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Friday, 27 February 2015
Follow Royal Russia on Facebook
Topic: Royal Russia


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:31 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 28 February 2015 9:51 AM EST
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Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Royal Russia Video and Film Archive
Topic: Royal Russia

There are currently hundreds of videos to be found throughout the Royal Russia web site and blog. These include everything from short news clips to full-length documentaries and films. 

Once completed, the Royal Russia Video and Film Archive will offer a full catalogue of all the videos and films found throughout the web site and blog on one convenient page.  

The current catalogue offers a total of 53 videos, listed in 8 categories, in Russian and English. There are many more videos and categories to catalogue, further updates will be announced over the next few weeks.

To review the current list of videos, please refer to the following link;

Royal Russia Video and Film Archive

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 11 February, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:35 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 11 February 2015 6:13 AM EST
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Wednesday, 31 December 2014
Looking Back on 2014 - A Summary of Royal Russia's 20th Anniversary Year
Topic: Royal Russia

Once again, it has been a truly remarkable year for Royal Russia. A number of highlights and milestones helped make Royal Russia's 20th anniversary all the more special.

Web Site and Blog

In 2014, the Royal Russia web site and blog welcomed more than 2.2 million visitors from all over the world, an increase of more than 10% over the previous year. The largest number of visitors came from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and Russia.

During the past year the Royal Russia web site was updated with 31 articles, while the Royal Russia blog was updated with 387 news articles. More than 100 videos and hundreds of new photographs were also added.

Royal Russia has a faithful and growing following which includes more than 3,000 people who receive my bi-weekly news updates, plus more than 22,000 people who follow Royal Russia on Facebook. Today, Royal Russia is one of the most popular and comprehensive resources of information on the Romanovs and Imperial Russia, providing 'Romanovphiles' and 'Russophiles' with daily updates. 

Royal Russia Annual

Two new issues of my magazine, Royal Russia were issued in 2014. A team of highly dedicated Romanov experts, and guest writers offer Romanov enthusiasts and lovers of Imperial Russian history - new, previously unpublished works based on research which include new Russian resources.

Royal Russia was originally intended to be published only once a year, but due to its popularity, it is now published twice a year, while still retaining its original name. An annual Summer edition and an annual Winter edition are now issued. Advertisements were run in Majesty Magazine (Great Britain) and Russian Life Magazine (United States).

In lieu of subscriptions, a Standing Order Service was created, which has been well received by dedicated readers.

A full set of 6 issues of Royal Russia were donated to the Holy Trinity Monastery Library (Jordanville, NY), and the Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library (St. Petersburg).




Gilbert's Books - the official publishing division of Royal Russia - issued three new titles this past year:

Alexander III: His Life and Reign by Margarita Nelipa

The Forgotten Tutor: John Epps and the Romanovs by Janet Epps and Dr. Gabriella Lang

Lost Splendour by Prince Felix Yussupov (a joint publishing venture with Matrushka Books, St. Petersburg, Russia)



The following events were among the many highlights of 2014. Click on the highlighted links for more details and photographs:

April 1 - Opening of new Royal Russia Bookshop

May 18 - Investiture ceremony at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York

May 28 - June 8 - Working visit to St. Petersburg

September 28 - Royal Russia marks its 20th anniversary

December 4-11 Working visit to St. Petersburg (my 25th visit to Russia)

December 8 - First official speaking engagement in Russia

Giving Back to Russia

Royal Russia's Giving Back to Russia Campaign made a total donation of 20,000 rubles ($600 USD) to the Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof State Museum Preserves in 2014. This was made possible thanks to sales of the Romanov Legacy: Palaces and Residences of the Russian Imperial Family 2014 Calendar.

This was the second year in a row that a portion of the net proceeds from the sale of this calendar were donated to these palace-museums. Funds assist with ongoing and future restoration work, and the acquisition of items for their respective collections. 


