The Likani Palace which is situated on the banks of the Kura River near the village of Borjomi in Georgia is to become a Romanov museum. The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia recently transferred the former Romanov and governmental palace to the JSC Partnership group, who will oversee the reconstruction and restoration of the historic building and management of the new palace-museum.
The Moorish style palace was designed by Leopold Bilfeldt as a summer residence for Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich (1859-1919). It was constructed between 1892-95 by the famous architect Leon Nikolaevich Benois. The European styled interiors included rich wood panelled rooms, ornate marble fireplaces, and ornate chandeliers.
In his excellent biography The White Crow, James H. Cockfield notes that Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich inherited immense wealth upon his father’s death (Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolaevich 1832-1909). This included his beloved Borjomi (where he built the Likani Palace), Mikhailovskoe (situated near Peterhof), the magnificent Novo-Mikhailovsky Palace on the Neva in St. Petersburg, and the gargantuan estate of Grushevka in southern Ukraine. The Likani Palace at Borjomi, however, remained his favourite home, and he made a postcard of his house there, and used it in correspondence with his friends. This place was a small bit of heaven to him, one place in the world in which he could find total tranquility.
In 1918, he was imprisoned by the Bolsheviks in Petrograd and shot outside the St Peter and St Paul Fortress on 28 January 1919 (aged 59), along with his brother Grand Duke George Mikhailovich and his cousins Grand Duke Dimitri Konstantinovich and Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich.
Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich (1859-1919)
The total area of the princely estates in Borjomi was 69,513 acres. Grand Duke Nikolai earned a substantial income from the estate, especially from agriculture and the bottled water, which was supplied across Russia. In 1898, he introduced electricity to the palace, the first in the Russian Empire to utilize hydroelectric power. In addition Nikolai Mikhailovich, was a regular visitor to Abbas Tuman, the nearby estate of Grand Duke George Alexandrovich (1871-1899), the younger brother of Emperor Nicholas II who suffered from suffered from tuberculosis. The Likani Palace was captured in the famous colour photographs of the Russian photographer Prokudin-Gorsky taken in the early 20th century.
During Soviet times, the palace was used by high-ranking officials, including the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. In 2004, the palace became the residence of the President of Georgia and was closed to the public. In 2005, the palace received the status of a monument of national cultural heritage.
Reconstruction work on the facades and restoration of the palace interiors will take up to three years to complete. Many of the palace’s original furnishings and works of art are currently stored in the Georgian State Museum in Tbilisi. The Georgian authorities are hoping that the Romanov Palace will become an interesting tourist attraction for holidaymakers, attracting tourists and become a venue for various cultural activities and government meetings.
Vologda House With Romanov History Slated for Demolition Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 44 seconds Topic: Nicholas Mikhailovich, GD
A unique 105-year-old wooden building with a Romanov history is threatened with destruction in the Russian city of Vologda. It was here in 1918, that the Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich lived in exile for nearly four months. Many Russians regard the grand duke as a highly respected historian, one with an impressive legacy. He was a member of the French Academy, Honorary Doctor of History and Philosophy from the University of Berlin, Honorary Doctor of History from Moscow University, and President of the Imperial Russian Historical Society, the Society of Pomology and the Russian Geographic Society.
On March 30th 1918, the grand duke departed by train from Petrograd in the company of his personal cook and his close friend and assistant Constantine Brummer, who had insisted on going with him in spite of the Grand Duke's protestations. The following day they arrived at Vologda, where they were lodged in the former house of Maria Grigorieva, built in 1908. Initially he could move freely around town. His brother, the Grand Duke George Mikhailovich and his cousin, the Grand Duke Dimitri Konstantinovich had also been exiled to Vologda and they visited each other frequently. Allowed to do as he pleased so long as he remained within the city limits, the grand duke occupied his time reading.
On July 21, 1918, Nicholas Mikhailovich was transferred to Petrograd, where he was imprisoned at the Kresty prison and later the Spalernaia prison. On the night of 27–28 January 1919, he, along with the Grand Dukes Dimitri Konstantinovich, George Mikhailovich and Paul Alexandrovich were moved to the Peter and Paul Fortress where they were shot to death by a Bolshevik firing squad. Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich’s murder was carried out despite the protests of Gorky, Lunacharsky, and the French Government, all of whom tried to save him.
A petition has now been filed by local residents with Vsevolod V. Tschubenko, Head of the Department of Culture and Cultural Heritage Protection of the Vologda region, urging him to preserve the building and to recognize it as a monument regional historic significance, one which preserves the memory of an outstanding figure of Russian history and an outstanding representative of the Romanov family.
They also maintain that the destruction of the house would carry with it the memory of the revolutionary drama of the time, a dark period in Russian history when untold thousands of innocent Russians, along with members of the Imperial Family were murdered during the Red Terror.