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[2006-09-07] The Romanovs
For the first few generations, the Romanovs were happy to maintain the statusquo in Russia. They continued to centralize power, but they did very little to bring Russia up to speed with the rapid changes in economic and political life that were taking place elsewhere in Europe. Peter the Great decided to change all of that. Peter the GreatPeter was his father's youngest son and the child of his second wife, neither of which promised great things. Tsar Alexis also had three children by his first wife: Feodor, an invalid; Sophia; and Ivan, a semi-imbecile. When Alexis died in 1676 Feodor becam [...]
[2006-09-07] Ancient Russia
The early history of Russia, like those of many countries, is one of migrating peoples and ancient kingdoms. In fact, early Russia was not exactly "Russia," but a collection of cities that gradually coalesced into an empire. I n the early part of the ninth century, as part of the same great movement that brough the Danes to England and the Norsemen to Western Europe, a Scandanavian people known as the Varangians crossed the Baltic Sea and landed in Eastern Europe. The leader of the Varangians was the semilegendary warrior Rurik, who led his people in 862 to the city of Novgorod on the Volkhov [...]
[2006-09-07] The Mongols and the Emergence of Moscow
Kievan Rus' struggled on into the 13th century, but was decisively destroyed by the arrival of a new invader--the Mongols. In 1237 Batu Khan, a grandson of Jenghiz Khan, launched an invasion into Kievan Rus' from his capital on the lower Volga (at present-day Kazan). Over the next three years the Mongols (or Tatars) destroyed all of the major cities of Kievan Rus' with the exceptions of Novgorod and Pskov. The regional princes were not deposed, but they were forced to send regular tribute to the Tatar state, which became known as the Empire of the Golden Horde. Invasions of Russia were attempt [...]
[2006-09-07] Napoleon's Invasion of Russia
In June of 1812, Napoleon began his fatal Russian campaign, a landmark in the history of the destructive potential of warfare. Virtually all of continental Europe was under his control, and the invasion of Russia was an attempt to force Tsar Alexander I to submit once again to the terms of a treaty that Napoleon had imposed upon him four years earlier. Having gathered nearly half a million soldiers, from France as well as all of the vassal states of Europe, Napoleon entered Russia at the head of the largest army ever seen. The Russians, under Marshal Kutuzov, could not realistically hope to de [...]
[2006-09-07] The Path to Revolution
Since the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the Russian Tsars had followed a fairly consistent policy of drawing more political power away from the nobility and into their own hands. This centralization of authority in the Russian state had usually been accomplished in one of two ways--either by simply taking power from the nobles and braving their opposition (Ivan the Terrible was very good at this), or by compensating the nobles for decreased power in government by giving them greater power over their land and its occupants. Serfdom, as this latter system was known, had increased steadily in Russi [...]
[2006-09-07] The Soviet Era
The first few years of Soviet rule were marked by an extraordinary outburst of social and cultural change. Although the Bolsheviks had maintained complete control of the economy during the civil war, Lenin decided at its end that a partial return to a market economy would help the country recover from the destruction of the previous three years. His New Economic Policy, or NEP, brought about a period of relative prosperity, allowing the young Soviet government to consolidate its political position and rebuild the country's infrastructure. This was also the period during which the Russian Avant [...]
[2006-09-07] Russian Art & Architecture
From icons and onion domes to suprematism and the Stalin baroque, Russian art and architecture seems to many visitors to Russia to be a rather baffling array of exotic forms and alien sensibilities. Without any sense of the rich tradition of Russian culture, an appreciation of the country's enormous artistic wealth becomes a game of historical anecdote--"the church where so-and-so took refuge from what's-his-name"--or a meaningless collection of aesthetic baubles--"I like the blue domes the best." In fact, Russian art and architecture are not nearly so difficult to understand as many people th [...]
[2006-09-07] Russia Outdoors
It would be easy to spend several decades getting to know Russia's great cities alone, but visitors should know that there is far more to do in today's Russia. That much of the country consists of spectacular and nearly virgin terrain makes Russia an adventuresome traveller's dream. In the last few years, the Russian government has opened up enormous areas that for decades have been closed to virtually all human visitation. For the truly intrepid, Russia presents a lifetime's worth of unexplored territory. For those whose spirit of adventure is leavened by a taste for relaxation, there are ple [...]
