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Sunday, 9 September 2012
Russian Millenium Monument Gets $13,000 Scrubbing
Topic: Russian History


Veliky Novgorod’s remarkable monument celebrating the 1,000th anniversary of Russian statehood is getting a $13,000 facelift ahead of the 1,150th anniversary, a representative of Novgorod’s State Museum and Conservancy told RIA Novosti.

Unveiled on September 8, 1862, the 50-foot-high Millenium of Russia monument traces the first 1,000 years of Russian history with bronze statues of 129 rulers and cultural figures, from the Varangian chieftain Rurik to the Romanovs and 19th century artists and scholars.

In a nod to local sensibilities, one notable figure was left off the monument: Ivan the Terrible, who sacked Novgorod in 1570, massacring thousands of city residents.

Veliky Novgorod, the seat of the medieval Republic of Novgorod, will celebrate the 1,150th anniversary of Russian statehood on September 21-23.

The monumental cleanup job, the first since the 1990s, targets removal of accumulated dirt, soot, dust, lichen, moss and bird droppings.

© RIA Novosti. 09 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:47 AM EDT
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Friday, 7 September 2012
Royal Russia Annual No. 2
Topic: Books

 ||| Click Here to Order Your Copy! |||

ROYAL RUSSIA is pleased to announce that the second issue of our OFFICIAL magazine is now available.

This issue offers 8 full-length articles, many written by Russian historians and appear in English for the very first time. Plus, 3 photograph collections of the Russian Imperial family and their legacy enhance this issue.

Features include a full-colour cover highlighting the cover story: Tsar Alexander II and Tsarskoye Selo, large 8-1/2" x 11" format, 112 pages, over 135 black and white photographs, and more!

Price: $20.00 CAD + Postage.

© Royal Russia and Gilbert's Books. 07 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:14 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2012 9:24 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral at Tsarskoye Selo Marks 100th Anniversary
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

Entrance to the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral at Tsarskoye Selo
Celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral at Tsarskoye Selo were held on September 2nd, which included a divine liturgy attended by local parishoners, visiting dignitaries and representatives of the St. Petersburg diocese.

Construction of the Cathedral began in 1908, in  a meadow of the north-east corner of the Alexander Park, the location having been selected by Emperor Nicholas II.

The foundation of the Cathedral was laid on 20 August, 1909 in the presence of the Imperial family. The construction was financed by the tsar himself who contributed 150,000 gold rubles from his own personal funds.

The Feodorovsky Sovereign's Church became the household church of the last Russian Imperial family. The Cathedral consisted of two churches, the upper consisted of the main altar dedicated to the Feodorovsky Icon of Our Lady and a side chapel consecrated in honour of the Moscow Metropolitan Alexis, the All-Russia Miracle Worker. The lower part of the building housed the Cave Church with the altar dedicated to Saint Serafim of Sarovsk the Miracle Worker, and the private chapel of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

The Feodorovsky Icon of Our Lady, the main icon of the Cathedral, was regarded as a symbol of the Romanov dynasty and the crown itself.

During the Soviet years the Cathedral was descrated and pillaged before it was finally closed in 1933.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Feodorovsky Sovereign Cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. It was consecrated again on February 29th, 1992. Restoration of the Cathedral lasted nearly 20 years, and once again, the Cathedral is the crown jewel of Tsarskoye Selo. Due to its history and association with the last Russian Imperial family, regular services are held in memory of Nicholas II and his family, all of whom were murdered on July 17th, 1918.

Emperor Nicholas II is also commemorated with a bronze bust erected in the garden located in behind the Cathedral in 1993.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 September, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:52 PM EDT
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Medvedev Unveils Newly-Restored Arch of Triumph
Topic: Moscow


Photo Credit: RIA Novosti 

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended the solemn unveiling on Tuesday of the newly-restored Arch of Triumph in Moscow.

Through that arch Russian regiments made their victorious return to Moscow after defeating Napoleon in the war of 1812.

One of the first monuments built to commemorate that glorious victory, the Arch of Triumph symbolizes a great patriotic upswing in the consciousness of the Russian people, the prime minster said.

© Interfax and RIA Novosti. 05 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:34 AM EDT
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Museum of Patriotic War of 1812 Opens in Moscow
Topic: Museums


Field Marshal Kutuzov’s notes, an ashtray made from a hoof of a horse belonging to Denis Davydov, Napoleon’s sabre, are among exhibits at the newly opened War of 1812 museum in Moscow.

The new museum is located outside the Moscow State Historical Museum on Red Square where a large exhibition took place in 1912 to mark the centenary of the Patriotic War of 1812.

The recently unveiled exhibition is organized in a two-storey pavilion featuring a great variety of rarities, including military maps and personal belongings. The opening of the museum appears to be a truly landmark occasion in a series of events celebrating the 200th anniversary of Russia’s victory over Napoleon. 

