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Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Next Stage of Restoration of the Alexander Palace Allocated 200 Million Rubles
Topic: Alexander Palace


The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation have announced that it has allocated a further 200 million rubles for the continued restoration and reconstruction of the Alexander Palace - the former residence of Russian emperors, where Nicholas II was born in 1868. According to the tender documentation issued on Monday, funds will be used to carry out the second stage of work at the palace, with the work to be completed within five months.

The press service of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve told ITAR-TASS that it is committed to a full completion of the restoration of the ground floor of the building which begun in 2011.
 
The restoration of the West wing of the palace is also currently underway (see photos below). This section of the palace is in extremely poor condition, including broken plaster, wall decorations and ceilings, dilapidated attic floor and all engineering systems. The last restoration of this section of the palace was carried out by the Soviets in the 1970s. Contractors must perform the repair, restoration, conservation and reconstruction of the original form of the building, which includes most of the elements of the Alexander Palace. Restoration work will be carried out by the Petersburg Committee on Monuments (KGIOP).
 


Work has begun on the west wing of the Alexander Palace. These photos were taken during my visit to Tsarskoye Selo on June 7th, 2014.
Photos © Paul Gilbert
 
Once complete, the newly renovated rooms of the west wing will be used for temporary exhibitions, offices and a conference room. The basement will be renovated and equipped with facilities for receiving groups. The main exhibition will be located in the eastern wing and central parts of the palace. In the next few years, the private quarters of Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra will be recreated in the eastern wing, including the Maple, Pallisander and Mauve rooms. Restoration of the Alexander Palace is now scheduled to be completed by 2018. Funds allocated for its restoration by the federal program Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.

The first restoration works were carried out in the palace in 1996 with a grant of the World Monuments Fund (WMF). The following year the exhibition Reminiscences in the Alexander Palace opened in the east wing, which include many personal items of the last emperor and his family from the collections of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum. Royal Russia was one of the first groups from the West to visit the Alexander Palace, only days after its opening to the public in August 1997. In 2010, three ceremonial halls in the central part of the palace - Portrait, Semi-circular and Marble - were opened.

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For more information the Alexander Palace, its history and restoration, please refer to our directory situated on the left of this page. Click on the Alexander Palace, where you will find more than 30 articles, plus 7 videos and dozens of historic and contemporary photographs. Note: each page of our blog holds 10 articles. Click on the Older link located in the bottom left hand side of each page to review more articles and videos on the Alexander Palace.
 


For the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on the restoration of the Alexander Palace, please refer to my article published in Royal Russia Annual No 3: 

My Russia: The Rebirth of the Alexander Palace

 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 08 July, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:06 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 July 2014 8:40 AM EDT
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Saturday, 14 June 2014
The Mists of History: The Alexander Palace
Topic: Alexander Palace


Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the June 15th, 2014 edition of the New Zealand Herald. The author Linda Herrick owns the copyright presented below.
 
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The last home to Russia's doomed royal family, and the haunt of 'mad mystic' Rasputin, the Alexander Palace has been trashed over the past century. Now an Aucklander is part of an international group helping to restore it as a world-heritage museum, writes Linda Herrick. Click on the link to read the full article:

The Mists of History: The Alexander Palace 

© Linda Herrick / New Zealand Herald. 14 June, 2014


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:25 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 16 June 2014 9:09 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 10 June 2014
Lilac Day Becomes a Tradition at the Alexander Palace
Topic: Alexander Palace
 
On 7 June 2014, Tsarskoye Selo marked its 2nd annual Lilac Day.

Lilac historically occupies a special place in the parks of Tsarskoye Selo. The event is timed to coincide with the birthday of Alexandra Feodorovna, the spouse of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II. Her favourite boudoir and sitting rooms at the Alexander Palace were always filled with bouquets of blooming lilacs. On her birthday on June 6, the scent of lilac will fill the palace halls yet again.

Like last year, the event was organized by the museum together with the National Association for the Revival of Historic Gardens and Parks and the International Lilac Society (ILS). The successful start in 2013 has made the event a tradition, with the Alexander Palace being its principal venue.

