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Wednesday, 10 October 2012
White Tower at Tsarskoye Selo Opens
Topic: Tsarskoye Selo

 

Guests arrive for the opening of the White Tower. Photo Credit: Pushkin.ru 

A ceremony marking the official opening of the White Tower too place at Tsarskoye Selo today. Situated near the Alexander Palace, it is the first pavilion in the Alexander Park to be restored.

Emperor Nicholas I ordered the construction of the White Tower between 1827-31 by the architect Adam Menalas. The emperor's sons used the tower to engage in military and gymnastic exercises.

The building was badly damaged during World War II, and fell into a terrible state of neglect and disrepair during the Soviet years, however, a decision was made to restore the tower in 1980. A further revival of the building was carried out in the 1990s in which retored many of the original elements of the facade, which included the balconies and terraces, decorative elements such as the sculptures of knights and lions. The original spiral staircase was replaced by a wooden staircase. The reconstruction of the White Tower was based on historic photographs in the archives of the Tsarskoye Selo Palace Museum.

The White Rower was a favourite spot for the children of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II to play, particularly during the long winter months. It was here that the children were seen sliding down the hills on tobaggons, often joined by their devoted father. These photographs have been preserved. 

Visitors can now view the restored interiors of the tower and climb the steps to an observation deck. The White Tower is the tallest pavilion in the park at nearly 38 meters (nearly 125 feet) in height, and offers commanding views of the Alexander and Catherine Parks, the nearby Feodorovsky Cathedral and the city of Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo).

For more information on the history and the restoration of the White Tower at Tsarskoye Selo, please refer to the following articles (including vintage photographs) @ Royal Russia;

||| The White Tower to be Restored at Tsarskoye Selo (January 1st, 2012) |||

||| Restoring Tsarskoye Selo (May 16th, 2012) |||

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 October, 2012


 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:33 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 14 October 2012 7:52 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Russian Historical Society Reborn as Registration Procedures Conclude
Topic: Russian History
 
Sergei Naryshkin, Chairman of the Russian Historical Society

Chairman of Russia’s State Duma and Chairman of the Russian Historical Society /RHS/ Sergei Naryshkin said the Society’s registration procedures are over and meeting is due before the yearend, ITAR-TASS reports. “We have just finalized the registration procedures,” he said. “The Russian Historical Society is restored both de-facto and de-jure.”
 
The agenda of the society is to establish an archive and a library. “I believe that an archive and a library should be important attributes of the society,” Naryshkin said.
 
He told reporters that the Russian Historical Society initiated and organised transfer to the museum of the Patriotic War of 1812 of two unique documents – Napoleon’s letters addressed to France’s military minister and dated 1812, where one of the letters was written on the day of the battle near Russia’s Smolensk city on August 5, 1812. The letters were given by Larisa Anisimova, who lives in Italy. The letter, Naryshkin said, would be the first items in the society’s archive.
 
Besides, the Society will form commissions and councils of RHS. They “will attract most interested professionals,” Naryshkin said. The Society receives suggestions on cooperation from companies, organisations and from individuals.
 
The Russian Historical Society is open for cooperation, and the question of new members would be considered by the Society’s meeting, which is “due before the yearend.”
 
Naryshkin noted that the year 2012 is full of historical dates and jubilees. “2012 is not over yet. The Russian Historical Society will participate in preparations and organization of a forum, a conference devoted to the Patriotic War of 1812,” he said. “2013 will also have many historical events and jubilees – they are the 1150th anniversary of Slavic alphabet – the holiday which unites all Slavic peoples; the 400th anniversary of the first Romanov tsar, and besides this date is connected with overcoming the civil revolt of the early 17th century. Besides, it is the 70th anniversary of the Kursk battle and the 20th birthday of the Russian Constitution and new parliament. The Russian Historical Society pays much attention to these events.”
 
Naryshkin said that following the registration, the Society will follow its main objective – to unite efforts of the society, the power, the civil community, and fans of history to form Russia’s new historical culture. “It may be done only on the basis of objective studies and promotion of the history, on keeping the national memories and the truth about our history.”

© Russkiy Mir. 09 October, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:50 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 9 October 2012 8:11 PM EDT
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Monday, 8 October 2012
Rare Tsarskoye Selo Book Presented to Putin
Topic: Antiques

 

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev presented President Vladimir Putin with a rare book to mark the Russian president's 60th birthday on October 7th.