A large piece of a mural painting from the Christ the Savior Cathedral which was blown up in 1931 catches your eye as soon as you enter the museum. The cathedral was built in late 19th century to celebrate Russia’s victory over Napoleon. There you can also see a large screen showing a film about the Napoleonic Wars. The exhibition combines traditional glass museum display cases and multimedia. “There are no accidental exhibits here”, the organizers say. Kirill Meerov, who runs the information department at the Historical Museum, showed the VoR`s correspondent around the museum. 

“Just look: this is a throne which belonged to Emperor Alexander I. He asked for a throne similar to the one owned by Napoleon to be made for him but with different symbolic engravings. The one owned by Napoleon is on display at Versailles, and Alexander`s throne can be seen at our museum in Moscow”. 

The collection also features authentic pieces of the Russian army uniform, as well as items from Alexander`s field church, portraits of the heroes of the Borodino Battle, and the ribbon of the Order of Saint Andrew the First-Called worn by General Pyotr Bagration when he was fatally wounded during the Borodino Battle. Things once belonged to Field Marshal Kutuzov are being displayed separately: his decorations, tableware, small telescope and notes he made during the Battle of Borodino. Visitors can also see French cannons and a field kitchen used by the French army, and Napoleon’s sleigh he boarded to flee Russia. Some exhibits are really outstanding. For example, Napoleon’s sabre: in 1814 he presented it to Alexander`s aide, General Shuvalov shortly after the two had swapped their coats. Why did they do that? Napoleon could have been killed on his way to the island of Elba, and to avoid this the Russian general put on Napoleon`s coat at the risk of his life.

It looks that the newly opened War of 1812 museum in Moscow will attract plenty of visitors interested in learning many interesting stories behind 2,000 exhibits on display.

© The Voice of Russia. 05 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:20 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2012 12:49 PM EDT
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Restoration of Imperial Traveling Palace at Tver
Topic: Palaces

Photo Credit: 

The restoration of the Imperial Traveling Palace at Tver has begun with the symbolic ceremony of the transfer of the keys to the 18th-century monument over to the builders and restorers. Residents of Tver and the entire Tver Region have been waiting for this day for 20 years.

The palace was constructed in the Classical style with some elements of Baroque.  It was intended as a resting place for members of the Russian Imperial family as they travelled from St. Petersburg to Moscow. It also served as a residence for the Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna (1788-1819) and her spouse, Duke George of Oldenburg (1784-1812), who served as governor of the region up until his death in 1812 due to typhoid fever.

The historic interiors and décor will be restored in the former Romanov palace over the next three years. These will be based on surviving sketches, photos and inventories of the pre-war period. The palace garden and surrounding landscape will also be restored.

Restoration costs will amout to three billion rubles; most of the amount - 1.8 billion – has been allocated by the World Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The rest of the money will be provided from the budgets of Tver and the Tver

© Russia Info-Center. 05 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:18 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2012 2:11 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Tsarskoye Selo in 1941
Now Playing: Source: ITAR-TASS. Language: NA. Duration: 47 seconds.
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

Dimitri Silbermann, a Berlin-based collector and researcher, has shared with the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve the digital copies of nineteen photographs from his private collection showing Tsarskoye Selo in about the end of 1941.

Mr Silbermann established that the original 6 x 9 cm pictures were made by an amateur photographer from the 58th Infantry Division, a unit of the German Army (Wehrmacht) under Generalleutnant Friedrich Altrichter then quartered in Uritsk (now South Western St Petersburg).

Being of historical importance, these photographs greatly compliment the Museum collection which so far has had wartime pictures taken as early as 1942, when a number of the Tsarskoye Selo monuments were already destroyed and the objects left behind were looted and moved to Germany.

The photos of 1941 show the Nazis posing complacently on the background of yet intact interiors of the Catherine Palace and having a coronation mockery scene possibly in one of the Antechambers. We can see the pre-war décors in the park pavilions, the later completely destroyed icons in the Palace Chapel, the bronze Hercules and Flora still on their pedestals at the Cameron Gallery.

Many details from the history of the German occupation of Pushkin town are unknown yet. Archived in hundreds of places around the world, the documents of that period are still waiting to be researched. That is why any photographic materials showing Tsarskoye Selo with its palaces and parks during 1941–44 are so important.

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve. 04 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:05 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2012 8:09 AM EDT
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Monday, 3 September 2012
Main Building of State Historical Museum Celebrates Birthday


On August 22 (September 3), 1875 on the Red Square in Moscow in the presence of Alexander II and a large crowd of people in ceremonial atmosphere there was laid the foundation stone of Historical museum – the largest national historical museum of Russia. Its collection reflects the history and the culture of Russia from ancient times to our days.

The museum was founded by initiative of the public in 1872. The first displays were from historical and Sevastopol departments of Polytechnic exhibition of 1872. According to “General regulations of the museum” established in 1873 its main goal was “to serve as visual history”. Thus the museum started to acquire “all the monuments of significant events of the Russian state history”.

