January 01, 2015

1715: Peter and the Kunstkamera



1715: Peter and the Kunstkamera

The year 1715 began with several innovations introduced by Tsar Peter I. On January 25 he banned “wailing for the dead” at funerals. In other words, Russians were no longer supposed to express their grief by making a lot of noise, as had been the custom. Apparently this was one of Peter’s many attempts to make Russians behave more like Europeans.

Just a few days later, on February 1, the Kunstkamera was officially established in St. Petersburg, Russia’s first museum designed, for the most part, to resemble the museums that Peter saw in Europe, Holland in particular.

But then, also on January 25 of that year, Peter had issued a decree categorizing failure to inform on anyone committing a crime against the state as the most serious sort of crime. Even priests who learned of a crime through the rite of confession were required to inform the authorities.


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