The book, Tsarskoye Selo During the Reign of Empress Elizabeth was written by Alexander Benois, and published in 1910. No reprint of this book has been produced since.

In his book, Benois recreates the story behind the construction and development of Tsarskoye Selo during the and reign of the daughter of Peter the Great, who ruled Russia from 1741-1762.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 08 October, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:10 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 October 2012 10:21 AM EDT
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Alexander II Monument Abandoned Near Sofia?
Topic: Alexander II

 

The monument to Tsar Alexander II, considerd a symbolic landmark of the Bulgarian capital now sits abandoned in a village yard 

The Monument of Russian Tsar Alexander II, one of Bulgarian capital Sofia's main landmarks, has been abandoned in a village backyard, an oppositional party has alarmed.

Sculptor Velislav Minekov and art expert Lyudmil Veselinov, members of the newly formed Bulgaria for Citizens party, have revealed that the monument is currently located in a backyard in the village of Trebich near Sofia, with no restoration work being performed on it.

The monument that has been sitting in front of the Parliament in downtown Sofia was dismantled in September to undergo restoration.

According to Minekov, the monument has been completely abandoned and is now surrounded by "a complete mess."

"This is insulting and humiliating for the monument," he has declared, as cited by dnevnik.bg.

Minekov has argued that the monument could have been restored for two and a half days and for much less than for much less that the BGN 1.2 M announced by authorities, adding that he suspects a corruption deal.

According to the sculptor, the recent dismantlement of the monument has been triggered by investors who want to construct a parking lot beneath it.

Known as the Monument to the Tsar Liberator, it was designed by Italian sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi, and unveiled in 1907, since when it has been a landmark in Sofia.

It celebrates Alexander II, the Russian Tsar who led the 1877-78 war against the Ottoman Empire, which resulted in the liberation of Bulgaria.

© Sofia News Agency. 08 October, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:03 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 October 2012 10:08 AM EDT
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Sunday, 7 October 2012
Katalnaya Gorka at Oranienbaum
Topic: Oranienbaum

A panorama view of the Katalnaya Gorka pavilion and sliding hill at Oranienbaum 

The estate of Oranienbaum consists of a series of beautiful palaces and pleasure pavilions. Visitors to St. Petersburg today often overlook this magnificent  palace complex opting instead for its more grand and opulent neighbour at Peterhof.

One particular folly which has captured the imaginations of historians and visitors is the switchback or roller coaster of Emperor Catherine II at Katalnaya Gorka (Sliding Hill).

Created soley for the purpose as a setting for a day's amusement, the pleasure pavilion and adjoining sliding hill was a highly sophisticated version of the most popular of Russian sports, the 'Russian mountains', as they were called throughout Europe, with the name of 'ice hills' for the winter version.

The beautiful pavilion built by Rinaldi which resembles a wedding cake has survived 

Archdeacon Coxe, writing in 1784, brings us right to Katalnaya Gorka:

"In the gardens of Oranienbaum is a very extraordinary building, denominated the Mountain for Sledges . . . It stands in the middle of an olbong area, enclosed by an open colonnade with a flat roof, which is railed for the convenience of holding spectators. The circumference of this colonnade is at least half a mile. In the middle of the area stands the flying mountain, stretching nearly from one end to the other. It is a wooden building, supported upon high brick walls, representing . . .  a mountain composed of three principal ascents, gradually diminishing its height, with an intermediate space to resemble vallies: from top to bottom is a floored way, in which three parallel grooves are formed. It is thus used: a small carriage containing one person, being placed in the center groove upon the highest point, goes with great rapidity down one hill; the velocity which it acquires in its descent carries it up a second; and it continues to move in a similar manner until it arrives at the bottom of the area, where it rolls for a considerable way . . .  It is then placed in one of the side grooves, and drawn up by means of a cord fixed to a windass . . . At the top of the mountain are several handsome apartments for the accommodation of the court and principal nobility; and there is also room for many thousand spectators within the colonnade and upon its roof."