[2006-09-07] Travelling Tips
VisasTravel in Russia has become easier than ever. Remember, however that visas are required. A complete explanation of the process can be found here. WaterWater quality varies widely in Russia. Your best bet is to drink and brush your teeth only with bottled water. Be careful to avoid ice and raw foods and vegetables. CrimeWith the demise of the Soviet police state crime has been rising throughout Russia, however, it is still safer here than in many American cities. Precautions include not flaunting valuables, or walking alone at night through city streets or parks. TaxisIn Russia, taxi [...]
[2006-09-07] Cruising the Waterways of Russia
For most visitors to Russia, its rivers are noticed only while crossing a bridge or strolling along an embankment, as pleasant backdrops to sights that command more attention. To experience Russia only from the land, however, is to miss a central feature of its character, for river travel has stood at the heart of Russian life for millenia. All of the greatest cities of European Russia have since their foundation been intimately associated with the rivers that they adjoin. Moscow, for example, sits at the confluence of the Moskva and the Neglina, and St. Petersburg and Novgorod lay on the Vo [...]
[2006-09-07] Exploring St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is a city of haunting magnificence, an imperial capital that seems to have been built as a monument to its own passing. Less than three centuries have passed since Peter the Great began building his grand city on the Gulf of Finland, but it is difficult to visit its vast, crystalline squares and palaces without feeling the enormity of the gulf that separates that time from our own. All of which, of course, makes St. Petersburg more evocative of Russia's past than any place except perhaps the Moscow Kremlin. This impression is only deepened by a more familiar acquaintance. The en [...]
[2006-09-07] The Cathedrals of St. Petersburg
St. Isaac's CathedralThe weighty mass of St. Isaac's Cathedral dominates the skyline of St. Petersburg. Its gilded dome, covered with 100 kg of pure gold, soars over 100 meters into the air, making it visible far out onto the Gulf of Finland. The Cathedral was commissioned by Alexander I in 1818 and took more than three decades to complete. Its architect, August Monferrand, pulled out all the stops in his design, incorporating dozens of kinds of stone and marble into the enormous structure and lading its vast interior with frescoes, mosaics, bas-reliefs, and the only stained glass window in th [...]
[2006-09-07] The Mariinsky Theatre
Better known in the west as the Kirov Ballet (the name it received during the Soviet era), this historic theater recently returned to its original designation (which honored Alexander II's wife Maria). The Mariinsky was built in 1860 as an opera house, but its reputation rests largely on the ballet that was added to its repetoire two decades later. The apex of its fame was during the earliest days of modern ballet, just after the turn of the century. In fact, the choreographer of the Mariinsky at the time, Michel Fokine (1880-1942) is widely considered to have been the founder of modern balle [...]
[2006-09-07] The Great Russian Arctic
In an age when adventuresome travel is becoming more popular than ever before, Russia is very rapidly becoming a favored destination for those who want to explore the awe-inspiring landscapes of the far north. All across its length, Russia's territory reaches up toward the pole, giving it a broad belt of land laying within the arctic circle. In northeastern Siberia and Kamchatka in particular is found some of the richest and most beautiful terrain in the country--mountains, lakes, and rivers, all abundant in wildlife. Visitors to these regions gain the opportunity to see a much different Rus [...]
[2006-09-07] The Hermitage
With the possible exception of the Louvre, there is no museum in the world that rivals the Hermitage in size and quality. Its collection is so large that it would take years to view it in its entirety--at last count, there were nearly three million works on exhibit. The museum is especially strong in Italian Renaissance and French Impressionist paintings, as well as possessing outstanding collections of works by Rembrandt, Picasso, and Matisse. Visitors should also take advantage of its excellent Greek and Roman antiquities collection and its exhibits of Siberian and Central Asian art. Not lea [...]