The events at the Alexander Palace started at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 7th, and included the following:

- Presentation of the book of memoirs by Charles Sydney Gibbes, "Mentor. Tutor to Tsesarevich Alexei Romanov: diaries and memories".
 
- “Lilac lectures” by known specialists in the field: The lilac passion of the owners of Tsarskoye Selo; Lilac at the Experimental Seed Control Station in Pushkin town; Major farming techniques for growing lilac.
 
- Presentation of photographs of the kinds of lilacs from the collection of Tsarskoye Selo.
 
- Workshop on cutting lilacs (near the White Tower).
 
- Planting of historical kinds of lilac near the main entrance to the Alexander Palace.

Tickets were available at the Alexander Palace ticket offices (adults - Rub 300, students and children – Rub 150).

A lilac (mauve) dress code is welcome.
 
For more information on the history of lilacs at Tsarskoye Selo, please refer to the following article: 

The Lilacs of Tsarskoye Selo by Ekaterina Eparinova 

© Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 03 June, 2014
 

 
 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:08 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 June 2014 6:12 AM EDT
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Friday, 4 April 2014
Alexander Palace Prepares for Phase II of Restoration
Topic: Alexander Palace


The Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo
 
A request for tenders has been issued for Phase 2 of the restoration and reconstruction of the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo in Pushkin. The starting price of the competition is estimated at 41.4 million Rubles. Details are published on a portal of the state order: Customer - FGBUK “State Art and Architectural Palace and Park Museum-Preserve Tsarskoye Selo”. Applications may be submitted until April 23, to be considered and evaluated on April 28.  

The restoration and reconstruction work will involve the technical re-equipment of the building, and elements of restoration and adaptation for museum use. Wall and ceiling lamps, layers of contaminated plaster layer have caused excessive damage. Many other features of the palace are in poor condition, including engineering networks, which were last renovated in the 1970s and require complete reconstruction.

In 2011, work began on the reconstruction, restoration and adaptation of the basement of the building by LLC Architectural Studio 44. The new Alexander Palace Museum is now scheduled to open in 2018. It is estimated that the cost of the restoration work will be 2.2 billion Rubles.
 
For more information the Alexander Palace, its history and restoration, please refer to our directory situated on the left of this page. Click on the Alexander Palace, where you will find nearly 30 articles, plus 6 videos and dozens of historic and contemporary photographs. Note: each page of our blog holds 10 articles. Click on the Older link located in the bottom left hand side of each page to review more articles and videos on the Alexander Palace.
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 04 April, 2014 
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:26 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 4 April 2014 9:12 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 18 February 2014
Former Imperial Furniture Factory in St. Petersburg Demolished
Topic: Alexander Palace
 
The former factory of F. Meltzer & Co., situated on the corner of  Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt and Karpovka Embankment has been demolished
 
Another piece of St. Petersburg’s Imperial past is no more. The building which housed the famed Meltzer furniture factory up until 1918 was demolished on February 6th.

One of the biggest names in the history of Russian furniture - F. Meltzer & Co, was founded in the 1860s by Johann Friedrich Meltzer. Once established, the firm was quickly appointed a supplier to the Russian Imperial Court, producing furniture for numerous Imperial residences, including the Winter Palace at St. Petersburg, the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, the Farm Palace at Peterhof, as well as exclusive pieces for the palaces and mansions of Russia’s aristocracy. 

In 1880, the original factory was situated on Bolshoi Konushennoi ulitsa 17, and later moved to larger premises on the corner of  Kamennoostrovsky Prospekt and Karpovka Embankment. The new factory was built by the architect Vasily Schaub (1861-1934), it was his first project in St. Petersburg. At the turn of the century the Meltzer’s employed 400 people.
 

The Meltzer factory closed in 1918. During the First World War the factory manufactured propellers, devices, telephone and telegraph communication. During the Soviet years, the factory produced furniture for hospitals,  banks and offices. 