So, summer and winter, the court of the Empress Catherine II would amuse themselves for a few hours, return to the pavilion, take their refreshment and rest in its lovely rooms, and watch their friends from the terraces and balconies. But when the court no longer went to Oranienbaum, the 'flying mountain' fell into disrepair, was pronounced dangerous, and dismantled in the mid-19th century. The meadows that once housed the toboggan runs were cleared and planted with fir trees.

The only reminder of the sliding hill or switchback is this scale model, now housed in the Katalnaya Gorka Pavilion 

Today, visitors to Oranienbaum can still see the field where the empress's immense folly II once stood. The pavilion at the end of the meadow has survived and undergone a splendid restoration. Inside, a scale model of the sliding hill is the only reminder of Catherine the Great's roller coaster.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 October, 2012


 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 6:55 AM EDT
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Saturday, 6 October 2012
Yelagin Palace Hosts Stolypin Exhibit
Topic: Stolypin, Pyotr

 

The exhibition Hope of the Tsar dedicated to the 150th anniversary since the birth of the outstanding politician Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin (1862-1911)  has opened in the Konyushenny Building of the Yelagin Island Palace Museum.

Stolypin, a prominent statesman and great reformer of the Russian Empire, served as Prime Minister from 1906 to 1911.

 On September 14 [O.S. September 1] 1911, while he was attending a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale of Tsar Saltan at the Kiev Opera House in the presence of Tsar Nicholas II and his two eldest daughters, the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatian, Stolypin was shot twice, once in the arm and once in the chest, by Dmitri Bogrov (born Mordekhai Gershkovich), who was both a Jewish leftist radical.

Stolypin was reported to have coolly risen from his chair, removed his gloves and unbuttoned his jacket, exposing a blood-soaked waistcoat. He sank into his chair and shouted "I am happy to die for the Tsar" before motioning to the Tsar in his imperial box to withdraw to safety. The Tsar remained in his position and in one last theatrical gesture Stolypin blessed him with a sign of the cross. The next morning the distressed Tsar knelt at Stolypin's hospital bedside and repeated the words "Forgive me". Stolypin died four days later.

The exhibition is the final event in an extensive program of anniversary events and the largest project dedicated to this memorial date. The Yelagin Ostrov (Island) is one of the few memorial addresses of Pyotr Stolypin in St. Petersburg. In 1906 after an attempt on his life at Aptekarsky Island, that Stolypin and his family were transported here. 

The exhibit has been created on the basis of materials from over 15 to 20 archives and museums of the Russian Federation. Some documents and exhibits are displayed for the first time. 

State-of-the-art multimedia technologies, among them interactive ones, have been actively employed in the exhibition. One of the interactive exhibits is a model of Yelagin Island which helps allows visitors a better understanding of the history and its role during the period when Pyotr Stolypin and his family lived there. 

The exhibition runs till December 15.

© Iskusstvo TV and Paul Gilbert. 06 October, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:51 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2012 6:08 PM EDT
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Exhibition of 17th-20th Century Head-Dresses Opens in Tula
Topic: Exhibitions

 

Princess Zinaida Yusupova wearing a traditional Russian head-dress. Portrait by Konstantin Makovsky (1895) 

A new exhibition has been opened in the Antiquities Museum Exhibition Center at Tula.

The exhibition will acquaint visitors with the peculiarities of head-dresses during the 17th - early 20th centuries.

The kokoshnik is the more commonly used name for a variety of traditional Russian head-dresses worn by women and girls to accompany the sarafan. They  have always been considered a reflection of the epoch, the styles of which changed together with its laws, customs, and governors. 

Head-dresses were divided into daily and festive ones, the latter having a variety of ornaments and decorations. Festive head-dresses and headgears of the rich and privileged classes were often decorated with furs and jewels. 

All visitors of the exhibition will have a chance to learn about the history and rules of wearing head-dresses in Russia.

The exhibition runs till the beginning of April, 2013.

© Tula Foto and Paul Gilbert. 06 October, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:19 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2012 10:40 AM EDT
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Moscow Kremlin in 1812
Topic: Exhibitions

 

Photo credit: Moscow Kremlin Museums 

The exhibition The Kremlin in 1812: War and Peace that has been staged in the Moscow Kremlin’s Armoury – the treasure-house of Russian tsars – will run from October 4 through January 10.

This exhibition provides information about the efforts that were made to save the priceless exhibits during Napoleon’s invasion, when Moscow was surrendered to Napoleon’ troops.

