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Monday, 25 April 2016
Lost Iron Gate to His Majesty's Own Dacha Found
Topic: Palaces

A unique item offered for sale this month in a Russian classifieds ad not only caught historians by surprise, but also attracted the attention of the authorities as well. The ad read: "wrought-iron gates with traces of gilding, about 19th century, found in the Peterhof reserve. Height 152 cm, width 84 cm . . .” 

Staff of the St. Petersburg Committee for State Control, Use and Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments identified the item as the former gate of His Majesty’s Own Dacha, the summer residence of Emperor Alexander II near Peterhof. The "gilded, wrought-iron gates" stood at the entrance of the former Imperial residence for more than 100 years, but disappeared after the Second World War and considered irretrievably lost.
Click on the link below to read the full article and more photos:



© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 25 April, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:34 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 25 April 2016 12:18 PM EDT
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Saturday, 12 July 2014
Tsarskoye Selo and Livadia Palace-Museum's Sign Letter of Intent
Topic: Palaces
"We cannot find any words to express our joy and pleasure to have such a house, built exactly as we wanted. The architect Krasnov is an amazing fine fellow"- wrote Emperor Nicholas ΙΙ to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna on September 20th, 1911, after his first visit to Livadia, his new palace in the Crimea.

For more than half a century, the Livadia estate served as a summer residence for the last three Russian emperors and their families: Alexander ΙΙ, Alexander III and Nicholas ΙΙ. The new Livadia Palace was to be the last imperial residence built in the Russian Empire for the Romanov family. Constructed by the architect Nikolai Krasnov in only 16 months, the white limestone palace was surrounded by a marvellous park, with terraces that led down to the Black Sea.

On July 11th, 2014, Olga Taratynova and Larisa Dekusheva, the directors of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve and Livadia Palace Museum, signed a Letter of Intent at a press conference held at Livadia. The parties have agreed to implement joint projects in the fields of museum research, and publication of books, plus the internship of museum specialists, as well as the organization of exhibitions, seminars and conferences on the Romanovs and their legacy.

In addition, there are plans to create a virtual branch of the Tsarskoye Selo Palace-Museum at Livadia Palace. If this project is realized, it will be the first such project for the popular St. Petersburg district museum.

“We have a lot in common. First and foremost, we are bound by the name and the tragic fate of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II. He loved both the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo and the palace in Livadia in the Crimea. I am sure that our mutual cooperation will offer great prospects for both museums” - said Olga Taratynova, Director of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 12 July, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:36 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 12 July 2014 4:46 AM EDT
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Thursday, 17 April 2014
Restoration Paints Bright Future for Kamennoostrovsky Palace
Topic: Palaces

Artist's concept of Kamenny Island Palace in Saint Petersburg after the restorations are completed. 
On Sat. 12 Apr, St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko inspected the restoration progress at Kamennoostrovsky (Kamenny Island) Palace, leaving so impressed that he has requested that the palace be better utilized by the city, reported Interfax Saturday.

"The palace is so good that it deserves a different approach than previously planned,” said Poltavchenko. “I immediately suggest the following new usages: First to create a common urban space with the park that surrounds the palace and second, make the palace space into a museum or even more interesting, make it into a school of arts,” he said.

Poltavchenko has given vice-governor Vasily Kichedzhi the duty of researching into his suggestions and reporting back the results in a couple of weeks, reported Interfax.

Restoration of the Kamennoostrovsky Palace is scheduled to be finished by 2015 with 70 percent already competed.

Beginning in October 2011, the total cost of reconstruction is estimated at 1.64 billion rubles ($46 milion), reported Interfax.


View of Kamenny Island and Palace in Saint Petersburg (1803). Artist: Semyon Shchedrin
This large neo-classical palace on Kamenny Ostrov ("Stone Island") in the north-west of St. Petersburg was built by Catherine the Great for her son and heir, Paul I. The island was presented to him in 1765, and work began on the palace in 1776 under the guidance of architect Yuriy Felten. Major flooding in 1777 caused an interruption to the construction, and when work resumed the following year, Felten had been replaced by Giacomo Quarenghi, although the former did complete the palace's unusual Church of the Birth of St. John the Baptist.

While Paul soon grew tired of the palace, much preferring his residences at Pavlovsk and then Gatchina, Kamennoostrovskiy Palace was the favourite home of Alexander I, and then passed to his younger brother Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich and his descendants. Until recently, the palace was used as a sanatorium for the Russian airforce, and it is currently being restored as the official residence of the Governor of St. Petersburg.