Acknowledgments and Thanks

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following for their support over the past year:

- those who subscribe to my bi-weekly news updates

- those who shop at my online bookshop - your patronage allows me to devote my free time to the web site and blog

- those who read my bi-annual magazine, Royal Russia

- writers who contribute their work to Royal Russia, including articles, translations, photographs and more

- those who buy my annual calendar, and thus assisting with restoration work and more at Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof

- those who donate funds to Royal Russia, and thus help me offset the growing costs of maintaining an ever growing web site and blog, and the demands placed on it by an ever growing and enthusiastic group of Romanov enthusiasts and lovers of Imperial Russian history

- those who write and telephone to offer comments, suggestions and kind words of support

- monarchists and Orthodox Christians who keep me in their thoughts and prayers

- friends and colleagues in Russia who not only open new doors for me, but also welcome me into their homes to share their Russian hospitality

- those who take the time out of their lives to meet with me in person, and share their interest in the Romanovs and Imperial Russia with me

I feel very blessed to do something that I am passionate about. I pray that this passion is reflected in my work each and every day. I am equally blessed to have such a tremendous amount of support from all over the globe, especially in Russia where I have established many new contacts and friends during the course of the past year. Without each and every one of you, there would be no Royal Russia. Thank you and God bless! 

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year! 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 31 December, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:56 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 31 December 2014 2:15 PM EST
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Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Romanov Legacy: The Palaces and Residences of the Russian Imperial Family 2015 Calendar
Topic: Royal Russia

A peek inside our 2015 calendar (above) features vintage photos of 12 palaces and residences of the Romanov dynasty as they looked before the Revolution
Royal Russia is pleased to present it's 2015 calendar. For a third year in a row, the calendar's theme showcases the palaces and residences of the Russian Imperial family.
Our new Romanov Legacy 2015 Calendar features a dozen additional Romanov palaces and residences. Each residence featured includes a short history, complete with unique vintage photographs as they looked before 1917 - including historic interiors.

Cover: Likani Palace, the summer residence of Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich (1859-1919), located near the town of Borjomi, Georgia.
Photo: Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
The following palaces and residences are featured in this years calendar:
- Alexander Palace (Tsarskoye Selo)
- Mikhailovka (near St. Petersburg)
- Palace of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaievich, Jr (St. Petersburg)
- Sergievsky Palace (St. Petersburg)
- Gatchina (near St. Petersburg)
- Znamenka Palace (near St. Petersburg)
- Massandra (Crimea)
- Sergievka (near Peterhof)
- Marble Palace (St. Petersburg) 
- Cottage Palace (Peterhof)
- Alexandria Palace (Moscow)
- Mikhailovksy Palace (St. Petersburg)
Your purchase is helping to preserve Russia's rich Romanov legacy

Once again, the net profits from the sale of the calendar will not only help Royal Russia, but a donation will be made to the Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof State Museum Palace Preserves. These donations are part of Royal Russia's 'Giving Back to Russia' campaign, and assist the palace museum's with ongoing and future restoration projects and the acquisition of items for the palace museum collections. 
In the last two years, a total of 40,000 Rubles ($1,200 USD) was donated to the two palace-museums from the sale of the 2013 and 2014 Romanov Legacy calendars. 



© Royal Russia. 17 December, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:13 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 17 December 2014 10:31 AM EST
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Wednesday, 3 December 2014
Royal Russia Office & Shop CLOSED December 3rd to December 11th, 2014
Topic: Royal Russia

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 3 December, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 1 December 2014 4:40 AM EST
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Saturday, 8 November 2014
Special Offer from Royal Russia
Topic: Royal Russia

© Royal Russia. 08 November, 2014




Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:30 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 8 November 2014 12:23 PM EST
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Sunday, 28 September 2014
Topic: Royal Russia
(left) This photograph reflects a quiet corner of my office and study, and includes some of my favourite books, a bust of Nicholas II that I purchased in St. Petersburg earlier this year, and a reproduction of Valentin Serov's famous portrait of the last emperor painted in 1900 - a treasured gift from a dear American friend - PG

Today - September 28th - marks the 20th anniversary of Royal Russia!

