The Emperor’s Fishing Lodge at Langinkoski marks 130th anniversary

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View of the Imperial Fishing Lodge, Langinkoski

Emperor Alexander III became infatuated with the place and wanted to have a fishing lodge built at Langinkoski, which the imperial family visited several times. The fishing lodge, which was completed in 1889, is today the only preserved building outside Russia that was owned by the Emperor. In 2019, the Imperial Fishing Lodge marks its 130th anniversary.

The Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich (future Emperor Alexander III) visited Langinkoski for the first time in 1880 with his consort, the Danish Princess Dagmar (future Empress Maria Feodorovna). After ascending to the Russian imperial throne, Alexander III visited Langinkoski again. He was infatuated with the place and expressed a wish that a fishing lodge be built for him at Langinkoski Rapids.

The Emperor’s wish came true. Architect Magnus Schjerfbeck (1860-1933) prepared the drawings of the fishing lodge, and architect Johan Jacob Ahrenberg (1847-1914) was in charge of interior design. Compared to the imperial court, the lodge was simple and intended for summer use only. Langinkoski was the Emperor’s refuge, where he withdrew from the luxury and formalities of the court. The interior and items in the lodge offered Finnish applied arts and industry an opportunity to present their products. The textiles were made by Tampella, the dishes by Arabia, and the glasses were blown at the local Karhula glassworks.

The fishing lodge was inaugurated in a grand ceremony on 15 July 1889. Local residents brought flowers and sang. When the Emperor came onto the veranda, a 30-gun salute was fired. In the evening, a banquet was held on the imperial yacht, during which the Emperor raised his glass to toast Finland. The imperial family enjoyed great popularity in Finland.

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Interior of the Imperial Fishing Lodge

Alexander visited Langinkoski almost annually. He liked to spend time in the countryside. The river bed was equipped with steel nets and bars to prevent salmon released into it from escaping so that the Emperor could catch them. The Empress, who was known as a sweet and gentle person, sometimes wanted to prepare lunch herself. In the evenings, there were meals, bonfires, firework displays, music and salutes, and sometimes trips were made with horses. The Emperor had three professional fishermen. They came to Langinkoski in May every year and returned home to the Tver government after the fishing season.

Alexander and his family visited Langinkoski for the last time on 21 and 22 July 1894. After returning home, the Emperor learnt that he had nephritis. He did not recover from the disease, but died at the end of the same year. A memorial stone was erected at Langinkoski to remember the Emperor.

After Alexander’s death, his son took the throne as Nicholas II. He did not like to spend time at Langinkoski. People at Langinkoski looked forward to a visit by the imperial family, but the last Emperor of Russia stopped by only once, in September 1906. From time to time, the fishing lodge was visited by other members of the imperial family or high officials.

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Orthodox chapel on the grounds of the Imperial Fishing Lodge

During the First World War, the fishing lodge served as a convalescent home for wounded Russian soldiers as the Dowager Empress had suggested. Russians also built a base at Langinkoski, with trenches, firing nests and dugouts. Some trenches are still to be seen, but the other structures have disappeared over the years.

In 1917, the disorder in Russia also affected Langinkoski. The bronze trimmings of the Emperor’s memorial stone were ransacked, and rebellious soldiers vented their anger on the stone. A Russian private perhaps detonated a hand grenade against it. However, the memorial stone may also have been destroyed in later clashes or during the blasting relating to fortification works. The caretaker of the fishing lodge managed to hide most of its contents. During the Finnish Civil War in April 1918, a unit of the Kotka Red Guards settled at Langinkoski. However, they soon fled as the Whites and Germans advanced.

When Finland became independent in 1917, Langinkoski was taken over by the State of Finland. The Imperial Fishing Lodge soon fell into decay, and some people regarded it as a humiliating reminder of the Russian era. The lodge would probably have been destroyed, had it not been for the Kymenlaakso Museum Society (now the Langinkoski Society) who began to restore it. The lodge was opened as a museum to the public in 1933. Many items had been removed from the lodge, but a considerable proportion of them have been traced and returned to the museum.

The Imperial Fishing Lodge is open to the public from 2 May – 31 August.

© Metsähallitus / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 May 2019

Monument to Alexander III to be established in Gatchina

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Sculpture of Alexander III by Vladimir Brodarsky 

The Russian Historical Society (RIO) has announced the results of a competition to establish a monument to Emperor Alexander III, to be installed in the courtyard of Gatchina Palace, situated about 48 km south of St. Petersburg.

The winner of the competition is the Russian sculptor Vladimir Brodarsky, a graduate of the St. Petersburg State Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after I. Ye. Repin. One of the works of the young artist was recently presented at the Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art – he embodied Rembrandt’s The Prodigal Son in sculpture for installation in the Russian pavilion.