[2006-09-07] Russia's Trans-Siberian Railway
For those who travel for the pleasure of the journey, those who believe that getting there is as much fun as being there, Russia's Trans-Siberian Railway has long been an almost mythic experience. It is the longest continuous rail line on earth, each run clattering along in an epic journey of almost six thousand miles (or about ten thousand kilometers) over one third of the globe. For most of its history, the Trans-Siberian journey has been an experience of almost continuous movement, seven days or more of unabated train travel through the vast expanse of Russia. A great part of the pleasure o [...]
[2006-09-07] Baikal The Pearl of Siberia
As the vast evergreen forests of Russia's Siberian taiga extend southward toward Mongolia, the ground rises and the terrain becomes more varied. The border between Siberian Russia and Mongolia is a natural divide here, with rugged hills and mountains forming series of wrinkles between the sprawling Russian forests to the north and rolling grasslands to the south. About midway along this border, in a gigantic stone bowl nearly four hundred miles (636 km) long and almost fifty miles (80 km) wide, lies almost one quarter of the all the fresh water on earth--Lake Baikal. Baikal is easily the lar [...]
[2006-09-07] Restaurants in Moscow
There are many restaurants in Moscow. Even the most demanding gourmets will surely find the restaurant to their taste in the largest city of Russia. Each restaurant presents a certain idea, conception, unusual way of the interior and menu decoration. Every restaurant features the unique style. The level of service in Moscow restaurants is getting so irreproachable that specialists believe some venues of the capital to be highly competitive with the best European examples.Among the guests of Moscow Russian traditional restaurants are the most popular ones. A visit to such a venue could be turne [...]
[2006-09-07] Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow
From the very outset of its existence the Bolshoi Theater was in the center of Moscow cultural life. The State Academic Bolshoi Theater is one of the oldest in the capital of Russia. It was constructed at the beginning of the 19th century and officially opened in 1825. According to the opinions of the contemporaries, the theater was the best in Europe. The troupe of actors that was invited to perform on the stage of the theater formed earlier, in 1776, and that year is recognized as the year of the theater s foundation. The stage of the Bolshoi Theater witnessed such premiers as Life for the T [...]
[2006-09-07] KIEV HOTELS
According to a legend, three brothers - Kiy, Tsheck and Horiv and their sister Lebed founded Kiev on the right bank of the Dnepr River. It was named after the senior brother Kiy. Since the 9th century, it has become the capital of Ancient Russia - Kievskaya Rus. Contemporary capital of Ukraine is one of the biggest cities in Europe. It is an administrative, economic, scientific, cultural and educational centre of independent Ukraine. Kiev is the city of invaluable historical and cultural monuments, of great events and outstanding people. Every guest will find something especially interesting f [...]
NAME ADDRESS OPENED DETAILS AMERICAN CUISINE Boston Burger str. Krasnoarmeyskaya, 114, 252-88-51 from 10:00 till 23:00 Uncle Sam str. Zhilyanskaya, 37, 227-20-00 from 11:30 till 0:00 ENGLISH CUISINE Baskerville Victory pr., 33, 243-48-02 from 11:00 till 1:00 VIETNAMESE CUISINE Long-Fiong str. Naberezhno-Kreshatizkaya, 1à,416-14-87 from 12:00 till 23:00 Saygon str. B. Vasilkosskaya, 55, 244-22-37 from 12:00 till 6:00 Hanoy str. Sitchnevogo Povstannya, 6, 290-32-28, 290-93-98 from 12:00 till 24:00 [...]
[2006-09-07] Kreshatik in Kiev
Kreshatik is the central street of Kiev city. It goes through Starokievskiy and Pecherskiy districts and then from European square to Bessarabian square. At the end of !8th century a part of Kreshatnaya Valley from Horse square (now European square) where horse market usually was held to Proreznaya street is becoming a street with the building only on one (right) side. In 1803 the buildings on the left side also appear. It's interesting that there were only apartment houses there exept the one - the first theater in Kiev built under the project of architect A. Melenskiy in 1802-1805. So in t [...]
