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400th Anniversary
A Russian Moment
Alexander I
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Alexander Mikhailovich, GD
Alexander Palace
Alexandra Feodorovna
Alexandra Nicholayevna, GD
Alexandra Pavlovna GD
Amber Room
Andrei Vladimirovich, GD
Anna Feodorovna, GD
Anna Ioannovna, Empress
Anna Leopoldovna
Anna Pavlovna, GD
Beautiful Orthodox Churches
Benckendorff, Count Paul
Catherine II
Conspiracy Theories
Constantine Constantinovich, GD
Country Estates
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Dmitri Romanovich
Dowager Empress Maria
Eagar, Margaretta
Ekaterinburg Remains
Elena Vladimirovna, GD
Elizabeth Feodorovna GD
Elizabeth Petrovna, Empress
Frederiks, Count Vladimir
Ganima Yama
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Gibbes, Charles Sidney
Grand Duchess Xenia Alexa
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Kazan Cathedral
Kerensky, Alexander
Kolchak, Admiral
Konstantin Nikolayevich, GD
Maria Alexandrovna
Maria Feodorovna, Empress
Maria Pavlovna, Senior
Maria Vladimirovna GD
Marie Georgievna, GD
Mikhail Alexandrovich GD
Mikhail Nikolayevich, GD
Nevsky, Alexander
Nicholas Alexandrovich GD
Nicholas I
Nicholas II
Nicholas Mikhailovich, GD
Nicholas Nicholayevich, GD
Nicholas Romanovich
Oleg Konstantinovich, Prince
Olga Alexandrovna GD
Olga Konstantinovna GD
Olga Nicholayevna GD
Paley, Princess Natalia
Paul Alexandrovich, GD
Paul Gilbert
Paul I, Emperor
Peter and Paul Fortress
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Peter the Great
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Romanov Descendants
Romanov Family Album
Royal Russia
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Sergei Alexandrovich GD
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Stieglitz, Alexander
Stolypin, Pyotr
Tauride Palace
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Tsesarevich Alexei
Vera Konstantinovna, Princess
Vladimir Alexandrovich, GD
Vyrubova, Anna
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Xenia Alexandrovna GD
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Sunday, 24 June 2012
New Jerusalem Monastery to Become Major Exhibition Venue
Topic: Russian Church


The new museum complex being constructed at the New Jerusalem Monastery will become a main exhibition centre of the Moscow Region.

 Its repository will also become the center for storage of collections of several museums located around Moscow.

The New Jerusalem Monastery housing the museum is a unique phenomenon in the history of Russian architecture. Its founder Patriarch Nikon (1605-1681) wanted to create near Moscow an image of the Holy Land - "Russian Palestine" - which became a grandiose architectural and landscape complex.

A new museum building is under construction now, and the museum repository will be ready by the end of 2012. Construction of the new museum building will be completed in 2012, with about one billion rubles planned to be spent on its construction.

© 24 June, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:25 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 25 June 2012 8:37 AM EDT
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Saturday, 23 June 2012
Restoration of the Facets Palace in the Moscow Kremlin
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 8 seconds
Topic: Kremlin

The Facets Palace, considered to be one of the major buildings in the Moscow Kremlin ensemble has undergone a large-scale restoration and is once again open to the public. The restoration which began in 2007 involved master craftsmen from Moscow and St. Petersburg who have painstakingly returned the unique architectural building to its original appearance.

The Facets Palace is famous for its throne hall which served the Russian monarchs from the end of the 15th century. Many historic events and ceremonies took place here. It was here that the future heirs to the throne were solemnly proclaimed. Tsar Ivan IV celebrated the capture of Kazan, and a century and a half later Peter the Great celebrated the victory of the Battle of Poltava. The famed Red Gate was used during the coronation ceremonies of later Russian tsars up to and including Nicholas II.

The last time the Facets Palace was restored was in 1968. Carpets from the Byzantine era took eight months to restore. Paintings and frescoes have been restored, as well as the elaborate floors made from no less than 16 types of the finest woods.

