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Messages - Cathy

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Having Fun! / Re: Like or Dislike?
« on: March 12, 2009, 03:50:32 PM »
Not really!
What about water towers?

Rob - my thoughts are with you and your family.  My sincere condolences.

Oh Vladimir - I knew it may happen because of the terrible economy but I am disappointed - it was one I was really looking forward to - from a pile of rubble to the glories of the past :-)

The Russian Revolution / Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« on: February 27, 2009, 07:57:40 PM »
Information only - no opinions!

The Russian Revolution / Re: No Stalin, no Hitler?
« on: February 27, 2009, 07:34:47 PM »
Description of Katyn:
The award winning PBS documentary presenting the mass murder of more then 15,000 Polish Army officers and civilians by the Soviet NKVD; attempts to blame the crime on the Nazis; the overwhelming evidence pointing to Moscow; the complex conspiracy of the U.S. and England to cover it up. A story no novelist could conceive...but everything actually happened. Includes reenactments and actual graphic footage.

And a part of the NYT article:
..."The chaos and terror form a living tableau of Poland’s terrible predicament in the middle of the last century, when it was caught in the pincers of two toxic strains of European totalitarianism. In 1939 Hitler and Stalin pledged mutual nonaggression, a pact that lasted long enough for their armies to collude in the destruction of Polish sovereignty.
In the spring of 1940 the Soviets proceeded with the “liquidation” of the Polish officer corps, shooting nearly 15,000 men in Katyn Forest, including Mr. Wajda’s father, and burying them in mass graves. As Mr. Wajda makes clear, the intent was not simply to destroy Poland’s military command but also to purge its population of engineers, intellectuals and other citizens whose education and expertise might help the country to function independently.
The Nazis, meanwhile, contributed to this project by shutting down universities and rounding up professors. Just as one character, the army captain Andrzej (Artur Zmijewski), awaits his fate at the hands of the Russians, his father, a professor in Krakow, falls into the hands of the SS.
Afterward, when the Nazis and the Soviets resumed their customary aggression, each used the other’s barbarity for propaganda. The Germans dug up the bodies in Katyn and promoted themselves as protectors of the Poles against Bolshevik terror. When the tide of war turned, the Red Army repeated the exercise, blaming Hitler and fudging the dates of the massacre so it could be added to the list of German atrocities.
After the war the falsified Russian version of history was enforced by the usual police-state means. Even as the truth about Katyn continued to haunt Poles’ memories, it became, for much of the rest of the world, a hazy footnote, a symbol of Poland’s enduring historical bad luck."

On the north side of St. Petersburg Prospekt, odd #s, east of #25 (approx. 1 block east of St. Peter and Paul Cathedral) is the monument to the victims of the revolution. This area was previously known as the theatrical area because the emperor's theatre building was located on it. The construction of the building relates to the time of Nicholas I when the regimental menage located in the area was altered into the theatre. In Alexander III time the theatre was extended for the ceremonial plays during the wedding of Xenia. The theatre was attached to the lateral galleries whose external walls represented open trellises. The trellis were later taken away to leave open spaces between the columns of the facade. The rich internal decorations allowed for 600 seats. Plays were only performed in the summer. In 1910 it burned down and allowed to become smouldering ruins for a year. It was then leveled and replaced by 2 small fountains enclosed by an iron latice fence. On the 10th anniversary of the revolution a monument was erected to honour A. Shavarts and N. Arkhipov. 

Valentina was a babushka and spoke excellent English :-) It continues to amaze me how many people in Russia speak English.

Palaces in St. Petersburg / Re: The Tauride Palace
« on: February 26, 2009, 02:38:36 PM »
The Tauride Palace is not open for tourist viewing. But the water tower across the street is a worthwhile museum. And from the windows one does have a nice view down to the gardens.

On your visits - take a moment to notice and talk to the employees; they are wonderfully dedicated people and quite knowledgeable. An attendant, Valentina, featured in the Dutch film 'Hermitage Niks' was very kind and gracious, taking time to talk with us.

The Alexander Palace / Re: Was this room in the Alexander Palace?
« on: February 23, 2009, 08:50:32 AM »
Is this one of the transoms behind Alexandra?

Yes, I think that it is the transom in the Maple Drawing room.

Tsarskoe Selo Palaces / Re: Ropsha Palace
« on: February 22, 2009, 01:39:37 PM »
Wonderful pictures of Ropsha!  Sad to see it in such ruins.  I believe that Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna and her husband Grand Duke Alexander spent part of their honeymoon here.

Xenia and her first cousin once removed, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia wedded on August 6, 1894. They spent their wedding night at Ropsha Palace and their honeymoon at Ai-Todor (Alexander’s estate in Crimea).

Palaces in St. Petersburg / Re: The Tauride Palace
« on: February 22, 2009, 08:36:05 AM »
Paul hated his mother Catherine so the Tauride Palace became synonymous with his hatred - it was looted by Paul and then neglected. Many interiors deteriorated beyond repair. He turned it into a barracks and stables for the Horse Guards. Alexander I restored the palace although it was so defaced that it had to be practically rebuilt.

Since that time it was used to accommodate foreign ambassadors and princes.

Later in the 19th century the gardens between the main facade and the Neva were sold and factories and water towers began to obstruct the river approach. 

In 1905 it was again remodelled for the Imperial Duma.

Palaces in St. Petersburg / Re: The Tauride Palace
« on: February 21, 2009, 07:23:25 PM »
Hi, do you know who lived in the palace between 1850 and 1917?

In 1906 Russia's first parliament , the State Duma, was convened there. Home of the State Duma 1906 - 1917.

Other Palaces / Re: Visiting the Palaces Individually.
« on: February 21, 2009, 07:13:42 PM »
Robert, I agree that the summer may be hot, full of mosquitoes and crowded!!
It is worth it to note that it is best to try to see the Catherine Palace early in the morning because the line for individual entry is long. And sometimes closed - the tour groups that get in from the back entrance definitely have priority.
Last I heard - Oranienbaum was closed for restoration so it may be a good idea to check before going!

Pavlovsk is 6 kms. south of the town of TS - one can drive or be driven in a car, take a mini bus or the train or walk!!

I love the town of TS and have lived there for 6 weeks over 2 visits - it needed that much time to appreciate its history.

But I think that I would recommend Pavlovsk (my 2nd love) and Peterhof for shorter visits/tours.

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