The destruction of the historic building has outraged preservation groups in the city who claim that the demolition was illegal. Lawyers representing the groups have filed complaints with local and regional government administrations. Developers plan to construct luxury residences on the vacant land. It is interesting to note that according to the Fontanka.ru, one of the developers, Studio 44, who plan to invest 3 billion rubles in new projects on the site, are also the same firm currently carrying out the restoration of the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. 

Today, original pieces of Meltzer’s work can be seen on display in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo.
 
For more information on F. Meltzer & Co., please refer to the following article;

F. Meltzer & CO. - Furniture Purveyor to the Russian Imperial Court 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 February, 2014


 


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:39 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 18 February 2014 6:46 AM EST
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Saturday, 18 January 2014
Restoration Work at the Alexander Palace Yields Hidden Secrets
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 29 seconds
Topic: Alexander Palace
 
Workers carrying out restoration work in the basement of the Alexander Palace made several startling discoveries last week. After removing the brick walls, workers couldn’t believe their eyes: two secret passageways were sealed into the wall for more than half a century. Inside, they revealed two staircases, one completely preserved, and a small restroom.

Built in the 19th century, the area had been cemented over in the 20th century. It is known that many of the palace’s historic interiors were lost during the building's reconstruction after World War II, and that further alterations had been made during the years in which the Soviet navy occupied the former Imperial palace.
 


A well preserved staircase was discovered, the wooden railing had not even rotted. A second staircase made of wood was also discovered leading up to the former Valet’s Room, which formed part of Tsar Nicholas II’s private apartments housed in the east wing of the palace. Museum staff believe that the door was sealed with concrete during the postwar restoration of the palace. Then, a small restroom containing a toilet and decorated with 100-year-old Metlaskoy tiles was discovered. Museum staff believe that the restroom might have been used by Nicholas II, however, it is more likely that it was used by palace staff. 

Also located in the basement of the Alexander Palace is an underground passage, believed to be a servants' tunnel connecting the Kitchen Building with the palace. It was constructed in the 19th century by the Italian architect Silvio Amvrosievich Danini (1867-1942). He lived in St. Petersburg from 1886, graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in 1892. From 1896, he was the architect of the palace administration of Tsarskoe Selo. During the 1900s, Danini decorated a number of interiors of the Alexander Palace. After World War II, the tunnels were sealed with concrete. Workers note that the underground passage connecting the Alexander Palace and Kitchen Building has been preserved in excellent condition. 

The Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve must now decide what to do with a secret staircase - preserve or restore it, providing access to Nicholas II private apartments. They must also determine the fate and possible use of the tunnel, providing access to visitors or restricting its use for administrative purposes only. 
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 January, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:37 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 18 January 2014 2:41 PM EST
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Tuesday, 14 January 2014
Restoration of the Alexander Palace Temporarily Suspended
Topic: Alexander Palace


"The restoration of the Alexander Palace - an architectural masterpiece and beloved home to the last Russian Emperor - is our long-cherished dream. However, for us it is crucial that the main event next year - the opening of the Museum of the First World War, which requires a lot of effort and resources must take presidence. As a result, work at the Alexander Palace has been temporarily suspended" - said Olga Taratynova, the director of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve.

The new Alexander Palace Museum is now scheduled to open in 2018. It is estimated that the cost of the restoration work will be 2.2 billion Rubles.
 
For more information on the restoration of the Alexander Palace, please refer to the following article;

The Revival of the Alexander Palace - with Photographs 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 January, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:29 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 14 January 2014 4:41 PM EST
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Saturday, 16 March 2013
My Russia: The Rebirth of the Alexander Palace
Topic: Alexander Palace

 

Two rows of freshly painted Corinthian columns cut across the central colonnade connecting the east and west wings of the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. Photograph © Paul Gilbert (2012)

My first visit to the Alexander Palace was on September 5th, 1997. I have returned every year to discover new aquisitions, speak with the curators and staff, and to soak up the ambiance of this historic residence, its adjoining park and numerous pavilions. In the past few years my interest has been piqued even further with interesting new exhibitions and the initiation of long awaited restoration work on the palace.

