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

Watercolours of Livadia Palace and Gardens

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Monument to Nikolai Krasnov (1864-1939), unveiled on 9 December in Belgrade, Serbia

This month marks the 155th anniversary of the birth (5 December O.S. 23 November 1864) and the 80th anniversary of the death (8 December 1939) of the famous Russian-Serbian architect Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov.

In 1919, the architect emigrated with his family from the Crimea, lived in Malta for several years, before settling in Belgrade in 1922. For the next seventeen years, Krasnov served as an inspector of the Architectural Division. He left a significant mark in the architecture of present-day Serbia. To this day, the Serbian people deeply revere the memory of the Yalta architect, the architect most famous for Livadia Palace, the Crimea residence of Nicholas II and his family.

On 9th December 2019, celebrations were held in the Serbian capital, which included the opening of the Architect Krasnov exhibition and the unveiling of a monument to Nikolai Krasnov. As part of the Russian delegation, the Livadia Palace Museum took part in the celebrations.

The monument to Krasnov by the sculptor Neboisha Savovich Nes, was unveiled in the park of the Archive of Serbia. The sculptor captured the eminent architect sitting at his desk working on the design of the Archive building.

Krasnov died on 8 December 1939, he was buried in the Russian sector of the Belgrade New Cemetery. The architect’s grave is located near the monument of ‘Russian Glory’, the first monument in the world erected in honour of Emperor Nicholas II and soldiers of the Russian Imperial Army who died in the First World War. 

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Watercolours of Livadia Palace painted by the famous palace architect himself
Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov (1864-1939)

Livadia must have been beautiful when it was an Imperial residence before the First World War. Construction on a new white limestone 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. In November 1911 Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna celebrated her 16th birthday at Livadia.

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

Sadly, on 30th April 30 1918, German troops entered Livadia, who immediately began to plunder the palace. 

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Northern facade of the Livadia Palace
Watercolour by Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov (1864-1939)

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Northern facade of the Livadia Palace
Watercolour by Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov (1864-1939)

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Iron grille gate leading to the Italian courtyard of the Livadia Palace
Watercolour by Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov (1864-1939)

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Gallery of the Italian Courtyard in the Livadia Palace
Watercolour by Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov (1864-1939)

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Gallery of the Italian Courtyard in the Livadia Palace
Watercolour by Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov (1864-1939)

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Corner of the park of the Livadia estate
Watercolour by Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov (1864-1939)

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Corner of the park of the Livadia estate
Watercolour by Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov (1864-1939)

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Arch of blooming roses in the park of the Livadia estate
Watercolour by Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov (1864-1939)

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Laurel gazebo in the park of the Livadia estate
Watercolour by Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov (1864-1939)

© Paul Gilbert. 16 December 2019

‘The Holy Tsar in Crimea’ – vintage newsreels from Livadia, 1902-1914

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In 2018, a DVD entitled ‘Святой Царь в Крыму (Ливадия, 1902-1914)’ / Tr. ‘The Holy Tsar in Russia. Livadia, 1902-1914)’ was issued in Russia. The release of the DVD was timed to the 100th anniversary of the death of Emperor Nicholas II, on 17th July 1918.

The 36-minute DVD is a compilation of 24 newsreels, all filmed at Livadia, the Imperial estate and residence of the last Tsar and his family. All 24 newsreels are accompanied by pre-revolutionary marches and waltzes.

We see vintage newsreel footage of Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and their five children, set against the backdrop of the old wooden palaces in Livadia, and after 1911, set against the backdrop of Nikolai Krasnov’s elegant white Crimea granite palace Neo-Renaissance-style, which has survived to this day.

The vintage newsreels feature a variety of events at Livadia, including the celebration of the birthday of Empress Alexandra Fedorovna and Holy Easter, White Flower Day, parades and receptions. They are surrounded by officers, Court officials, and members of their extended family, including the Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses, Count Frederiks, Anna Vyrubova, among many others.

The last time the family of Nicholas II visited in Livadia, was in the spring of 1914. They were due to return in the autumn, however, the outbreak of the First World War on 1st August put an end to this visit. 

‘The Holy Tsar in Russia. Livadia, 1902-1914)’ – Part I (duration 18 minutes

‘The Holy Tsar in Russia. Livadia, 1902-1914)’ – Part II (duration 18 minutes

© Paul Gilbert. 27 October 2019

Livadia Hosts Nicholas II Conference, 20-22 October 2019

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Earlier this week, Livadia Palace was the venue for the international conference ‘Crimea and the Fate of the Romanov Dynasty. The Beginning and End of the Reign of Emperor Nicholas II.’

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Grand Duke George Mikhailovich seated under a portrait of Emperor Nicholas II

The conference was attended by leading Russian historians, publicists, archivists and writers. Several descendants of the Romanov dynasty were also present, including Grand Duke George Mikhailovich.

The objective of the conference was to discuss the truth about the Tsar’s family and the and the achievements that Russia made during the reign of Nicholas II.

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Grand Duke George Mikhailovich in the Working Study of Nicholas II

The international conference was timed to the 125th anniversary of the accession to Orthodoxy of Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt – the future Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and the 100th anniversary of the escape of members of the Russian Imperial House from Crimea.

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Grand Duke George Mikhailovich seated at the desk of Nicholas II in the Tsar’s Working Study

In addition, this year marks 125 years since the death of Emperor Alexander III in Livadia. Crimea played a crucial role in the fate of the Romanovs, who played an important role in the development of the peninsula.

© Paul Gilbert. 24 October 2019

Unique Photo of the Old Wooden Grand Palace, Livadia

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Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Palace, Livadia. Autumn 1909

This vintage photo depicts Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna at Livadia in the early 20th century. It is set against the old wooden Grand Palace, built in 1861 for Emperor Alexander II and his family, by the architect Ippolit Antonovich Monighetti (1819-1878).

The Church of the Exaltation of the Cross (also by Monighetti) and bell tower can be seen to the right. A gallery connected the church to the palace. The church was small, because it was designed only for the imperial family, and was used by three respective emperors: Alexander II, Alexander III and Nicholas II.

It is known that the Imperial family arrived in Livadia with their children on 5th September 1909. It was during this visit, starting from 27th October, that Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna met with the architect Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov (1864-1939) on numerous occasions, to discuss in detail the design of their new white palace, and the decoration of its halls and other rooms. The August couple approved the design on 12th December, just 4 days before leaving Livadia for St. Petersburg.

The old wooden Grand Palace was demolished in 1910, to make way for a new Italian Neo-Renaissance style stone palace, which would serve as the residence of Nicholas II and his family during their visits to Crimea. The Imperial family visited their new white palace in the fall of 1911 and 1913 and in the spring of 1912 and 1914.

© Paul Gilbert. 20 October 2019