Closed to the general public, the Kamennoostrovskiy Palace is barely visible from the street, and is best viewed from the Lopukhinskiy Garden, on the opposite bank of the Malaya Nevka River. 
© St. Petersburg Times, Interfax and Royal Russia. 17 April, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:56 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014 7:18 AM EDT
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Sunday, 22 December 2013
Palaces of the Romanovs - 4-Part Documentary
Topic: Palaces

A new series, The Palaces of the Romanovs will air on Russian television from December 23 - 26. The 4-part documentary series, which marks the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, tells the story of the family property of the Imperial family, including architectural complexes, garden and park ensembles, and the places visited by representatives of the dynasty. 

The series will focus on the architecture of the palaces, dachas, hunting lodges, and other residences, the history of each discuessed by curators, historians and archivists. The Imperial and grand palaces of the House of Romanov were located not only in Russia but also abroad - in Estonia, Ukraine, Poland, Finland, Georgia, Uzbekistan. Many of them have been restored and turned into museums, but after the Revolution, and World War II, many were destroyed or simply fell into disrepair due to neglect. 

The palaces of the imperial family are outstanding monuments of history and culture. During their heyday they were repositories for great works of art, magnificent libraries, and served as venues for concerts and other performances. Many were considered artistic centres of the time. For centuries, the Romanov palaces were symbols of Russian statehood. The documentary series Palaces of the Romanovs gives viewers the opportunity to look at the estates of the royal dynasty as monuments not only to domestic architecture, but also as a way of life, cultural progress and social thought. The palace series also takes a look at the private day to day lives of their inhabitants, reflecting the tastes, ideological preferences, aspirations and sentiments of the prevailing era. The Russian emperors and empresses were people with their own personal views, personalities, tastes, and concerns showing that they differed little from others, they fell in love, raised children, developed their apartments and shared both their family joys and sorrows. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 22 December, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:43 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 22 December 2013 10:20 AM EST
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Monday, 28 January 2013
Imperial Residences: A Four-Part Documentary
Topic: Palaces


The palaces and residences at Tsarskoye Selo (the Catherine and Alexander Palaces); and Yalta (Livadia Palace), were among the most important residences of a succession of Russia's sovereigns and their August families.

This series of four documentaries explores the residences most favoured by four of the last five emperors: Alexander I, Nicholas I, Alexander II, and Alexander III. They were produced in 2008 by T.L. Tour and directed by Andrei Semak. 

Each film explores the history of each palace, the further developments made to the Imperial residences that each of the reigning Russian monarch made to it.

Each film runs about 26 minutes with narration in Russian only.

No.1 - Alexander I at Tsarskoye Selo

No. 2 - Alexander II at Livadia

No. 3 - Alexander III in the Crimea

No. 4 - Nicholas I in the Crimea

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 28 January, 2013

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:25 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 28 January 2013 9:05 AM EST
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Saturday, 10 November 2012
Chesmenskiy Palace - St. Petersburg
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 5 minutes
Topic: Palaces

Over the years I have often been asked about the fate of the Chesmenskiy - or Chesme - Palace in St. Petersburg. I am happy to report that the palace has survived, but the facade and interiors have been greatly altered over the past century.

Located in the south of St. Petersburg, just off Moskovskiy Prospekt, the Chesmenskiy Palace was built in the reign of Catherine the Great as a waypost for the Imperial court on the road to Tsarskoye Selo. The palace was designed by the court architect Yuri Felten and, like his design for the neighbouring Chesme Church, it shows the influence of the early gothic revival in England, and particularly Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill villa in Twickenham.

A triangular building with three corner towers around a central turret, the palace was completed in 1777 and named in honour of a major naval victory at Chesme Bay (1770) during the Russo-Turkish War. The Round Hall in the central turret was used by the Empress to present the Order of St. George, the highest military honour of Russia, to commanders including Field-Marshals Kutuzov and Suvorov.

The palace retained its role until the 1830s, when it was turned into an almshouse for veterans wounded in the Napoleonic Wars. Not only were the battlements of the central turret removed, but architecturally unremarkable four-storey wings were added to each of the three corners of the palace to provide more space for accommodation.

Since the Second World War, the Chesmenskiy Palace has been home to part of the State University of Aerospace Instrumentation (formerly the Leningrad Institute of Aircraft Instrument-making).

The famous Chesme or Green-frog Dinner Service displayed in the Hermitage was commissioned especially for the palace by Catherine the Great from the Wedgwood potteries in Staffordshire, England.