During the recent restorations, excavations were carried out in the basement which yielded yet another treasure trove of more than 3,000 items, among them valuable jewels and items made of gold. These have all been transferred to the Armoury Museum where they will eventually be put on display.

While the Facets Palace is now open to the public, admission can only be made through special arrangement with museum officials.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 June, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:53 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 June 2012 11:43 AM EDT
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Leo Tolstoy: Russia Unthinkable Without Yasnaya Polyana
Topic: Country Estates


Yasnaya Polyana was the home of Russian writer and thinker Leo Tolstoy, where he was born and spent nearly 60 years of his life. During the distribution of inheritance between the Tolstoy brothers in 1847 Leo Tolstoy inherited the Yasnaya Polyana estate and several villages. Soon afterwards he sold the villages and the more than 1,000-hectare Yasnaya Polyana estate became his only property. The spacious three-storey house with 32 rooms where Leo Tolstoy was born on August 28th 1828 was later demolished. Upon his return from St.Petersburg in 1856, Leo Tolstoy and his family had to occupy one of the two wings which had been built by his grandfather. As Tolstoy’s family became larger, the wing was extended to provide more room. Members of the Tolstoy family referred to the Yasnaya Polyana house as “the big house”. Leo Tolstoy wrote many of his novels at Yasnaya Polyana and the estate bore witness to all the twists and turns of his more than eventful life.

The largest room, “the parlor” as the Tolstoys used to call it in those days, has preserved the interior of the old mansion. Director of the Yasnaya Polyana Museum Yekaterina Tolstaya comments.

"Many heirlooms were passed on from generation to generation. Portraits, mahogany furniture, and the comfy old chairs from the old mansion – all moved together with the family. The writing desk which belonged to Leo Tolstoy’s father is now in the writer’s study. Tolstoy wrote his most significant works at this desk."

Leo Tolstoy preferred to do a large share of work around the house himself and was on good terms with peasants for whom he had infinite respect. Even in his younger years Tolstoy believed that the landlord owed a lot to his peasants. When he was 21, Tolstoy opened a school for peasant children in Yasnaya Polyana and often gave classes himself. The student-teacher relations were built on the basis of equality. Yekaterina Tolstaya comments.

"Tolstoy deemed the ABC book he wrote to be nearly the most important of all his works. While teaching high school, he practiced an individual approach. He knew what the kids’ interests were and read and discussed things with them. His classes were held in a friendly atmosphere so each pupil found them interesting and benefited from them."

In addition to “the big house”, the Yasnaya Polyana estate consists of a huge park with alleys and ponds. One of the most remote alleys has Leo Tolstoy’s favorite bench from which opens a marvelous view on the local landscape. The Tree of Love is another attraction. As the legend goes, if you go around the tree several times and wish for something, your wish will come true.

Despite Tolstoy's views on politics and the church (the latter of which led to his excommunication from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1901) it is interesting to note that the novels and short stories of Leo Tolstoy were a favourite of Tsar Nicholas II, who used to read them aloud to his wife and children on cold winter nights while in residence at the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo.

© The Voice of Russia and Paul Gilbert. 23 June, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:55 AM EDT
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Monument to Emperor Alexander III Unveiled at Novosibirsk
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds
Topic: Alexander III


A new monument to Emperor Alexander III has been unveiled in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk. The ceremony was attended by local government officials, members of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as Paul Kulikovsky (the great-grandson of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna).

It was Emperor Alexander III who ordered the construction of the Trans Siberian Railway, of which the city was a major terminus. The new monument overlooks a railway bridge which spans the Ob River.

Large screens were erected for the ceremony in which visitors could view newsreels and photographs about the reign of Alexander III and the construction of the Trans Siberian Railway, considered to be one of the most significant events in the city's history.   

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 June, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 June 2012 11:45 AM EDT
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Thursday, 21 June 2012
Faberge Box Fetches Almost $90k
Topic: Faberge


A jewellery box found by an Auckland man in his mother's estate sold for almost $90,000 to a London buyer at auction yesterday - more than $70,000 higher than the reserve.
The Faberge box was originally purchased by a Bohemian prince for £35 in London in 1910.