After the departure of the Russian navy in 2009 the palace was officially handed over to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum-Preserve. The palace's new custodians wasted no time implenting their plans to convert the neglected monument into a multi-use museum and exhibition complex. They restored the 3 State Rooms in six months, and turned the former children's rooms of Tsar Nicholas II into exhibition rooms. This was only the beginning!

My Russia is a series of articles which I write for Royal Russia, a unique publication that celebrates the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia in words and photographs. In the current issue I write about the history of the Alexander Palace as a museum since 1917, including restorations since World War II. Further, I provide details on the restorations which will continue through to 2018. I also offer a two-page study of the Restoration of the Alexander Palace Master Plan by Studio 44, the architectural studio in charge of the restoration of the Alexander Palace.

My Russia: The Rebirth of the Alexander Palace appears in Royal Russia Annual No. 3 (2013). The article is 11 pages in length and illustrated with numerous black and white photographs which I took myself during my visit to the Alexander Palace last summer. It is one of nine articles on the Romanovs, monarchy and Imperial Russia that appear in this issue.

The Alexander Palace captures the interest and imagination of Russophiles and Romanovphiles around the world. My article is the most current and up-to-date on the restoration and future of the last residence of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

||| Click Here to Order Your Copy of Royal Russia No. 3 (2013) |||

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 16 March, 2013



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:14 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 17 March 2013 6:36 AM EDT
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Thursday, 17 January 2013
The Alexander Palace - A New Documentary
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 27 minutes, 42 seconds
Topic: Alexander Palace

Note: please allow 15 seconds for the video to begin 

The Russian Travel Guide in association with the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve have produced a new documentary on the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. The 27 minute documentary was filmed in the autumn of 2012, it is directed by Evgeny Belov and hosted/narrated in Russian by Eugenia Altfeld. 

The Alexander Palace was the beloved home of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. It was here that the last tsar was born in 1868, and it was from here that he was sent into exile and murdered along with his family and faithful retainers  at Ekaterinburg on July 17th, 1918.

The first part of the documentary explores the Alexander Park, its buildings and pavilions, including: Armoury, Chinese Village, White Tower, Children's Island, and Equine Cemetary.

The second part explores some of the historical interiors of the Alexander Palace which are currently open to the public, including the recently restored State Rooms.

This video is only available in Russian. If you do not understand Russian, do not allow that to deter you from watching and enjoying this stunning visual tour of the Alexander Palace and park.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 January, 2013


  


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:05 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 17 January 2013 8:17 AM EST
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Wednesday, 29 August 2012
Rare Book Returned to the Alexander Palace
Topic: Alexander Palace

 

Four millennia of universal history in four charts; for use at colleges and for history devotees, with a brief history of the Enlightenment by V.V.I. Schmidt – a St Petersburg-published book of 1823 which title page still bears the Tsarkskoye Selo Imperial Library stamp – has returned to the Alexander Palace reserve collection after the book left it over eighty years ago.

The book came back as a gift from Captain Peter Sarandinaki, the President and founder of the group called S.E.A.R.C.H. Foundation, Inc. with a mission to search for and recover the remains of two Romanov children. Mr Sarandinaki and other members of the group have done and will conduct more expeditions to the site of the murder of the Tsar’s family.

His grandfather, Colonel Kiril Naryshkin, was married to Anna Rozanova, the daughter of Lieutenant General Sergei Rozanov who was in charge of Admiral Kolchak’s White Russian troops that liberated Ekaterinburg from the Bolsheviks six days after the Romanov Imperial Family and their faithful servants were murdered. Rozanov and Naryshkin, the General’s adjutant, were among the first to enter the Ipatiev House.

The book Peter Sarandinaki together with his wife and two children brought back to the Museum was bought by his father in the 1930s at an American warehouse selling off unbidden auction items at nominal rates. The book graced their family collection for years. But as soon as Mr Sarandinaki found out the stamp on it was that of the Imperial Library, he contacted Tsarskoye Selo.

Our Museum is sincerely grateful to Captain Peter Sarandinaki and his family for their priceless gift.

© Tsarskoye Selo Palace-Museum Preserve. 29 August, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:54 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2012 1:25 PM EDT
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