Happy Orthodox Christmas

January 7

Today – 7th January – Orthodox Christians around the world
celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

Merry Christmas to my Orthodox friends!

Счастливого Рождества моим православным друзьям!

Срећан Божић мојим православним пријатељима!

Καλά Χριστούγεννα στους Ορθόδοξους φίλους μου!

PAUL GILBERT
7 January 2020

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Olga Taratynova on the restoration of the Alexander Palace

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Director of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Olga Taratynova

According to the Director of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Olga Taratynova, historic documents and photographs have been extremely useful resources for restorers in the recreation of the private apartments of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in the Alexander Palace.

In the summer of 2020, eight rooms located on the first floor of the east wing of the Alexander Palace will open to visitors – the result of almost five years of work. The building was seriously damaged not so much from the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), but as a result of the destruction of the palace during the Soviet years. Experts are currently attempting to restore the interiors as close to their historic original as possible.

As Olga Taratynova, noted during a recent interview with The Art Newspaper Russia, almost 90% of the private apartments of Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna will be recreated. The scrupulous use of all available iconographic material has been utilized to aid restorers to bring the project to fruition. “It was decided to restore the interiors as they looked at the beginning of the 20th century,” said Olga Taratynova. “We hope that the Alexander Palace will become as popular as the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo.”

The Alexander Palace was commissioned by the Empress Catherine II in the early 1790s for her beloved grandson, Tsearevich and Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich (the future emperor Alexander I), by the architect Giacomo Quarenghi. In 1905, Nicholas II made the palace his permanent residence, and it was then that the interiors underwent major changes – they were adapted for life in accordance with the fashion of their time, sadly little of the early 20th century interiors have been preserved.

In August, immediately after the Imperial Family were sent into exile to Tobolsk, the famous art historian Georgy Lukomsky took numerous photographs of the interiors – black and white and color, the so-called auto-chromes. These along with newsreels taken during the Soviet years, have provided restorers the basic material for their work.

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The eastern wing will house the Museum of the Russian Imperial Family in the Alexander Palace

Not long after the departure of the Imperial Family for Siberia, a museum was established within the Alexander Palace. It operated until the beginning of the Great Patriotic War (1941-45). From 1951, the Ministry of Defence occupied the building until 2009, when the palace was transferred to the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Preserve.

In the autumn of 2015, the palace was completely closed for restoration. The project of reconstruction, technical re-equipment and adaptation was the studio of Nikita Yavein Studio 44, the general contractor was LLC PSB ZhilStroy.

According to the Chief Architect of the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum Maria Ryadova, the project for reconstructing the interiors had to be adjusted after the Lukomsky autochromes were acquired for the museum at an auction in Paris in 2012. “When we saw these colour photographs, we saw for the first time, exactly how the apartments actually looked in 1917,” said Maria Ryadova. “Unfortunately, the ceiling lights and floors were not visible in them, therefore, we left them the way they were.”

Aside from the numerous photographs of the interiors, were the preserved albums with samples of fabrics for decorating walls and furniture. This made it possible to recreate the upholstery as accurately as possible. The room-by-room inventories made by Vsevolod Yakovlev, the keeper of the palace, have also survived to this day. Restorers had many doubts about the Moorish Bathroom of Nicholas II (after the military vacated the palace in 2009, only the plastered walls remained). But when work began on the room, excavation of the floor revealed fragments of ceramics. A vintage Soviet newsreel showed the general appearance of the room. As a result, the interior of this room has been restored in all its beauty and with historical authenticity.

The first eight rooms are now scheduled to open to visitors in the summer of 2020. A total of 14 rooms will be restored in the eastern wing of the Alexander Palace, which will be known as the Museum of the Russian Imperial Family in the Alexander Palace. All work in the palace will be completed by 2022.

Click HERE to review 14 additional articles on the history and restoration of the Alexander Palace, which include a total of 110 photos + 2 videos

© Paul Gilbert. 5 January 2020

Street in Crimea named in honour of Nicholas II

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A street leading to the Livadia Palace has been named in honour of Emperor Nicholas II. It is the first street in Russia named in honour of Russia’s last sovereign.

No. 1 Nicholas II Street is home to the Embassy of the Russian Empire, a multimedia project that features three exhibitions: Crimea in the fate of Russia; Nicholas II Living Pictures and The Holy Warriors of Russia.

Construction on Livadia Palace began on 21 January 1910, and after 17 months of construction, the palace was inaugurated on 11 September 1911. Emperor Nicholas II spent about 4 million gold rubles on the palace.

The Imperial family visited Livadia in the fall of 1911 and 1913 and in the spring of 1912 and 1914.

© Paul Gilbert. 5 January 2019

The End of Royal Russia

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Please take a moment to review my new professional page,
which includes photos, a video and links

After 25+ years, Royal Russia is no more. I have permanently closed my Royal Russia web site and news blog. My Royal Russia Facebook page will automatically be deleted on 12th January. I will, however, continue to publish my popular semi-annual journal Royal Russia.

I will now be devoting my time and resources to the full-time study of the life, reign and era of Russia’s last emperor and tsar. You can follow my research on my ‘Nicholas II’ blog, and my personal Facebook page. I will also continue to publish my semi-annual journal Sovereign as well as new book titles.

My blog ‘Nicholas II. Emperor. Tsar. Saint’ received more than 70,000 hits in 2019. I will continue to post articles and news from Russian media sources throughout 2020.

I am also looking forward to hosting the 2nd International Nicholas II Conference on Saturday 15th May 2021, at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, New York.

Thank you to each and every one of you who have followed and supported me and my work over the past 25 years. Today marks the beginning of the next page of my personal journey, please join me!

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© Paul Gilbert. 3 January 2020

 

New outdoor portrait of Nicholas II appears in Serbia’s capital

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Another monumental portrait image of Tsar Nicholas II has appeared in the Serbian capital of Belgrade

With the blessing of Archpriest Vladimir Levichanin, the image of Nicholas II has been painted on the wall of the parish house of the Church of St. George the Great Martyr, located on Voyvodzhanskaya Street in New Belgrade.

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The tradition of historical murals and street art is popular in the Serbian capital, but this is the first such case that an image of such a high artistic style has appeared on a building belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church.

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The creator of the portrait is the famous Belgrade artist Milan Milosavljevich, who wanted to donate his work to the church, in which he could portray Emperor Nicholas II, who is especially revered in Serbia. One of the initiators of the project is the Serbian book publisher Nikola Drobnyakovich.

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Currently, there is Tsar Nicholas II Street in Belgrade, and in the very center of the city there is a majestic monument to the last Russian emperor and patron of the Serbian people.

© Paul Gilbert. 2 January 2020