The piece was discovered by Webb's Auction House amongst items from the woman's estate, many of which had little or no value.

The upper estimate of $20,000 was quickly forgotten as bidding went up in $2,000 lots.

The item attracted interest from "spirited and determined" bidders, a spokesman from Webb's said.

A London bidder eventually won the auction with a bid of $87, 750, after competing in the end with a New York buyer.

Peter Carl Faberge was the foremost jeweller of the Russian empire, and is most famous for his jewelled eggs.

His items are often sought after because of the craftsmanship and history attached to them.

*Note: prices quoted in this article are in New Zealand dollars.

© Auckland Now. 21 June, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:24 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2012 6:29 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 20 June 2012
The Romanovs Photography Studio at Tsarskoye Selo
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo


Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia and Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark on their wedding day in the Portrait Hall of the Catherine Palace. Photo by L. Gorodetsky, 1902. Photo © Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum-Preserve. 

A unique exhibition opens today at the Upper Bathhouse of the Catherine Park in cooperation with the ROSPHOTO State Museum & Exhibition Centre, which tells how photography came to Tsarskoye Selo, how the tsar’s court influenced a fashion for photography, and how the Romanov family helped boost the quality of daguerreotypes and photographs in Russia.

After the first pewter-plate photograph was taken by Joseph Nicephore Niepce in 1826 and then his partner Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre invented a photographic process using silver on copper plate in 1839, the daguerreotype came to Russia during the reign of  Tsar Nicholas I and was called “writing with light”.

Photography became a favourite hobby of the Tsar’s family which, like any other, loved its life chronicled in pictures. The photographs of the “most august family” used for the press and postcards were taken by professionals, who wore awarded the title “Supplier to the Imperial Court and Photographer” after 8–10 years of flawless service.

During Alexander III’s reign, photography bloomed and competed with portrait painting. Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, their children, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich took photography lessons from professional “light-writers”. Particularly noteworthy in the current exhibit are a touching photograph of the little Tsarevich Alexei standing together with a guard near a snow-covered Alexander Palace and an album of photographs taken by Anna Vyrubova, Tsarina Alexandra’s lady-in-waiting and close friend.

In 1860 the architect Ippolito Monighetti built an addition to the Llama Pavilion in the Alexander Park, which was used by the Romanovs as a photography studio and laboratory. After the Tsar’s special permission of 1866, photographic ateliers opened in the town of Tsarskoye Selo: Mikhail Kozlovski’s on Konyushennaya St, the workshop of Wilhelm Lapré on Moskovskaya St, and the photographic studio “K.E. von Gann and Co” of Alexander Yagelsky on Shirokaya St.

Besides showing part of the museum’s exhaustive photographic collection, the exhibit gives visitors a chance to feel as if they are in a Tsarskoye Selo photographic studio of the past.

The Exhibition is open through September 30, 2012, from 11.00–19.00 (tickets until 18.00). Closed on Thursdays and Fridays. Admission for adults is 100 rubles.

© Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum-Preserve. 20 June, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:15 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2012 9:26 AM EDT
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Monday, 18 June 2012
Thunder of Guns to Mark Unveiling of Monument to Alexander III at Novosibirsk
Topic: Alexander III


A new monument to Emperor Alexander III will be unveiled in the Siberian city of of Novosibirsk on the night of June 22/23. Organisers have announced that the ceremony will be "nothing short of impressive, complete with the unveiling of the monument to the thunder of guns."

For more information on this new monument to Alexander III, please refer to the following news clips on this blog;

||| First Glimpse of New Monument to Alexander III in Siberia |||

||| Monument to Alexander III Planned for Novosibirsk |||

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 June, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:12 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 20 June 2012 10:26 AM EDT
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Sunday, 17 June 2012
Rare Russian Imperial Porcelain Kremlin Service Plate
Topic: Antiques


Estate Auctions Inc. is offering a rare opportunity to own a unique and very hard to find Kremlin Service Plate. "We continue to be astonished at the rare unique items that come through our doors. Our clients appreciate the out of the ordinary and quirky items and this plate certainly falls into that category." says Norb Novocin, Owner of Estate Auctions Inc. of Delaware.

