Catherine the Great's Hunting Rifle on Exhibit Topic: Catherine II
Photo Credit: Cody Firearms Museum
The Cody Firearms Museum in Cody, Wyoming unveiled its display of 64 unique pieces this week, on loan from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
The unusual firearms include a .50-caliber hunting rifle by a Russian gun maker named Permajakov dating from the 1700s for Empress Catherine the Great. The rifle is inlaid with her name and Russian symbols and also incorporating a green velvet cheek piece on the rifle’s stock ensuring her comfort while shooting. Additionally, a gold inlaid image of Catherine herself is on the barrel near the breech.
Russian Craftsmen to Recreate Parts of Lost Amber Room Topic: Amber Room
A colour autochrome of the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace taken before the Second World War
Russian craftsmen in the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad are to recreate parts of the legendary Amber Room, a Tsarist-era antiquity which was looted by German forces at the end of World War II.
The restoration plan by the regional government of Kaliningrad, the Russian Baltic exclave with the world's largest known amber deposits, is part of a campaign to stop illegal mining in amber-rich areas near the Baltic coast.
Experts estimate that 60-100 tons of amber is mined illegally every year in the Kaliningrad Region, which is believed to hold more than 90 percent of the world's total known amber reserves and is home to the world’s only strip-mined natural amber deposit.
King Frederick I invited German craftsmen to decorate the main hall of his palace with amber panels shortly after his accession to the Prussian throne in 1701. But after the king’s death in 1713, his son Frederick Wilhelm I put an end to the expensive work, and put the amber panels on the walls of a small room of the Large Royal Palace in Berlin.
Three years later, he gave the panels as a present to Russia's Tsar Peter I, who stored them in the Winter Palace at St. Petersburg. It was only in 1743 that Empress Elizaveta Petrovna decided to use the amber panels to decorate one of her main chambers in the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo.
The original decorations were enlarged and were eventually turned into the legendary Amber Room, often referred to as the "eighth wonder of the world."
The decorations were looted during World War II by Nazi German forces, and taken to Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad) where they were lost in the fierce fighting and air raids there at the end of the war in 1945. Only two small parts of the room's decoration were eventually rediscovered and returned to Russia.
According to the region’s Culture Minister Svetlana Kondratyeva, the recreated room will be installed in the 1899 building of the Konigsberg State Amber Factory following its renovation, which will then be transferred to the city’s Museum of Amber.
Museum visitors will be able to watch the craftsmen at work replicating the room through a glass pane.
Monument to Nicholas & Alexandra Unveiled at St. Petersburg Topic: Nicholas II
A monument to Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna was unveiled yesterday in the courtyard of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, St. Petersburg. The church is situated along the Obvodny Canal near the Warsaw Railway Station.
This is the first monument dedicated to the Imperial couple and the second monument to the last Russian Empress in Russia, the other can be found at Ganina Yama, near Ekaterinburg.
The unveiling of the monument marks the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty and the 120th anniversary of the wedding of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, who were married in 1894. The construction of the monument was paid for by donations raised by members of the church.
Beautiful Orthodox Churches of Russia No. 11 Topic: Beautiful Orthodox Churches
The Church of St. John the Baptist at Chesme Palace is located in the far south area of St. Petersburg. Considered by some to be St Petersburg's single most impressive church, it was built under Catherine the Great as the house church for the Chesme Palace, a resting post between St. Petersburg and the Summer Palace in Tsarskoye Selo.
The church was designed by the German-Russian court architect Yury Felton. It was consecrated in 1780, on the tenth anniversary of Russia's naval victory over the Turkish fleet at Chesme Bay, which occurred on the birthday of John the Baptist, hence the church's name. At one point, the church was also in the possession of the knights of the Order of St. George when it was given the third name, "St. George’s Church."
In 1916 the body of Grigorii Rasputin rested in the Chesme Church before his burial at Tsarskoye Selo.
A wedding-cake structure with striped crenellated walls and five gothic turrets in place of traditional onion domes, this truly unique church has survived almost fully intact to this day, despite the fact that it was turned, along with the Chesme Palace, into part of a forced labour camp by the Soviet government - the cross on the central turret was replaced with a hammer, tongs and anvil to symbolize the toil of the proletariat.In 1923, the church was closed and used as a storehouse. Just before the Second World War, the complex was given over to the Institute of Aviation Technology, which still occupies the nearby palace to this day.
During 1970–75, the church was fully restored under the supervision of the architects M.I. Tolstov and A.P. Kulikov. In 1977, the church became a museum of the Battle of Chesme, with artifacts from the Central Naval Museum.The building was eventually returned to the Orthodox Church in 1990. The interior, which originally had Italian icons, was destroyed in a fire in 1930. However, it was restored when the church was refurbished. Inside the church, there are many iconic paintings and one particular painting of interest is that of Christ’s arrival in Nazareth. When it was a naval museum, there was a vivid painting, in rich colours, depicting the sea battle and Russian victory over the Turks, in place of the “Christ the Saviour in the iconostasis-less altar apse”. Sadly, nothing remains of the original interiors.
Today, the church is extremely popular with local worshippers. Regular services are held, and numerous visitors come to pay their respects to the war dead. It is interesting to note that the church has been used as a burial site for war heroes almost since its consecration, and the area around the church became a graveyard for soldiers who died during the Siege of Leningrad (1941-43).
Nicholas & Alexandra Monument to be Unveiled in St. Petersburg Topic: 400th Anniversary
Final preparations are being made today for the unveiling of a new monument to Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in St. Petersburg tomorrow. The unveiling ceremony of the monument will take place in the courtyard of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ on Sunday, May 12th at 13:00. The church is situated along the Obvodny Canal near the Warsaw Railway Station.
