Alexander Palace State Rooms
The Alexander Palace unveils the three State Rooms
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The 300th anniversary celebrations in Tsarskoe Selo were marked by the opening of the three State Rooms of the Alexander Palace. The palace had been under the administration of the Ministry of Defense since 1951 but was turned over to the Tsarskoe Selo State-Museum Reserve in October 2009. The restoration of the Portrait, Semi-Circular and Marble Halls was completed in record time, six months to reveal the luxurious and beautiful interiors.
Visitors to the Alexander Palace, both local and foreign were happy because the Alexander Palace had finally regained some of its former greatness and the former State Rooms were now open to the public.
Following the opening ceremony, Culture Minister Alexander Avdeyev presented the palace-museum with a watercolour of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. The portrait was painted in 1897 by Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, the sister of the empress. The picture was stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War and returned to Russia with the help of a woman in Frankfurt-am-Main, just in time for the anniversary .
A collection of toys that once belonged to the children of Nicholas II were also returned to the palace. These included dolls, bears, and strollers. One doll, called Star included a special mechanism which allowed her little legs and feet to move, a mechanism that still works after more than 100 years. It is estimated the children of the last Russian emperor owned more than two thousand toys at the time of the Revolution.
The new exhibits attracted the curiosity of visitors. Many of the new exhibits were recovered thanks to old photographs taken after the Revolution by the Bolsheviks as a means of cataloguing all the contents of the former home of the last tsar of Russia.
Another item that caught the eye of visitors was an original tiger skin rug dating back to 1917. The rug had been in storage at Pavlovsk Palace and is one of thousands of items that has been in dispute between the two palaces over the past six months. One has to wonder if the eyes of the poor beast witnessed how the family of Nicholas II all had been taken into exile from the Alexander Palace after the tsarís abdication.
Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia