October Revolution in 1917. It has been a part of the historical and architectural preservation, but recently the authorities decided to return it to the Russian Orthodox Church, despite strong opposition from museum officials.

The Romanov Festival is held in Kostroma every year in late February and March. “The main goals of this festival are to make currently central the abundant cultural heritage we have from the Romanov epoch, to restore the historical succession, to refer to those symbols and lessons of our past that invoked the Russians to unite to face emerging problems. For only solidarity was the salvation and the way out for our ancestors during the Time of Troubles in 1613, when they put the young Mikhail Romanov on the throne country-wide and began to regenerate the country,” the festival organizers write.

© RIA Novosti. 01 April, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:51 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 1 April 2012 3:01 PM EDT
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Saturday, 31 March 2012
Bust of Empress Maria Feodorovna in Copenhagen
Topic: Maria Feodorovna, Empress

 

Visitors to Copenhagen can view a bust dedicated to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna at the Alexander Nevsky Church. The bust is a copy of the one made by the Russian sculptor Mark Antokolski in 1887 at St. Petersburg.

The Dowager Empress Maria died in Denmark on October 13, 1928, her funeral was held at the Alexander Nevsky Church, the city's only Russian Orthodox Church.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 31 March, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:35 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 31 March 2012 7:39 AM EDT
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Friday, 30 March 2012
Rare Faberge Cigarette Case Expected to Sell for 15,000 GBP at Auction
Topic: Faberge

 

A RARE Faberge cigarette case is expected to fetch more than £15,000 at a Coventry auction next week. The 18-carat gold case was made by the world famous Russian jewellery firm some time between 1880 and 1917.

 

It comes in an original cedarwood box and is being sold by Warwick Auctions, in Queen Victoria Road, on Wednesday. Auctioneer Chris Burns, who has been in the trade for 30 years, said: “It’s very, very, rare.

 

“These come up for auction only at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London – no Faberge has gone through here since the 1940s.

 

“The estimate is £10,000 to £15,000, but it could fetch a lot more. I’ve never seen one like it.”

 

The case is part of a large collection of Russian gold and silver being sold by a mystery seller from Coventry and Warwickshire.

 

© Coventry Telegraph. 30 March, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:57 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 30 March 2012 1:59 PM EDT
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Historian Sheds Light on Germany's Amber Room Hunt
Now Playing: Language: English. Duration: 6 minutes, 41 seconds
Topic: Amber Room

A German historian has made some remarkable discoveries about the missing "Amber Room” – an art collection dubbed the eighth wonder of the world.

­Studying declassified intelligence files, Mario Morgner found out that East Germany was devoting huge amount of time, energy and money trying to locate St. Petersburg's missing "Amber Room."

The Amber Room, once located outside St. Petersburg, was designed by German Baroque sculptor Andreas Schlueter in 17th century as a present for Russian tsar Peter the Great from King Friedrich Wilhelm I. The room was lavishly decorated with amber panels, golden ornaments, mosaics, and gems.

During World War II, it was dismantled and shipped by German troops to Koenigsberg, now Kaliningrad. The room was put on display in the royal palace, but soon it was damaged by a fire and subsequently disappeared.

There have been many rumors and theories about where the Amber room went. In his new book “Geheimsache Bernsteinzimmer” (“Secret File Amber Room”), Morgner reveals previously unknown data on an East German intelligence operation called “Pushkin” that lasted for decades.

According to Morgner’s findings, the intelligence spent millions of marks to find the treasure. They thoroughly searched the mountains of East Prussia, where they thought they might find the remains of the room.

“There were about 120 locations that were opened up – old mines, depots, etc., mainly in the Ore Mountains,” Morgner told BusinessWeek. “But nothing much was found except for old rubber boots and rusting weapons. No trace of the Amber Room.”

Still, Morger insists that the room still exists.

“It would probably be a huge 3-D puzzle, interesting for art historians to look at to see the craftsmanship, but probably impossible to put back together again,” Morgner said. “The amber itself is indestructible. It can burn and it darkens with time, but it doesn’t decay.”

© Russia Today. 30 March, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:42 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 30 March 2012 1:46 PM EDT
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