Topic: Royal Russia
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia
A rare snowfall blankets the Livadia Palace in the Crimea. The Russian Imperial family along with members of Russia's aristocratic and noble families favoured the region for its Mediterranean climate and stunning natural beauty. It was here that they built beautiful palaces and elegant mansions overlooking the Black Sea. When the Revolution swept across Russia, it was the isolation of the region that allowed many of them to escape the advancing Red Terror into exile.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 24 December, 2012
H.I.H. Grand Duke Georgii pays his respects at the coffin of King Zog I of Albania at Tirana on November 17th, 2012
H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke Georgii of Russia, at the behest of his most august mother, the Head of the Russian Imperial House, H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia, who was at that time on an official visit to Russia, attended the reburial of the remains of King Zog I of Albania in the capital city of Tirana. The King had been previously been buried in Paris. His Imperial Highness was accompanied by Cyrille Boulay, an advisor on international relations to the Head of Russian Imperial House.
The coffin bearing King Zog I’s body was placed in the Presidential Palace, where official, ambassadors, foreign guests, and ordinary citizens of Albania were afforded the opportunity to pay their last respects. Around noon, a procession on foot accompanying the King’s coffin set out from the Presidential Palace to the Royal Mausoleum, led by the grandson of the late King—the present Head of the Royal House of Albania, Prince Leka II, his fiancée Elia Zaharia, and several other members of the Albanian Royal Family. Among those in the procession were the Head of the Montenegrin Royal House, H.R.H. Prince Nicholas; H.I.H., the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke Georgii of Russia; the son-in-law of the King Michael of Romania, H.R.H. Prince Radu; and numerous foreign diplomats. The President of Albania, Bujar Nishani, and the President of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga, both spoke at the royal burial site. Afterward there was a memorial meal; and that evening, there was a formal reception in the Presidential Palace in memory of King Zog I.
King Zog I (1895-1961) ruled Albania from 1928. He had numerous accomplishments in the domestic and foreign policy of the young nation, but in 1939 was forced to flee his country because of the invasion of the Italian fascists. After the Second World War, a totalitarian, atheistic communist regime was established in Albania under Enver Hoxha, and in 1967 Albania was declared the “first fully atheistic country” in the world.
King Zog I died in Paris and was buried there. He was succeeded as King (in exile) by Leka I (1939-2011), his son from his marriage with Queen Geraldine (born the Hungarian Countess Géraldine Apponyi de Nagyappony). In 1976, King Leka I attended the marriage in Madrid of the parents of H.I.H. the Heir, Tsesarevich, and Grand Duke Georgii of Russia—H.I.H. Grand Duchess Maria of Russia and H.I.H. Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich (Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia). The present Head of the Royal House of Albania is the son of King Leka I and his wife, Queen Susan, H.R.H. Prince Leka II (born in 1982).
© Russian Imperial House. 23 December, 2012
A new documentary by Russian film maker Boris Liznov recalls the costume ball held in the Winter Palace in February 1903. The film is based on old photographs of members of the Imperial family and the Russian Court who attended the event in which guests dressed in luxurious costumes dating from the 17th-century court of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. It was to be the last grand ball before the fall of the monarchy in Russia in 1917.
Liznov has assembled more than 250 vintage images from various museums, and expertly assembled old photos of interiors of the Winter Palace as a backdrop. Narration of the ball is described in detail from the memoirs and letters of those who attended the historic ball.
Liznov further explores the reign of Nicholas II and the end of the dynasty that ruled Russia for more than 300 years. The film has already received 7 awards including Best Director and Best Cinematography.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 December, 2012
A monument to the Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich (1843-1865) has been unveiled in Nice, France.
The ceremony coincided with the 100th anniversary of Saint Nicholas Cathedral, consecrated in 1912 in memory of Emperor Alexander II's son who died at Nice on 24th April, 1865.
The monument was installed next to the cathedral, and consecrated by Metropolitan of Ryazan. The church choir sang hymns proclaiming the eternal memory of the Tsearevich Nicholas Alexandrovich.
