ALEXANDER PALACE
Last Home of Emperor Nicholas II

According to the present-day plan, the reconstruction of the Alexander Palace will continue for 3 years

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Olga Taratynova, Director of the Tsarskoye Selo Estate-Museum

The residence of the last Emperor of Russia Nicholas II in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), which is one of the St. Petersburg suburbs, is gradually turning into a museum. The St. Petersburg authorities have approved a concept for the restoration of the Alexander Palace, which earlier was used as the residence of the Russian Emperor.

As many as 700 to 800 people can simultaneously visit the museum complex, which is being re-created in the Alexander Palace, from where the Bolsheviks took him away into exile. In 1918 they killed him and all of his family members in Yekaterinburg in the Ural Region, as the director of the museum-estate Tsarskoye Selo Olga Taratynova said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

“This is a tragic and in a way a beautiful story, which serves as a point of interest for visitors. They want to learn more about the life of the royal Romanov family. There’s a feeling of suffering and doom in the Alexander Palace where the family of the last emperor of Russia lived. The private rooms of the members of the family of Tsar Nicholas II, which were furnished by Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna according to her tastes, are situated in the eastern wing. It seems to me that they were very comfortable,” the director says.

Many members of the royal family loved the Alexander Palace. Built at the end of the 18th century by the order of Cathrine II for her grandson whom she loved very much, the Alexander Palace is a 2-story building with wings on both sides. There’s a Corinthian colonnade of two rows, and on the park side the façade of the building is shaped as a semi-rotunda with a spherical cupola. The great Italian architect Jacomo Quarengi, who designed that palace, also created the interiors of the Majestic Suite of Rooms. Although during the Second World War the territory on which the Alexander Palace was located was occupied by the German fascists, all the rooms are well preserved.

And if the luxurious Cathrine Palace, which was part of the Tsarskoye Selo architectural ensemble - Rastrelli’s baroque masterpiece – was destroyed in compliance with the fascists’ plans, the Alexander Palace survived because the fascists’ headquarters was housed in its premises. After the war the palace was given to the disposal of the Soviet Naval Department.

Many things, including paintings, furniture pieces, icons, porcelain items, and carpets, which the Romanov family used after the collapse of the Russian monarchy, waiting for the decision on their fate, are well preserved too. For example, the coloured clothed image of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, will be again put on display in the new exposition. Her tragic fate resembles the fate of the Russian Empress: during the Great French Revolution Marie-Antoinette was beheaded, the keeper of the Alexander Palace Yelena Artemyeva says.

The Gobelin tapestry, “Marie Antoinette”, is what the Russian Empress received as a present from the former French president Emil Lube. The point is that at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century Tsar Nicholas II and his wife often visited Paris. In Versailles in France the Russian Empress saw this portrait of Marie-Antoinette, which was made by Vigee-Lebrun. Another portrait, produced by a Gobelin tapestry manufacture, was brought to Russia by Emil Lube and given to the Russian empress as a present. She didn’t qualify his gesture as a sinister sign, and instead of putting it in the farther corner of her room, she hung the portrait in her main room.

According to the present-day plan, the reconstruction of the Alexander Palace will continue for 3 years. Of course, its exterior outlook will not change, and all technical devices will stay in the basement floor and in the roof space.

Source: The Voice of Russia
18 March, 2011