The Armoury is the first public museum of Moscow. In 1806 Emperor Alexander I of Russia signed a decree to set up the Armoury to keep national treasures, including tsars’ regalia, historical relics, and sacred things there. The construction of the building on the Kremlin’s territory for this purpose was completed in 1812. Parallel with this, work was done to select the exhibits for the Armoury, Director of the Moscow Kremlin Museums Yelena Gagarina says.

"It required 6 years to create the inventories and to classify the monuments. When the came to move to the new building this was impossible to realize because information appeared that Napoleon was on his way to Moscow. It was necessary to immediately evacuate the treasures from the Kremlin’s territory."

It was exactly that dramatic page that marked the beginning of the history of the Russian Armoury. Packaging work started after it became known that the French troops had entered Smolensk, the key town on Russia’s western border. More than 150 carts and wagons were needed to take away both the exhibits and documents. When all of them reached Kolomna near Moscow, they were loaded on ships to be transported to Nizhny Novgorod in the Volga Region.

Meanwhile, fires started in Moscow that was surrendered to the French troops. Historians are still involved in the heated debates about who was to blame for the then fires: the Russians or the French. The exhibition in Moscow offers proof in favour of none of these versions… And still, among the items on display is the English watch that belonged to the adjutant of the Moscow governor – Lieutenant Obreskov. According to family legend, it gave a signal to numerous acts of arson in Moscow. The city was burned down to ashes but the Kremlin survived. However, serious damage was done to it because the French turned its palaces and churches into storehouses and stables. Napoleon received no response from Russia to his proposal for peace, but leaving Moscow he ordered the destruction of the Kremlin. Fortunately, his order was not carried out. Nearly one year passed before the collections of the Russian Armoury returned to Moscow, the exhibition’s curator Viktoriya Pavlenko says.

"After the French troops left Moscow, the Armoury’s new building that was built shortly before the war – by 1813 was restored, and the Armoury’s valuables returned to the Kremlin."

The conduct of the Russian troops that defeated Napoleon’s army and entered Paris was different compared with the conduct of the French troops in Moscow. On display at the exhibition is a weapon set that the Paris residents gave General von der Osten-Sacken as a present, who in 1814 was appointed the governor of Paris, as a sign of gratitude for nobility and quietness displayed by the Russian troops.

© The Voice of Russia. 06 October, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:48 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2012 9:54 AM EDT
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Monument to Nicholas II at Vladivostock
Topic: Nicholas II

 

A mounment to Emperor Nicholas II can be found in the city of Vladivostock, the port city located in Russia's Far East and home of the nation's Pacific Fleet.

The monument can be found at 52 Ulitsa Svetlanskaya, where the former home of the region's governor-general stood during tsarist times. It was here that Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich stayed during his visit to the city on May 19th, 1891 during his tour to Far East.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 06 October, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:17 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2012 8:33 AM EDT
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Friday, 5 October 2012
Romanov Legacy - 2013 Calendar NOW IN STOCK!
Topic: Books

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

Next year marks the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. Royal Russia will mark this historic event with a unique wall calendar celebrating the architectural jewels created by the Romanov dynasty.

Romanov Legacy, our 2013 calendar offers a rich selection of vintage photographs of more than a dozen palaces and residences of the Russian Imperial family, including their historical interiors. Each page is highlighted with interesting facts and information about a particular palace or residence.

Featured are a dozen palaces and residences of the Romanovs: the Winter Palace, Novo-Mikhailovsky Palace, Anitchkov Palace (St. Petersburg); the Lower Palace and Ropsha (Peterhof); Constantine Palace (Strelna); the Maly and Bolshoy Palaces (Livadia); Spala and Bialowieza (Poland); plus the palaces of Grand Dukes Alexis Alexandrovich, Nicholas Nicholayevich [St. Petersburg]; Grand Duke George Alexandrovich [Abbas-Tuman].

Please note that the entire proceeds from the sale of these calendars helps offset the growing costs of maintaining our web site and blog, translation costs and more.

The price is $10.00 CAD + postage. Multiple copy orders for gifts to friends and family: please request an invoice so that the correct shipping amount can be applied to your order. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 05 October, 2012


 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:33 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 October 2012 8:38 AM EDT
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