The city of Nice has long honoured Nicholas Alexandrovich's memory: three years after his death, the Villa Bermond (where he died) was demolished to make way for a memorial chapel, and the adjacent street was renamed Boulevard Tsarevich. In 1896, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and her son, Emperor Nicholas II organized the construction of a new cathedral, which was completed in 1912. The construction of the cathedral was financed from the private purse of the last tsar. To date, Saint Nicholas Cathedral is the largest Russian Orthodox church in Europe.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 December, 2012
Khvalevskoye, former estate of Nikolai Kachalov
The Russian culture minister Vladimir Medinsky has begun a campaign to auction pre-revolutionary estates and mansions to save them from potential ruin. He said that architectural monuments in the worst condition would be a priority and would be offered for long-term rent or even sale to those who can demonstrate that they are committed to restoration.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia rejected the idea of property restitution to descendants of the noble families and wealthy merchants who owned such homes before the Bolshevik Revolution.
Medinsky said that the government had failed to follow through on previous plans to manage the properties and that the situation had reached a crisis point.
“There are 150,000 [architectural] monuments in the country,” said the minister according to the RIA Novosti state news agency. “Some of them are in private hands, a majority are in state hands and even more are in a state of ruin. About ten years ago there were instructions to hand over about 2,500 monuments to the monuments administration agency. [But] the government’s instruction was not carried out. Two hundred and forty-one monuments were handed over. The monuments are in [a] horrific condition.”
Medinsky said that the ministry had already proposed that Rosimushchestvo, the state property agency, auction the right to rent those sites that are in good condition at market rates, on the condition that they are properly maintained. Sites that are in a ruined state would be leased at a peppercorn rate. Olga Dergunova, Russia’s deputy economic development minister and the head of Rosimushchestvo, said firm plans were yet to be put in place, however.
Many of Russia’s historic properties were allowed to crumble in the post-Soviet bureaucracy of the 1990s and 2000s to make way for more lucrative residential and commercial buildings.
The city of Moscow is now actively employing the new scheme to auction monuments, which has already resulted in some positive examples of restoration. But in the regions the situation is more complicated for preservationists and potentially easier for those who want to purchase outright a monument.
Yevgeny Sosedov, the deputy chairman of the Moscow region branch of the All-Russian Society for the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments, is leading activists in a fight to save Arkhangelskoye, the Yusupov family estate, famous for its palace, grounds and art collection. Since the 1990s, a state museum has shared the grounds with the ministry of defence, which runs a convalescent hospital there. It is ironic, Sosedov said, that estates that survived the Revolution have suffered greater damage in the post-Soviet era because in Soviet times they were, at least, in use as pioneer camps, sanatoriums or collective farms. Local officials, he said, are not interested in dealing with the smalls sums of money needed to conserve estates that have fallen into ruin. “Everyone is waiting for big money,” he said.
Some of the descendants of the pre-revolutionary elite have bought back family properties. Yury Voicehovsky-Kachaloff and his wife, Vera, spent around $100,000 to buy the remains of the mansion and grounds of Khvalevskoye, an estate in the Vologda region, which was used as a government office and school in the Soviet era. Vera Voicehovsky-Kachaloff is a descendant of Nikolai Kachalov, an official who was close to the future Tsar Alexander III. The family rediscovered the estate after being sought out and invited to the local village’s anniversary celebration in 2006. The cost at auction was high, said her husband, because a local hunting organisation was eager to purchase the territory to develop as a hunting grounds.
It cost the Voicehovsky-Kachaloffs around ten times more to restore the mansion. Financiers now based in Moscow who spent ten years living in London, they were inspired by the UK's National Trust. They plan turn the mansion into a local museum, cultural centre, Sunday school, a base for their family gatherings, and possibly as a small hotel for those interested in the culture and lifestyle of pre-revolutionary estates.
© The Art Newspaper and RIA Novosti. 22 December, 2012
Kremlin visitors will see the restored Kutafya Tower, which is almost 500 years old. After the completion of the year-long renovation work, the passage through the tower to the Kremlin will be opened, ITAR-TASS reports.