Project competition

RIO Chairman Sergei Naryshkin, noted that it was the Gatchina Museum-Reserve who initiated the idea to install a monument to Alexander III in the courtyard of the restored Arsenal Square. The Russian Historical Society and the Russian Military Historical Society announced a competition in May of last year. Call for applications was opened on 1st June 2018, in which four applications were submitted to the competition.

According to the rules of the competition, entries were required to create a monument based on the surviving first sketches of the monument to Emperor Alexander III by sculptor Paolo Trubetskoy (1866-1938), depicting the monarch sitting in a chair. Trubetskoy is well known for his equestrian statue of the emperor, which is now located in the main courtyard of the Marble Palace in St. Petersburg.

Georgy Vilinbakhov, Deputy Director General of the State Hermitage Museum for Scientific Work, noted that the Brodarsky project is closer to Trubetskoy’s plan compared to other projects participating in the competition.

Alexander III in Gatchina 

“Alexander III spent a significant part of his life here, within the walls of Gatchina Palace: here he was engaged in public affairs, spent time with his family and was involved in the activities of the Russian Historical Society, of which he was honorary chairman”, said Naryshkin.

Vasily Pankratov, director of the Gatchina State Museum-Reserve, expressed the hope that the monument’s installation will be implemented by March 2020, when the 175th anniversary of the birth of Alexander III will be celebrated.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 15 May 2019

VIDEO: Alexander III Monument in Livadia

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, a number of monuments to Emperor Alexander III (1845-1894), who ruled Russia for little more than 13 years, have been established across Russia.

The most impressive monument to the “Tsar Peacemaker” has to be the gargantuan monument established on the grounds of Livadia Palace in Crimea in November 2017.

The four-meter-high bronze monument by Russian sculptor Andrey Kovalchuk, depicts Alexander III sitting on a stump, his stretched arms resting on a sabre. An inscription repeats his famous words: “У России только два союзника — ее армия и флот” (“Russia has only two allies: the Army and the Navy”).

The monument to the emperor was installed on the site where the Maly (Small) Livadia Palace was built in the 19th century. The palace was a summer retreat for Alexander III and his family, and it was here that he died at the age of 49. During World War II the palace was destroyed by Nazi invaders.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the gala unveiling ceremony on 18th November 2017 (see above photo), who referred to Alexander III as “an outstanding statesman, a man of strong character, courage and inflexible will.”

Putin added that while Alexander III was often called the “peacemaker” because he waged no large-scale wars while leading the empire from 1881-1894, he “gave Russia 13 years of peace not by yielding but by a fair and unwavering firmness”.

He added that the emperor had modernized the military and begun construction of the Trans-Siberian railway.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 9 May 2019

On This Day: the Russian Museum of His Imperial Majesty Alexander III Opens in St. Petersburg

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Artist: Karl Osipovich Broz

On This Day: 19th [O.S. 7th] March 1898, the Russian Museum of His Imperial Majesty Alexander III officially opened in St. Petersburg.

The museum was established in the Mikhailovsky Palace, a splendid Neoclassical residence of Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich (1798-1849).

The museum was established on 13th April 1895, upon enthronement of Nicholas II to commemorate his father, Alexander III. Its original collection was composed of artworks taken from the Hermitage Museum, Alexander Palace, and the Imperial Academy of Arts.

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the museum and its collection were nationalized and renamed the State Russian Museum. Today, the museum is the world’s largest depository of Russian art with more than 400,000 items.

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Bust of Alexander III on the main staircase of the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

The portrait (above) depicts Emperor Nicholas II and his mother the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, standing before the bust of Alexander III, located on the main staircase of the museum. Several years ago, the bust was returned to its original place on the staircase of the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.

© Paul Gilbert. 18 March 2019

 

4 New Romanov Monuments Established in Russia

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Monument to Emperor Peter I (1672-1725) in Rostov-on-Don

While more and more statues and busts of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin continue to be erased from the Russian landscape, no less than four new monuments to Russian monarchs were established in various cities across Russia during the past week.

On 11th September, a monument to Emperor Peter I (1672-1725) was established in the city of Rostov-on-Don. The bronze monument depicts the figure of a Cossack giving the emperor a cup of spring water. Peter the Great is depicted in the clothes of the Preobrazhensky Regiment. 

The composition – which weighs 2 tons – was created by the famous Rostov sculptor Sergei Oleshnya, the author of the famous monument to Empress Elizabeth Petrovna in Pokrovsky Square and many other sculptures in the city. 

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Monument to the Emperor Alexander II (1818-1881) in Bernovo

On 12th September, a monument to the Emperor Alexander II (1818-1881) was established in Bernovo, a village in the Staritsky district of the Tver region.

The establishment of a monument to the Tsar-Liberator, has been a long-standing dream of Alexander Yakovlevich Volnukhin – local historian, honorary citizen Tver region, a true patriot and faithful son of old Russia.  