When I launched Royal Russia back in 1994, I was following a dream. I wanted to share my my lifelong passion and interest in the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia with others.

My publishing endeavours began with a simple 4-page newsletter, entitled Imperial Russian Quarterly and a reprint of Memories in the Russian Court by Anna Vyrubova, originally published in 1923. 

Over the next two decades, that simple 4-page newsletter evolved and grew in both name and design until in 2011, I launched the 100+ page Royal Russia Annual. To date, I have published 25 books on the Romanovs and Imperial Russia in both hard and soft cover editions, many of which are still in print and available through the Royal Russia Bookshop. 

It was in the late 1990s that I launched exclusive Romanov tours to Russia. These custom designed tours featured visits to places only read about in books, and dreamed about by Romanovphiles. These included exclusive tours of the palaces and residences of the Russian Imperial family, with little "extras" such as lunch at the Palace of Grand Duke Vladimir, tea on the verandah at the Cottage Palace at Peterhof, lectures by Romanov historians and palace curators, and much more. Royal Russia was the first group from the West to visit the Alexander Palace in 1997. Other places of interest included the Grand Kremlin Museum and the Russian State Archives (GARF) in Moscow, Livadia in the Crimea, the Church on the Blood (built on the site of the Ipatiev House) and Ganina Yama at Ekaterinburg, among many others. The last Royal Russia tour was in 2006. While I no longer organize and host Romanov tours, I continue to travel to Russia independently on working visits, sharing my discoveries through the Royal Russia web site and magazine. 

The Royal Russia web site has expanded greatly over the last few years and now includes a news blog and Facebook page - both updated daily with news on the Romanovs and Imperial Russian history. Royal Russia web site and blog currently offer more than 600 news articles, more than 500 videos, over 2,000 photographs, plus a blog with nearly 1,500 news clips, videos and photographs. 

Today, Royal Russia ranks among the most popular Romanov-themed web sites in the world, welcoming more than 2 million visitors from every corner of the globe. Plus, the number of people who follow Royal Russia has now surpassed the 20,000 mark! This includes more than 3,000 people who receive our FREE bi-weekly news updates, plus nearly 18,000 followers on Facebook. Our colour advertisements are regularly feautured in Majesty Magazine in the United Kingdom, and Russian Life Magazine in the United States. 

Each year since 2009, Royal Russia has issued a wall calendar. The annual calendar issued in the past three years has become a very special project for me personally, as most of the net sales from the calendar sales are donated to the Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof Palace Museums. Between 2013-2014, Royal Russia donated 40,000 Rubles to the two palace museum reserves. The funds help them with restoration programs and the acquisition of items for their respective collections. Another donation will be made to these palaces in early 2015, based on the sale of our latest calendar. Russia has been very good to me these past 20 years, I am so pleased that I can now give something back, by making a contribution to an ideal which I hold near to my heart - the preservation and conservation of the Romanov legacy and Russia's Imperial past. 

The past 20 years have been a remarkable journey, one which I have shared with some of you from the very beginning. As I mark this memorable day, I would also like to take this opportunity to extend a very big thank you to each and every person who has supported Royal Russia over the years! This includes those who visit my web site and blog, who receive my bi-weekly news updates, those who buy books, magazines and calendars from my online shop, those who make donations each year to help offset the increasing costs of maintaining the every growing web site, to those who purchase my calendars and helping my Giving Back to Russia program, and for all of you who continually send kind words of support for my work by e-mail, letter, and telephone - without you, there would be no Royal Russia! 

Today is indeed a day to celebrate, and here's to the next 20 years of Royal Russia! 

