Glimpses of the glit­ter­ing world of the tsars

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Front Page -

sway over one sixth of the earth’s sur­face and the tsars left be­hind them an as­ton­ish­ing legacy – from the en­tire city of St Petersburg, to the trea­sures of the Krem­lin, the Mari­in­sky and Bol­shoi bal­lets, and one of the great­est art col­lec­tions the world has seen.

You can get an in­sight into this im­pe­rial world at a new ex­hi­bi­tion on the con­nec­tions be­tween the Ro­manovs and the Bri­tish Royal fam­ily, which opens at the Queen’s Gallery on Fri­day. Mean­while, an­other at the Science Mu­seum ex­plores the grue­some de­tails of the 1918 mur­ders. But for a true taste of Ro­manov Rus­sia, you need to see it for your­self. Here – in chrono­log­i­cal or­der – is our guide to the legacy of the Ro­manovs. Fol­low­ing false ac­cu­sa­tions of trea­son, the Ro­manovs were ex­iled to re­mote cor­ners of Rus­sia. They even­tu­ally found sanc­tu­ary in­side the walls of the Ipatiev Monastery in Kostroma, one of the an­cient towns of the coun­try’s Golden Ring. It was here that in 1613 Mikhail, the first Ro­manov tsar, re­ceived the news that he had been made Rus­sia’s monarch (ipatievsky-monastery.ru). From Mikhail in 1613 to Ni­cholas II in 1896 the coro­na­tions of all Rus­sia’s Ro­manov monar­chs took place un­der the five gold domes of the As­sump­tion Cathe­dral in Moscow’s Krem­lin. The cathe­dral is also the seat of the Rus­sian Or­tho­dox Church and home to some of the most pre­cious icons and fres­coes in the coun­try. Tick­ets to the Krem­lin Mu­se­ums (£6) in­clude en­try to all the churches in­side the com­plex (kreml. ru/en-Us/about-mu­se­ums/krem­lin). The most am­bi­tious of all the Ro­manovs – Peter the Great – founded the city that was named af­ter him on a windswept swamp. The first build­ing was a small log hut. Con­structed in just three days in 1703 it marks the foun­da­tion of Rus­sia’s new im­pe­rial city. To­day pro­tected from the el­e­ments by a brick pavil­ion, the cabin is open to the pub­lic and forms part of the Rus­sian Mu­seum. Ad­mis­sion: £3 (en.rus­mu­seum.ru/cabin-of-peter-1). The Cather­ine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, just south of St Petersburg, was the Ro­manov sum­mer res­i­dence and its show­piece is Peter the Great’s fa­mous Am­ber Room. The cham­ber con­structed en­tirely from am­ber pan­els and gold leaf was gifted to the tsar by the King of Prus­sia in 1716. What you see is not the orig­i­nal – the first pan­els were looted by the Ger­mans dur­ing the Sec­ond World War – but the re­con­struc­tion, which took 24 years to com­plete. Ad­mis­sion to the palace: £8.50 (eng.tzar.ru). Open­ing at the Queen’s Gallery, Buck­ing­ham Palace on Fri­day, this ex­hi­bi­tion ranges from thank-you jew­els ex­changed fol­low­ing a 100-course ban­quet en­joyed by the fu­ture Ni­cholas I and Wil­liam IV, to works from the col­lec­tion of Ro­manov art as­sem­bled by Ge­orge V as a re­minder of his cousins af­ter their deaths. Un­til April 28 2019. Ad­mis­sion: £12 (roy­al­coll ec­tion.org.uk). The Science Mu­seum has as­sem­bled X-rays of the re­mains of Ni­cholas II and his fam­ily, ex­tracts from their per­sonal di­aries and jew­ellery found at the scene of their mur­der and ex­am­ines the role of foren­sic science in solv­ing the mys­ter­ies sur­round­ing the end of the Ro­manovs. Un­til March 24 2019. Ad­mis­sion free: (science mu­seum.org.uk).

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