The Romanov Dynasty: 400 Years Topic: 400th Anniversary
In the next few weeks I will be adding a new section to my web site, Royal Russia that will be dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty in 2013.
This new section will include news and other information about the festivities, exhibitions and other events planned in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and other cities across Russia, plus any events planned for other cities and countries.
Tsarskoye Selo Commemorates the Royal Martyrs Topic: Holy Royal Martyrs
The Holy Royal Martyrs were commemorated at Tsarskoye Selo today, in services at both the Alexander Palace and the nearby Feodorovsky Cathedral.
A prayer service was held in the Semi-Circular Hall of the Alexander Palace. It was through the doors of this room of the palace that the Imperial Family left the palace for the last time on August 1, 1917.
In the nearby Feodorovsky Cathedral a night liturgy was held in memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs. The service was led by Bishop Markell of the Peterhof Cathedral. The liturgy has been held every year since 2000 and is attended by hundreds of Orthodox faithful who live in Pushkin and the surrounding towns and villages.
Bells to be Restored at St. Isaac's Cathedral Topic: St. Petersburg
The bells of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg will be restored by the end of this year, says the Deputy Director of Operations Boris Pokrovsky.
The bells were cast in 1845-1846, according to the drawings by Auguste Montferrand. They were dismantled during the Soviet regime in 1931.
Nine new bells will be cast with work expected to be completed in November to late December. Once completed, the bells will then hoisted and installed in their original locations. The largest of the bells will be installed in the south-west bell tower.
Pokrovsky announced that the bells will ring out during major religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter.
In 1818, Emperor Alexander I commissioned Auguste Montferrand to build St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Construction lasted 40 years and was completed in 1858, three years after the death of Emperor Nicholas I.
Auction of Rare Russian Imperial Porcelain Topic: Antiques
Part of a 19th Century banquet service that once belonged to Emperor Alexander III of Russia—is set to come under the hammer at West Midlands’ auction house Cuttlestones on Friday 14th September 2012.
All matching, the twelve pieces comprise six soup bowls and six plates that were made at, and carry the marks of, the Imperial Porcelain factory in St Petersburg. The delicate design combines scalloped edges with gilt decoration; each piece emblazoned with the cipher of Alexander III beneath the Imperial crown. In exceptional condition, carrying no cracks or chips and with just minor rubbing to the gilt, these are a very special find – as Adrian Simmons, specialist ceramics valuer at Cuttlestones, explains:
“These are an unusual offering of pre-revolutionary Russian porcelain, and have a cast iron Royal connection. It is very rare for matching groups to come onto the market, normally just odd ones and pairs appear.
Memorial Chapel to Nicholas II Opens in Omsk Region Topic: Nicholas II
A memorial chapel dedicated to Tsar Nicholas II has opened in the village of Lyuba which is situated in the Omsk region of Siberia.
The chapel opened on July 14th, a year after a memorial plaque in honour of Nicholas II had been erected on the spot.
The former Russian emperor, along with his wife Alexandra, and their daughter Maria stopped at the Lyubinskaya Station after being transferred from Tobolsk to the Ekaterinburg in 1918.
In the summer of 1917 the Provisional Government in Petrograd sent the Imperial family to Tobolsk. In October, the Provisional Government fell after a successful coup by Lenin.
In April of 1918 Yakov Sverdlov ordered that Nicholas be sent to Moscow to stand trial. However, their train was stopped at the Lyubinskaya Station on April 28th. Eye witnesses recall seeing the last emperor and empress walking on the platform of the station while awaiting their fate. In an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate with the Bolsheviks on the transporting of the Imperial family members to Moscow, Vasily Yakovlev, the special plenipotentiary commissar of the Central Executive Committee took them instead to Ekaterinburg.
After that, any possibility of escape or rescue was gone. To this day, some historians believe that regardless of Yakovlev’s motives, that the fate of the Emperor and his family might have been different had the family been moved to Omsk. For a brief period during the Russian Civil War (1918-1920), Omsk served as the capital of the anti-Bolshevik Russian State and held the Imperial gold reserves.
"Russia without samovars is not Russia!" Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 46 seconds Topic: Tsaritsino
Pyotr Stolypin, one of the last major statesmen of Imperial Russia and Prime Minister under Tsar Nicholas II, used to say “Russia without samovars is not Russia!” Alexei Lobanov, a collector of samovars from St. Petersburg, likes to repeat this statement. His collection of savovars, metal containers, which were traditionally used in Russia to heat and boil water, are on display in the Tsaritsino museum in Moscow from July 12 to September 9.
Although he is a professional lawyer, Alexei continues to supplement the family collection of samovars which was started by his great-grandfather and his father. Their family collection counts more than 200 exhibits. In an interview with the Voice of Russia Lobanov confessed that he is now so deep into the subject that he knows what is what as good as a professional ethnographer.
"Our collection will shed more light on the development of samovar as a symbol of Russian culture," Lobanov says. "Samovar appeared in Russia at the beginning of the 18th century, and our collection includes a spate of rare hand-made samovars that were in use in Russia between the 18th century and the beginning of the 20th century.Subsequent years saw the beginning of mass production of samovars which were of little interest to me," Lobanov adds.
A metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water, a samovar turned into an important attribute of a Russian household.
In previous years, Lobanov’s samovars were on display in Paris, Prague and the Norwegian town of Bodo, attracting scores of visitors. The hope is that the Moscow exhibition will not be an exception.
Catherine the Great Exhibition Opens in Edinburgh Topic: Exhibitions
The exhibition Catherine the Great: An Enightened Empress opened today at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. More than three hundred works of art associated with the image and life of one of the most famous women in the history of Russia on loan fromthe Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg are on display until 21st of October, 2012.
Writers continue to write books about her, the theatre and cinema constantly return to the image of this great woman. Who could have thought that a modest German princess called Sophia Frederica Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst, who was brought to Russia at the age of 16 to marry the heir to the Russian throne, would become Empress Catherine the Great. Catherine’s first portrait in Russia, painted by an unknown artist, is just a picture of an ordinary nice young girl. Eighteen years later, in the coronation portrait by Danish artist Vigilius Eriksen she looks a sovereign.
Contemporary western cinema, in the opinion of historian Olga Yeliseyeva, distorts the image of Catherine the Great emphasizing her German origin.
“Catherine spoke a very good Russian without an accent. We have a lot of documents at our disposal that Catherine wrote in Russian. It is true that she made small mistakes in spelling and punctuation but this is also true of many Russian women. In any case, what did it mean to be Russian in the Russian Empire? People could be of the German origin but at the same time feel Russian, accept the Russian ways and live like Russians.
Catherine adopted a lot of Russian features, such as generosity, taste for luxury and living in style. Catherine’s gifts to her favourites and the luxury of her court became legendary. The exhibition in Edinburgh shows jewellery, dresses and accessories made by the best craftsmen of the time. Even snuff-boxes and perfume bottles are studded with precious stones. Catherine was interested in Chinese art and loved the elegant gold hair clasps that were given to her by the Chinese Emperor. She commissioned first-rate silver and porcelain sets for the dining-rooms of her palaces and she bought large collections of European art to arrange a picture gallery in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. The Imperial Museum was to show the world that Russia had the right to be called a European country and the Russian Empress was well-educated. She bought paintings by Giordano, Rembrandt, Van Dyke and Velasquez. The National Museum of Scotland displays Rubens’ Apotheosis of James I from the Walpole collection bought by Catherine in 1779. This collection belonged to British Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole. It was famous all over Europe and was sought after by many art collectors. However, Sir Walpole’s grandson chose to sell the paintings to Russia. At that time Empress Catherine was already known to be an experienced art collector and an educated woman who corresponded with famous European philosophers and writers and wrote novels and plays herself.
At the presentation of the exhibition in St. Petersburg British Consul Gareth Word said that this year Russia and the UK were marking important dates in the history of their monarchies: Empress Catherine the Great ascended the throne 250 years ago and Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of her reign. The British Consul believes that for any country and nation the figure of a monarch symbolizes unity and permanent values even in the contemporary fast-changing world.
The exhibition Catherine the Great: An Enlightened Empress will undoubtedly be a great success, the staff of the National Museum of Scotland believe. A lot of applications to attend it have already been registered. The residents of the Scottish capital are eager to know the life story of that great woman ‘at first hand’, at the exhibition of works of art from the world-famous Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg which was actually founded by Catherine the Great.
St. Petersburg's Kazan Cathedral to be Restored Topic: Russian Church
The Russia Ministry of Culture has ordered a project for the restoration of the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg.
Now they are looking for a project documentation development contractor. The initial price of the state contract is nearly 2 million rubles. The performer will have to measure fragments of the western facade of the cathedral, traces of fastenings of letters on grapholites of the western portico and to carry out engineering survey with photofixing. The winner of the competition will prepare working documentation on restoration of fragments of the western facade with the reconstruction of frame board inscriptions, present scientific and methodical recommendations about restoration of the facade stone and iron-cast bases of columns of pilasters.
The project preparation is planned to be finished on November 15, 2012. Applications are admitted till August 7. Results of the competition will become known on August 21.
The Kazan Cathedral located on the Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg was constructed under the decree of Emperor Paul I. The architect of the monument is Andrey Voronikhin. The cathedral appeared in all its glory in 1811.
Peter the Great at the Hermitage Amsterdam Topic: Exhibitions
Next year, the Hermitage Amsterdam will host a new exhibition dedicated to Peter the Great.
The central theme for the year 2013 will be the special relationship between Russia, the Netherlands and Amsterdam. The two countries have been major trading partners since the Golden Age, and Amsterdam’s canal ring inspired Peter the Great’s to found the city of St Petersburg. In the centuries that followed, this relationship grew stronger. In 1813, when Napoleon was defeated, the Russian Cossacks advanced as far as the gates of Amsterdam, and a member of the House of Orange-Nassau married the daughter of a tsar. The year 2009 saw a crowning moment in relations between the Netherlands and Russia: the opening of the Hermitage Amsterdam, the only European satellite of the famous St Petersburg museum. The Hermitage Amsterdam will kick off the anniversary year of 2013 with a major exhibition about Peter the Great, the tsar who brought Russia into the modern age.
The exhibition will run from 26 February 2013 - 13 September 2013.