The site, one of the main entrances to the Kremlin, was renovated "at repeated requests" of visitors, the chief Kremlin manager's press secretary Viktor Khrekov told ITAR-TASS. Visitors complained that they had to wait sometimes for hours in any weather to pass through checkpoints to go on an excursion or for a Kremlin Palace concert. Now, it will take less time and will be more comfortable, Khrekov assured.
The major repair with the modernization of the checkpoint at the Kutafya Tower was carried out by the Kremlin management and the Federal Guard Service. Before the repair, seven check points were opened to enter the Moscow Kremlin. There are 16 now, and all are in buildings with heating, ventilation and other appropriate systems.
According to specialists, up to 6,000 people can pass through the new check points in an hour and a half, for example to go to the State Kremlin Palace. The Federal Guard Service says that the examination procedure is improved. There is everything necessary for people with disabilities for comfortable visits to the Kremlin, Khrekov noted.
The Kutafya Tower was built by Milan architect Aleviz (Aliosio) Fryazin in 1516. Its height is 13.5 m at present. It was surrounded by a ditch and the Neglinka River with one gate, which was closed tightly with a drawbridge. The tower prevented intruders from entering. In 1685, the tower was decorated with the white stone openwork "crown".
© Russkiy Mir. 21 December, 2012
The State Pushkin Museum in Moscow will host the exhibition Behind the Curtain. The new exhibit will feature residential and ceremonial interiors described in Russian literature of the 19th-early 20th century.
In several rooms of the mezzanine will feature interiors of bedrooms and living rooms, workshops and offices from the literary heroes of Alexander Pushkin and Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Goncharova and Ivan Turgenev, Feodor Sologub and Lev Tolstoy.
Thanks to original pieces from the Tsarist period, furniture, bronze, porcelain, costume and fine attributes of daily life of late 19th - early 20th century Imperial Russia is recreated. The historic displays will portray the attitude, character, habits and hobbies of the respective literary hero.
In addition to large pieces of furniture will be presented some interesting accessories that reveal the private, intimate life of a person "behind the screen" that accompany the hero in moments of passion and peace, profound experiences or solitary reflection.
Screens can become a kind of window into the world of literature, experience the unique atmosphere of bygone centuries.
In addition to the museum's collection will be exhibited objects from the galleries, Three Centuries and Russian Estate, as well as the company de Gournay and the private collections of A.A. Vasilyev and A.L. Kusakina.
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 20 December, 2012
December 19th marked the 100th anniversary of the consecration of the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Nice. A special ceremony was held on this occasion, Voice of Russia reports. Russia is to fund a project to renovate the cathedral, Kremlin property manager Vladimir Kozhin announced at the ceremony. Construction work on the project is scheduled to start in 2013.
Built under the personal supervision by Emperor Nicholas II, the St. Nicholas Cathedral is one of the biggest Orthodox churches in Western Europe. It attracts a quarter million worshipers and sightseers each year.
From 1931 until December 15, 2011, the parish that occupied the cathedral was part of the Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe under the jurisdiction of the Church of Constantinople.
From 2005 till December 2011, there was a protracted ownership and church jurisdictional dispute over the church building as well as control over the parish, between the existing administration of the Exarchate and the Russian government.
The Russian state, which in 2010 was recognized by the French court as the title-holder as the legal successor of the Russian Empire, made a decision in 2011 to turn the church building over to the Moscow Patriarchate. The dispute partly stemmed from a conflict between old Russian nobility who settled in Nice long ago and Russians who arrived in recent decades.
© Voice of Russia. 20 December, 2012
Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg has got its first bell to interrupt the silence which had lasted for about 80 years. Under the Soviet government, the building was stripped of religious trappings. In 1931 it was used as a museum of atheism.
The first bell, cast in bronze and tin, weighs nearly 10 tons.
Ten more bells are still to be delivered from a bell-casting factory in Voronezh in 2013.
The bell will ring at midday, together with a cannon shot from the Naryshkin Bastion at the Peter and Paul Fortress. It will be sanctified Friday at a ceremony presided by Markell, Bishop of Peterhof.
© Voice of Russia. 20 December, 2012