(right) Dr. Russell E. Martin, International Communications Advisor to the Chancellery of Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Head of the Russian Imperial House, presents me with the Imperial and Royal Order of St. Stanislas, III Class. The Order was presented during a private investiture ceremony at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York on May 18th, 2014. The Order was presented in recognition of a lifetime of service to the Russian Imperial House, my support of the Russian monarchy, and my personal dedication to distributing accurate information about the House of Romanov and to highlight the importance of the Russian Imperial House in today's Russia. Truly, it remains the proudest day of my life!   - PG

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 28 September, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 8 October 2014 10:14 AM EDT
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Sunday, 20 July 2014
Help Keep the Memories of Old Russia Alive - Please Support Royal Russia
Topic: Royal Russia



© Royal Russia. 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:00 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 20 July 2014 10:49 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Giving Back to Russia - Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof - 2014
Topic: Royal Russia

For the second year in a row, Royal Russia has made a donation of 10,000 Rubles ($300 USD) to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve, and a further 10,000 Rubles ($300 USD) to the Peterhof State Museum Preserves. These gifts were made possible thanks to the sales of our 2014 calendar, Romanov Legacy: The Palaces and Residences of the Russian Imperial Family. 

Since 1994, I have worked as an independent publisher and bookseller specializing in books and periodicals on the Romanov dynasty and Imperial Russia. In the past few years I have branched out into rare and second-hand books, and currently work through dealers in Moscow and St. Petersburg to offer collectors unique titles published in Russian and English.

Bookselling and publishing are my sole means of income, I do not earn an income from Royal Russia. Therefore, I am very, very grateful to each and every one of you who support my online bookshop, because without your patronage there would be no Royal Russia.

Earning a living from my book business allows me to devote my free time to my web site and blog, even if that requires working extra hours 7 days a week. I love my work, and I trust that is reflected through my web site, blog and the publications that I produce. I am privileged and honoured to share Royal Russia with other Romanovphiles and Russophiles around the world.

Royal Russia is supported through the generous donations of people who share an interest in the Romanov dynasty and the history of Imperial Russia.

It is also supported by the sale of a calendar, created annually with a unique theme and richly illustrated with rare and beautiful photographs and illustrations. The net proceeds from the sale of this calendar help Royal Russia in 2 unique ways: first, to help offset the costs of maintaining a growing web site and blog which welcomed nearly 2 million visitors in 2013, a huge achievement and a new record! Secondly - sales from the calendar now allow Royal Russia to give something back to Russia, by making a small annual donation to two major palace-museum complexes near St. Petersburg.

I have been very blessed all these years to work at something that I truly enjoy. As a result, I am now in a position to give something back to Russia. In 2013 and 2014, a total of 40,000 Rubles ($1,200 USD) has been donated to the Tsarskoye Selo and Peterhof State Museum Preserves.

These donations go towards restoration work and the acquisition of items for the palace-museum collections. I am very proud that I have been given the opportunity to make at least a small contribution to each museum. I am committed to helping to preserve the Romanov legacy when and where I can, and will continue to make ongoing donations in the years ahead.

Further, I have also made a personal donation in the amount of $250.00 CAD to the Children's Village at Pushkin. This wonderful organization helps orphaned Russian children, providing them with a safe place to live and grow. Helping children is a cause which is near and dear to my heart.

In May 2013, I also made a donation of books published by Royal Russia in the amount of $250.00 CAD to the Holy Trinity Monastery Library at Jordanville, New York. The library includes a large repository of books and other documents on the Romanov dynasty. This is further complimented by the recent opening of the Russian Nobility Association Reading Room located in the seminary at the Holy Trinity Monastery.

Once again, thank you to each and every one you who support my publishing efforts and bookshop, as well as those who purchased calendars and/or made donations to Royal Russia. Together, we are making a difference in helping to keep the memories of old Russia alive!