In April 1874 the Moscow state Duma assigned a ground for the museum construction on the Red square where once was situated the first Moscow University. As a result of the competition the project of the architect V. Sherwood and engineer A. Semenov was approved. The construction lasted six years.

From the very beginning the museum was granted with generous gifts and donations from state and social organizations as well as from people of different rank and estate. The Moscow state Duma presented it with Golitsyn and Chertkovsky libraries rich of numerous unique manuscripts. The nobles such as Golitsyny, Bobrinskye, Kropotkiny, Obolenskye, Masalskye, Shcherbatovy, Uvarovy also made a significant contribution as well as merchants-sponsors Bakhrushiny, Buryliny, Grachovy, Postnikovy, Sapozhnikovy. Several hundreds of antique pieces were presented by a famous collector P. Shchukin. Another source of collections was expeditionary finds and acquisitions. In the Soviet age the collections of the State museum fund and closed down museums such as “Old Moscow”, Rumyantsev museum, Military-Historical museum, etc. were handed over to this museum.

By subject exposition of the museum is divided into six sections: History of the primitive community in the territory of Russia, History of the peoples of Russia from the year 1000 BC to 10th century AD.; Kievan state and the period of feudal fragmentation; Muscovy in 16th-17th centuries.; reforms of Peter I and the education of the Russian Empire, Russian Empire in the period of 1725-1762.

State Historical Museum has 7 branches. Each of them is a monument of ancient architecture and an independent museum of the age to which it belongs. Moscow Branches of the State History Museum are: St. Basil's Cathedral, the Museum of Boyar way of life in 17th century; Trinity Cathedral in Nikitniki; Novodevichy Monastery; royal manor of 16th-17th centuries in the village of Kolomna.

Outside Moscow: Alexander Sloboda (in Alexandrov, the Ivanovo region) and the Genoese fortress in of 14th century in Sudak, on the southern coast of Crimea.

© Russkiy Mir. 03 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:20 AM EDT
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Tsar Alexander II Monument in Sofia Removed for Restoration
Topic: Alexander II


The famous monument of Tsar Osvodboditel (Liberator King) in downtown Sofia will be temporarily removed from its location in front of the building of the Parliament to undergo full restoration.

The legs of the horse will be replaced with new bronze ones due to the many cracks.

The project is implemented by the Bulgarian Construction Chamber with financial assistance from the Pokolenie (Generation) Foundation.

The entire sculpture – the horse and rider, Tsar Alexander II, will be dismantle and sent to an atelier near the capital Sofia. Top Bulgarian and Russian restorers will be engaged for the works, along with a number of scientists. The sculpture will be cleaned from the patina while the foundation will be stabilized and also cleaned. The area around the monument will be renewed as well.

The cost of the project is estimated at BNG 1.1 M, but Russian experts say this amount will end up being by 40% larger.

The dismantling of the monument will happen at some point next week, most likely in the evening when there is less traffic in downtown Sofia. The restoration works will last about 2 months. During this time, pictures of the monument will surround the location.

The restored sculpture will be revealed on March 3 2012, which is Bulgaria's National Holiday, marking the gaining of its independence from Ottoman rule.

The Monument to the Tsar Liberator was erected in honor of Russian Emperor Alexander II who liberated Bulgaria of Ottoman rule during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.

The Neoclassical memorial's author is Italian sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi, who won the project in competition with 31 other artists from 12 countries in the end of the 19th century. Bulgarian architect Nikola Lazarov participated in the monument's architectural design.

The foundation stone was laid on 23 April 1901, St George's Day, in the presence of Knyaz Ferdinand I of Bulgaria, and the monument was completed on 15 September 1903.

Ferdinand also attended the monument's inauguration on 30 August 1907.

Erected of black polished granite from the nearby Vitosha Mountain, the monument consists of a pedestal, a middle part with figures and a massive Neo-Renaissance cornice finished with the sculpture of the Russian Tsar on a horse. The bronze wreath at the foot was donated by Romania in memory of the Romanian soldiers that died during the war.

The main bronze bas-relief in the middle part depicts a group of Russian and Bulgarian soldiers led by Nike, the Ancient Greek goddess of victory, who raises her sword high above. Portraits of Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaievich, Count Ignatiev and the generals Joseph Vladimirovich Gourko and Mikhail Skobelev surround the group.

Other bas-reliefs feature scenes from the Battle of Stara Zagora, the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano and the opening ceremony of the Constituent National Assembly in Veliko Tarnovo, as well as portraits of prominent Bulgarian figures from the period.

© Sofia News Agency. 03 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:09 AM EDT
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Saturday, 1 September 2012
Vintage Photo of Nicholas II No. 10
Topic: Nicholas II


The Imperial yacht Standart was always escorted by several vessels of the Russian Imperial Navy. It was customary during the inspection of these vessels that Tsar Nicholas II tasted the food from the crew's mess--an essential part of Russian military inspection proceedure. This photo dates from 1912.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 01 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:21 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 1 September 2012 2:28 PM EDT
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