The Chesmenskiy Palace is not open to the public.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 November, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:25 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 11 November 2012 7:07 AM EST
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Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Palace of Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich
Topic: Palaces


The St. Petersburg Palace of Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich is situated at Moika embankment, 122A. The palace was built in 1882-1885 according to the design of architect M. E. Messmacher. It is included in the federal list of Historical and Cultural Landmarks of the Russian Federation in St. Petersburg (by order of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 527 dd. July 10, 2001). Over the last several decades, the building stood vacant. In October 2005, the Russian Government transferred the building to the St. Petersburg Music House.

In 2006 the Constantine Foundation took part in the restoration of the palace, which is considered to be a masterpiece of eclectic architecture, embodying elements of various styles.

The sunken bathing pool, the walls decorated with beautiful ceramic tiles 

The extensive restoration included the preservation of the palace's elegant facade, the picturesque silhouette of its towers, the beautiful windows and doors, and its rich finishes and interiors.

The palace is now a venue for classical music, including international competitions and festivals. Guided tours (in Russian) are available by prior arrangement to groups of no more than 20 persons. Photographing the historical interiors is strictly forbidden by the administration.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:33 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Restoration of Imperial Traveling Palace at Tver
Topic: Palaces

Photo Credit: 

The restoration of the Imperial Traveling Palace at Tver has begun with the symbolic ceremony of the transfer of the keys to the 18th-century monument over to the builders and restorers. Residents of Tver and the entire Tver Region have been waiting for this day for 20 years.

The palace was constructed in the Classical style with some elements of Baroque.  It was intended as a resting place for members of the Russian Imperial family as they travelled from St. Petersburg to Moscow. It also served as a residence for the Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna (1788-1819) and her spouse, Duke George of Oldenburg (1784-1812), who served as governor of the region up until his death in 1812 due to typhoid fever.

The historic interiors and décor will be restored in the former Romanov palace over the next three years. These will be based on surviving sketches, photos and inventories of the pre-war period. The palace garden and surrounding landscape will also be restored.

Restoration costs will amout to three billion rubles; most of the amount - 1.8 billion – has been allocated by the World Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The rest of the money will be provided from the budgets of Tver and the Tver

© Russia Info-Center. 05 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:18 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2012 2:11 PM EDT
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Saturday, 10 March 2012
Mariinsky Palace Church to be Restored
Topic: Palaces

The St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly have announced plans to restore the former church in the city's Mariinsky Palace.

During the Tsarist period it was very common for members of the Russian Imperial family and members of the aristocracy to have a home church, where they could hold services and pray in private.

The Mariinsky Palace was built between 1839-1844 by the Russian architect Andrei Stackenschneider for the Grand Duchess Maria Nicholayevna, daughter of the Emperor Nicholas I. The chapel of St. Nicholas was established in the palace in the middle of the 19th century. After the Revolution, the church was closed and the iconstasis destroyed.

The recreation of the iconostasis will involve master craftsmen in stone and wood carvings, as well as the painting and reproduction of the icons and other paintings. The estimate cost is 28.7 million rubles.

From 1884, the palace returned to Imperial hands. Up until 1917, it housed the State Council of Imperial Russia. Today, the Mariinsky Palace houses the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 March, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:36 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 10 March 2012 7:54 AM EST
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Friday, 24 February 2012
Imperial Crests Returned to Bialowieza
Topic: Palaces


In the mid-19th century Emperor Alexander III had a hunting lodge built at the Imperial hunting reserve at Bialowieza in Poland. Between 1889 and 1893 a palace was built for the Imperial family, which consisted of 134 rooms spread over two floors.

In 1894, a hunt was organized for the Emperor, but it was to be his last. Emperor Alexander III died on 1 November [O.S. 20 October] 1894 at Livadia in the Crimea.

Few reminders survive of the former Imperial estate; however, in an effort to restore the history of Bialowieza, the Belorussian government decided to restore the original grandeur of the roads leading into Bialowieza by returning the former Imperial crests bearing the monogram of Emperor Alexander III that once decorated the bridges. 

The former royal road now connects the Belarusian and Polish parts of Bialowieza Forest. Visitors in search of the Romanov legacy can still visit two of the oldest surviving buildings at Bialowieza: St. Nicholas Orthodox Church and the Swiss House. Sadly, the palace itself was destroyed in 1944; while the ruins of the palace were demolished in 1961-63.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia.

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:55 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 24 February 2012 6:35 AM EST
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