© Paul Gilbert. 08 July, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:19 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 9 July 2014 6:26 AM EDT
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Sunday, 8 June 2014
A Short Summary of My Spring 2014 Visit to St. Petersburg
Topic: Royal Russia

I have just returned from my annual Spring visit to St. Petersburg. During my 9-day visit I spent many hours conducting research for the Royal Russia magazine and web site. I also met with my supplier and ordered several new titles that will be featured in the Royal Russia Bookshop in the coming months ahead.

The highlights of this year's visit to St. Petersburg include:

At the Court of the Russian Emperors
The venue for this extraordinary exhibiton was the State Hermitage Museum. More than 250 costumes of members of the Russian Imperial family of the 18th to early 20th century are on display in 5 halls: Nicolas Hall, Antechamber, Eastern Gallery of the Winter Palace, Armorial Hall and Concert Hall.
The costumes and accessories on display in this ambitious exhibit once belonged to members of the Imperial family and members of the Russian aristocracy. These include both ceremonial and daily costumes, outfits for visits and horseback riding, children’s and masquerade costumes, morning and strolling attire, evening wear and ball gowns. 
Of particular interest were baby clothes and dresses that belonged to the daughters of Nicholas II. Numerous constumes worn by the Tsesarevich Alexei are also on display, including a ceremonial blue velvet costume, an officer's uniform of HIM's Own Guard, a Tulle lace baby dress in blue silk (1904) and his tiny Standart hat.
Court, ceremonial and everyday dresses and gowns worn by the Russian empresses from Catherine I to the last empress, Alexandra are on display. Those worn by the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorona and the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna are numerous. I counted more than 30 for Maria and 18 for Alexandra! The exquisite gowns are supplemented with shoes, hats, fans, parasols and more!
The uniforms of the Russian emperors and the grand dukes are also represented. These are supplemented with display cases filled with the Orders and medals worn with their uniforms. Portraits and framed photographs hang from the walls of each room, depicting the faces of the August and aristocratic subjects of this unique exhibit.
One hall offers a large glass display case which contains 10 costumes worn by members of the Imperial family and the aristocracy at the famous costume ball held in 1903 at the Winter Palace. These include Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Prince Dimitry Golitsyn, Princess Zinaida Yusupova, among others. On the reverse side of the display case hang 18 black and white portraits of others in attendance at the historic ball.
But wait, that's not all . . . . . the exhibition continues with
Servants of the Imperial Court
Two additional rooms, the Arab Hall and the Rotunda of the State Hermitage Museum compliment At the Court of the Russian Emperors. On display for the first time are some 250 pieces of attire and accessories from the unique Hermitage collection of the livery wear of the Russian Court in the late 19th to early 20th centuries.
These two magnificent exhibits rank among the finest Romanov-themed exhibitions that I have seen to date. The displays are captioned in both Russian and English and thus allowing foreigners a better understanding and appreciation of the historic items on display. The Servants of the Imperial Court exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated 400-page catalogue, in Russian only (with a 2-page English summary). I did not see a catalogue for the larger, more splendid At the Court of the Russian Emperors exhibition. 
Faberge Museum
Aside from the costume exhibit at the State Hermitage Museum, the Faberge Museum was a top priority for me to see, and it did not disappoint.
Housed in the former Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka, the museum features more than 4,000 pieces from the collection of Russian philanthropist Viktor Vekselberg. The palace has been beautifully restored, the central dome and staircase are the first taste of the splendour that await in the 10 exhibition rooms currently open to visitors.
The Blue Sitting Room is devoted solely to the museum's collection of 12 Faberge eggs. Each egg stands on a plinth in its glass case in two orderly rows. The 12 eggs include 9 of with an Imperial provenance, the remaining 3 include the Marlborough and Kelch eggs. 
