August 30, 2021

A Revolutionary Restoration


A Revolutionary Restoration
The palace is beautiful, but that clear Petersburg sky is the real gem. Alexander2018, Wikimedia Commons

Since 2012, the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, just south of St. Petersburg, has been under renovation. Now visitors can once again get a look (and take a selfie) at the last home of the Romanovs.

The renovations, which included the refurbishing of thirteen interiors, seek to portray the palace as it was during the Russian Revolution. Those visiting the palace can see where Nicholas II, after abdicating the throne in March 1917, lived with his family before being taken to Siberia, a journey from which they wouldn't return. Wander through the Romanovs' sitting rooms, offices, libraries, and bedrooms, and try not to think about those pesky communists.

The renovations also make Alexander Palace a must-see in the town of Tsarskoe Selo, a name that literally means "Tsar's Village." This was the nineteenth-century equivalent of today's Martha's Vineyard, where the upper-upper classes would go to get away from the rigors of city life, an idyll complete with monuments to themselves, fake ruins, a school for the nobility (Pushkin's alma mater), and even a faux-Chinese village.

It's also the only palace to have its own Faberge Egg:

faberge alexander palace
A tiny palace for tiny Romanovs. | Shakko, Wikimedia Commons

 

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