The Pecherskaya Lavra monastery was founded in 11 century. The building continued in for about 9 next centuries. The name Pecherskaya comes from the word "peshera" (cave) which were situated there. The monks used to live in these caves before the monastery was built. And Lavra is a noble name, which was mostly given to big and significant monasteries. The architectural ensemble of the monastery even today makes the great impression. In the sunny day the blinks of many domes and belfries are blinding the eyes. The most of the buildings in the monastery date from 17-18 century and are the exam [...]
[2006-09-07] ANDREYEVSKIY SPUSK in Kiev
Andreyevskiy spusk used to be the shortest way from the Upper Town to Podol district. The name comes from the middle of 18th century. The Andreyevskaya Church was established by the Empress Elizaveta Petrovna in 1744. It was constructed in 1753 under V.Rastrelli's project on the top of the hill. It's seen from Podol, old Vozdvizhenskaya street and close mountains. According to the legend, Andrey The Apostle, having visited mountains above Dnepr, put there a cross and also predicted a great future of the city of Kiev. Since that time there were wooden churches. There is also another legend: [...]
[2006-09-07] Vladimirskaya gorka in Kiev
Aleksandrovskiy (Vladimirskiy) steep slope connects the center of Kiev (Kresshatik) with Podol. It was burrowed through the hill's slope in 1707-1. In the beginning of 19th century Vladimirskiy spusk (steep slope) was the only one paved street, so it was called Mostovaya (paved ) street. Late it has become to be known as Alexandrovskiy spusk. [...]
[2006-09-07] Kiev Saint Vladimir Cathedral
In the year of 1852 has stated the idea to construct in Kiev a cathedral, devoted to the 900 anniversary of christening of Russia. Russian Emperor Nikolay The First liked this idea, so the gathering of the donations began around the country. And up to September of 1859 the huge sum of money (about 100 rubles) was gathered. Kievo-pecherskaya Lavra monastery donated 1 million of bricks manufactured on its own factory. The authors of the original project are architects I. Strom (Saint-Petersburg) and P. Sparro (Kiev). Later it was thoroughly processed by the architect A. Beretti. The cathedral [...]
[2006-09-07] Kiev Kirillovskaya Church
The church was built in the middle of 12th century in a distant suburb of Kiev called Drogozhichi. The church founder prince of Tchernigov Vsevolod Olgovitch has taken Kiev by storm during intestine struggle for a great Kiev throne. For the representatives of Olgovitchi dynasty the church served as the country residence and family tomb. Prince Svyatoslav, one of the characters of great Russian medieval poem "A word about prince Igor and his troops", was buried there in the year of 1194. As the time passed the church has come through the periods of desolation, repair and renovation. In 1748-176 [...]
[2006-09-07] Kiev Sophia Cathedral
The Saint Sophia Cathedral was built in 11 century. It is situated in a very heart of the city. There are 260 square meters of mosaics left and 300 square meters of frescoes left through the centuries. It's impossible to find such church with so much frescoes of 11 century left. There are the monastery buildings dating from 17th century and conducted in Ukrainian baroque style around the cathedral. The exterior of the cathedral is still the same. In the end of 18 the iconostasis appeared and in 19th century and iron floor plates. The Saint Sophia of Kiev it's a great treasuries of art, a gre [...]
[2006-09-07] Independence Square in Kiev
The Independence square ("Maidan Nezalezhnosti") is the central square of Kiev-city. Until the end of 10 century this area was covered with woods. A little bit upper there were Lyadskiye Gates which entered the way to the Upper Podol district. In 18th century on the territory of the contemporary Independence square the stony fortress gates were built. They stood there until 1833. At the end of the 18th century and at the beginning of 19th century the square itself was the waste ground called The Goat Mire. There were also defensive shaft, a dam and a water mill. Then the first small wooden and [...]
[2006-09-07] House With Chimaeras in Kiev
The private house of architect V.V.Gorodetskiy was built in 1901-1902. It's the most famous house built during the construction boom in Kiev. Citizens also call it "the house with chimaeras". This house has been always connected with legends, though actually it was just an original form of advertising of new material - cement. Facade of the building is decorated with images of mythical animals and hunting motives also made of cement. Fortunately, "the house with chimaeras" became one of the most recognizable places of Ukrainian capital as the Mariinskiy palace. Appartment house and home of [...]
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