The statue of Nicholas and Alexandra is carefully lifted into place on top of its pedestal in the courtyard of the church.
The unveiling of the monument marks the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty and the 120th anniversary of the wedding of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, who were married in 1894. It is important to note that this is only the second monument to the last Russian empress, the other being at Ganina Yama. The construction of the monument was paid for by donations raised by members of the church.
Russian National Library Launches Romanov Database Online Topic: 400th Anniversary
In honour of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, the Russian National Library has launched a comprehensive online database on the House of Romanov. Note: this database is only available in Russian.
The House of Romanov 1613-1917 offers the most up-to-date online database consisting of genealogical information, references, online resources, and links to specific articles and other web site specializing in the study of the Romanov dynasty.
The personal pages of this online handbook include the names and titles of each member of the Imperial family dating from 1613-1917. Genealogical information includes date of birth and death, place of birth, death and burial. Russian monarchs also include dates of accession to the throne and coronation. All dates are noted in the Old (Julian) and New (Gregorian) style calendars. Family information: names of parents, spouses and children. Also included are references to military and civil service, as well as any changes in title. Each member of the Romanov family is highlighted with a photograph or image.
The personal bibliography includes major monographic research and publication sources, and the latest articles published in journals, etc. Such publications which offer electronic versions are supplied with a link.
The electronic resources section provides links to web sites, forums and articles available in the electronic media. I am pleased to note that Royal Russia is included in this section of the database, and one of the few foreign sources cited.
Rare Nicholas II Photo Album Found in Ural Museum Topic: Nicholas II
A photograph album which once belonged to Emperor Nicholas II has been discovered in the vaults of the Municipal Regional Studies Museum (founded in 1825) in the Ural city of Zlatoust, which is situated about 300 kilometres from Ekaterinburg.
The grey calico album was discovered in an old cigar box in the vault of the museum storage rooms. The 210 photographs dated from 1913-1916 show the family of Nicholas II during happier times. Many of the photographs have never been published before and are perfectly preserved.
The album was placed in the museum in the 1930s. Fearing for the safety of the historic images, museum staff carefully hid the rare album in the vaults, only a few people knew of its existence. Russians were forbidden to discuss the former Imperial family during the Soviet years, particularly the Stalinist era when Joseph Stalin ordered the Romanov archives to be sealed.
So how did the photo album end up in this remote town? According to the director of the museum, Nadezhda Pridhodko, there are two theories. One, the album was removed from the Ipatiev House by “Comrade Chevardin,” who served as the Director of the Museum of the Revolution in Ekaterinburg. In 1933 he was transferred to Zlatoust and brought the album with him to save it from destruction. According to the second version, the album was removed from the Ipatiev House by Dmitry Mikhailovich Chudinov (nicknamed Kassian), a revolutionary who escorted the Imperial family from Tobolsk to Ekaterinburg. He lived in Zlatoust, and after the murder of the Imperial family, he is believed to have stolen some of their personal possessions, including this photograph album.
For more information on this discovery, and to review 10 of the more than 200 photos from the album, please refer to the following article in Royal Russia News;
Gala Receptions at the Country Summer Residence: Culture and Traditions of Table Setting Topic: Exhibitions
At Nikolay Durasov’s Palace in Lyublino, one of the Moscow State Integrated Museum-Reserve sites, one can attend a new exhibition entitled ‘Gala Receptions at the Country Summer Residence: Culture and Traditions of Table Setting’.
Over 150 rare museum exhibits, many of which are displayed for the first time, include unique objects of dinner ceremonies made of glass and porcelain as well as painting and graphics.
One of these unique objects is a wine fountain of the XVIII century, a special reservoir for various beverages that made part of Count Nikolay Sheremetev’s gala table setting. The main exhibit is a table service known as ‘cream colour’ (called as well ‘royal sets’) that includes 120 pieces. Services of this kind were typical at the times of Catherine the Great’s reign. For the first time visitors will see unique girandoles, big decorated porcelain and cut-glass candelabra that were made by Russian masters in the XVIII century and now make part of the museum stock.
Besides porcelain one can see cut-glass ‘royal’ tableware fromBohemiasuch as splendid wine sets, decanters, glasses, flutes, and other glassware as well as bottles and various gravy boats.
Gala receptions at the end of the XVIII — the beginning of the XIX centuries embraced Russian as well as European traditions. On the one hand, estate owners competed in providing meal abundance, but on the other hand, table setting turned into demonstration of complicated dishes and decorative and applied art objects. Even art masters were hired for table decorating.
The place for the ‘Gala Receptions at the Country Summer Residence: Culture and Traditions of Table Setting’ exhibition was not chosen by chance: Nikolay Durasov was a well-known Moscow rich man and gourmet and his summer residence in Lyublino was used for receptions, various amusements and luxurious dinner parties that never ceased to amaze his guests.
The exhibition is a joint project of the Moscow State Integrated Museum-Reserve and the Ostankino Moscow Museum-Estate. It immerses the visitors into the golden century of the Russian nobility and permits to feel the unique character of table setting at gala receptions in the country residence.
The exhibition runs until June 30th in the Durasov Palace at Lyublino, situated near Moscow.
Vintage Photo of Nicholas II No. 14 Topic: Nicholas II
Emperor Nicholas II and Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholayevich (1856-1929), who served as Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Imperial Army on the main front in the first year of the war, reviewing the Life-Guards 3rd Rifle Regiment at Tsarskoye Selo in 1914.