Aside from the Faberge eggs, visitors see other examples of fine Fabergé craftsmanship, including gold jewels, silverware and ornate cigarette cases, as well as works by Fabergé contemporaries Ivan Khlebnikov, Pavel Ovchinnikov and Ignatius Sazikov. On the ground floor is another room which is currently hosting a small exhibition dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. It will close in July, as the room is prepared for a new exhibition marking the 100th anniversay of Russia's role in World War One.
To visit the Faberge Museum requires some planning. You must join a tour, individual visits are not yet available. I had to purchase my ticket in the morning, and return in the afternoon for the tour. Tours are offered in English or Russian and last an hour and a half, the price is 300 Rubles ($9 USD). Again, photography is absolutely forbidden, and there are plenty of security on hand to ensure that every one follows this rule. I was simply overwhelmed with this museum, and there is no question in my mind it will soon be one of St. Petersburg's most popular attractions.
The Alexander Palace
Each year I hop on the suburban train from the Vitebsky Railway Station bound for Tsarskoye Selo. The 30-minute ride is a bargain at 72 Rubles ($2 USD) return. Upon arrival, I immediately note that new signs reflect the recent name change which returns the historic name of the station from Pushkin to Tsarskoye Selo have been erected. Buses and taxis are available in front of the station, however, if the weather is nice then I prefer to walk, which is about 40 minutes to the Alexander Palace.
You enter the Alexander Palace through the central colonnade. Admission is 300 Rubles (9 USD), the exhibition Reminiscences in the Alexander Palace includes Nicholas and Alexandra's rooms located in the west wing, and the suite of State Halls, including the Marble (Mountain) Hall, one of three new rooms opened to the public last year, but still awaiting restoration.
Restoration work on the east wing of the palace is underway. In fact, much of the wing facing the park is surrounded by blue fencing, the grounds are filled with construction and contractor containers, workmen and the noises associated with building restoration. The new palace-museum complex is scheduled to open in 2018.    
Once again, I journeyed to this magnificent complex of palaces, pavilions, fountains and parks by hydrofoil. The Peterhof Express departs from the pier in front of the Admiralty every 30 minutes. It's not a cheap journey at 1500 Rubles ($45 USD return), however, you don't have to worry about traffic congestion and one truly arrives in style!
I spent the entire day here, and took in the Grand Palace enjoying all of the magnificent interiors. I have to admit that I do have a preference for this palace over the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo. Admission to the palace is 550 Rubles ($16 USD).
I also visited the Saints Peter and Paul Church, where numerous Romanov events took place, such as weddings (Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna in 1894) and baptisms (Tsesarevich Alexei Nikolaievich in 1904). The interiors are breathtaking. Admission is 400 Rubles ($12 USD). Photography is forbidden, however, a guide book (in Russian only) offers photos of the interiors, including the iconostasis.
Next, was the Special Treasury, housed in the former Coat-of-Arms Pavilion. Eight rooms house a collection of memorial items that belonged to the Russian rulers from Peter I to Nicholas II. The collection includes paintings, unique court costumes, furniture and jewellery, including Faberge. Sadly, many visitors to Peterhof overlook this museum, however, I highly recommend a visit. Admission is 500 Rubles ($15 USD).
I enjoyed a nice lunch in the Orangery before visiting the Imperial Yacht Museum. Three rooms tell the history of the imperial yachts, the last of which is dedicated to the Standart. Hundreds of items from more than a dozen imperial yachts are displayed in glass cases, including selections of porcelain and crystal services. The exhibit is further enhanced by a wonderful collection of vintage photographs and watercolours, uniforms, even pieces of furniture presevered from the Derzhava. Admission is 250 Rubles ($7 USD). The Imperial Yacht Museum will be the topic for My Russia, to be published in the No. 6 issue of Royal Russia (available August 2014). 
During my stay, I did a tremendous amount of research, compiling pages of notes, and more than 350 photographs, some of which are shown above. I look forward to sharing the fruits of my research with Royal Russia subscribers and followers on my web site and blog, as well as the pages of Royal Russia Annual in the coming weeks and months ahead. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 08 June, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:38 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 8 June 2014 12:49 PM EDT
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