After much research Mr. Novocin discovered that a set of 12 plates, which matches this single plate currently listed on eBay, sold at Sotheby's in 2004 for $78,000. Again in 2008, a set of 6 sold for $34,000. A single plate available outside of a high end auction house is very rare but for the opening bid to be less than a dollar... you may never see that again.

The plate is from a service that was commissioned for use in the Great Kremlin Palace, the official Moscow residence for the Imperial family, when the process of renovating, and ultimately rebuilding, the palace began in 1837. The task of designing the new service fell to the talented student and future professor of the Academy of Arts Fedor Solntsev, who had been studying and recording Russian antiquities. He drew upon 17th century metalwork as a model; in the case of this plate, the source was a sumptuous gold plate made for Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich by masters of the Moscow Kremlin Armory in 1667. See Tamara Kudriavtseva, Russian Imperial Porcelain, St. Petersburg, 2003, pp. 130-132.

The auction closes Monday, June 18th at approximately 10:00 PM EST. Interest in this rare and historic plate continues to increase as the closing draws near.

© SFGate. 17 June, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EDT
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Saturday, 16 June 2012
Investigation into Murders of Russian Royal Family Takes Nearly a Century
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration:
Topic: Exhibitions


The investigation into one of the worst crimes of the 20th century, lasted nearly a century. Between 1918 and 2011, a series of investigations into the murders of Emperor Nicholas II and his family took place in Russia. This is the subject of an exhibition which recently opened in the Exhibition Hall of the Federal Archives in Moscow.


The exhibition offers a comprehensive look into the last months of the Russian Imperial family at the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg, their murders by the Bolsheviks, the  investigations into their deaths, and the search and identification of their remains many years later. This unique exhibit explores the difficulties, confusion and contradictions which have plagued researchers into the Ekaterinburg tragedy for decades.


The following video offers a summary of the exhibition. Click on the link below which provides a short article, as well as another video and more than 40 additional photograph from the exhibition. The exhibit runs until July 29th in the Exhibition Hall of the Federal Archives which is located at ul. B. Pirogovskaya, 17 in Moscow. Admission is free!

||| Click Here to View More Than 40 Photos from the Exhibit |||


© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 16 June, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:27 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 16 June 2012 9:33 AM EDT
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Thursday, 14 June 2012
Moscow Streets to be Renamed After the Romanovs?
Topic: Sergei Alexandrovich GD



Russia’s new culture minister, Vladimir Medinsky has proposed the changing the name of two streets in Moscow in honour of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich and his wife, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition Russia in the Holy Land, which marks the 130th anniversary of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society in Moscow, he said that the names of the Romanov family members “should replace the names of terrorists and murderers.”

Medinsky believes that changing the names of these streets will help educate the citizens of Moscow about two members of the Romanov dynasty, each of whom made a major contribution to the history of the city and its inhabitants.

Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich - the son of Emperor Alexander II, from 1891 was the military governor-general of Moscow. He headed the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, was the honorary chairman of the Russian Historical Museum, and a trustee of the Moscow Theological Academy. He was assassinated by terrorists on February 17, 1905. His remains were exhumed in 1995 and reburied in a vault of the Novospassky Monastery in Moscow.

After his murder, his wife, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna (born Princess Elizabeth of Hesse, she was the eldest sister to the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna) then departed the Imperial Court. 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. In 1918 she was arrested and murdered by the Bolsheviks. In 1981 Elizabeth was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and in 1992 by the Moscow Patriarchate.

Vladimir Medinsky, viewed by his opponents as an “odd monarchist” created headlines earlier this week when he proposed that the body of Vladimir Lenin be removed from the mausoleum on Red Square and given a proper burial.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 June, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:17 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 February 2015 5:54 AM EST
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