In 1912, residents of the Bernovo district established a bronze bust of the emperor in the center of the village, showing their gratitude for liberation from serfdom. The bust was removed during the Soviet years, leaving just a pedestal, however, drawings and documents have been preserved in the archives.

The initiators of the restoration of the monument were Alexander Volnukhin, patron Pavel Shidlovsky with the support of the administration of the Staritssky district, the administration of the Bernovo village, the association of the Tver country communities, and the Bernovo orthodox parish.

The dean of the Torzhok and Staritsa districts, Protopriest Nikolai, performed the ceremony of consecration of the newly restored monument.

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Monument to the Emperor Alexander III (1845-1894) in Korenovsk

On 14th September, a monument to the Emperor Alexander III (1845-1894) was established in Korenovsk, a town  located in the North Caucasus region in southern Russia. 

Documents in the State Archives of the Krasnodar Region, show that Emperor Alexander III and his family visited Korenovsk on 21 September 1888. The emperor’s journey was dedicated to the opening of the new rail line connecting Tikhoretsk to Novorossiysk, stopping at Korenovskaya Station, where he met with local Cossacks.

130 years later, a monument in honour of Alexander III’s visit was established on the square in front of the Korenovsk Station. The initiator of the project was the hereditary Cossack and ataman (1997-2011) of the Korenovsky RKO Mikhail Sergeevich Timchenko. The bust was made by the sculptor Emil Mazmanyan, the pedestal was made in the workshop of Mikhail Serdyukov. 

The monument carries a famous quote that it attributes to Emperor Alexander III: “Russia has two allies — its army and the navy.”

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Monument to the Empress Catherine II (1729-1796), in Morshansk,

On 16th September, a monument to the Empress Catherine II (1729-1796), was established in Morshansk, a town in the Tambov region. 

The monument was established by the Russian Military Historical Society. The tablet on the pedestal reads “Mother Empress Catherine II – the founder of the city of Morshansk.” The bust itself, made by the sculptor Denis Stritovich, is an exact copy of the work of the sculpture academician of the Petersburg Academy of Arts Samuel Halberg, which was presented to the city in 1879. The original bust, which was saved in the post-revolutionary years, is today part of the permanent collection of the Morshansk Historical and Art Museum. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 18 September 2018

 

Monument to Emperor Alexander III Planned for Gatchina

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Back in May of this year, the Russian Historical Society together with the Russian Military Historical Society announced an international competition for the implementation of a monument to Emperor Alexander III. 

Participants are required to create a monument based on the original sketches of a monument to Emperor Alexander III created by the famous sculptor Paolo Petrovich Troubetzkoy (1866-1938).

Troubetzkoy created two monuments to Alexander III, but only one was completed: the famous equestrian statue of Alexander III, originally established on Znamenskaya Square (now – Ploshchad Vosstaniya) in St. Petersburg (1909). Today the monument stands in the courtyard of the Marble Palace. 

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Troubetzkoy’s equestrian monument of Alexander III, in the courtyard of the Marble Palace

The basis for the new monument is to complete Troubetzkoy’s unfinished second project where the emperor is depicted in an armchair (see photo at top of page), originally created in 1900.

The new Alexander III monument will be installed in the courtyard of the Arsenal Square of the Grand Palace at Gatchina. “The favourite residence of Alexander III was Gatchina, and I consider it historical justice to establish a monument to him there,” said the Chairman of the Russian Historical Society Sergei Naryshkin. 

The results of the competition will be announced at the end of September 2018.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 August 2018

 

State Russian Museum Establishes Monument to Founding Emperors

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This article was researched from Russian media sources and written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2018

On 15th March, the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg, established a monument to its two founding emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II.

The monument, which was established in the courtyard of the museum, was designed by the Russian sculptor Ilya Dyukov. It features a granite base with bronze portraits of the two emperors, and the text of the decree on the establishment of the museum, published in April 1895. 

The monument was established on the eve of the 120th anniversary of the birth of the State Russian Museum. The main building of the museum is the former Mikhailovsky Palace,  a splendid Neoclassical residence of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich (1798-1849), constructed between 1819-1825. Upon the death of the Grand Duke the residence was named after his wife as the Palace of the Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, and became famous for its many theatrical presentations and balls.

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The museum was established on 25 (O.S. 13) April 1895, by Emperor Nicholas II and renamed the Russian Museum of Emperor Alexander III, in honour of his father, who was a great patron of Russian art. The museum was officially opened on 19 (O.S. 7)  March 1898. The following day, the museum received its first visitors, and over time would acquire a rich collection of art and sculpture. After the 1917 Revolution, many private collections were nationalized and relocated to the renamed State Russian Museum. 

Today it is the world’s largest depository of Russian art, a unique and beautiful architectural complex of palaces and gardens in the heart of St Petersburg, with a collection of more than 410 thousand items. 

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 17 March 2018