If I Were a Tsarina

Today, Lindsay, Eino and I went to Pushkin, a small town located a half hour outside of Saint Petersburg. It was originally named Tsarskoye Selo after the large summer palace built there for the Tsars but was changed in 1937 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pushkins death. (People here seriously love Pushkin and most can recite Eugene Onegin from memory).

We wanted to go inside Catherine’s Palace but the line was so long that there would be no way we could get in before the museum closed. Disappointed about not being able to see the Amber Room but still excited to be in Pushkin,  we walked around the gardens for four hours, in 30 degree weather. I was a popsicle by the end.

It was mind-blowing to think of the wealth that the Tsars possessed and the frivolity with which they spent it. Entire parks were fabricated, entire palaces built and then re-fabricated and re-built to cater to the whims of the new tsar or tsarina. On the one hand, they created some magnificent pieces of architecture, built up impressive art collections and generally (along with other nobles) funded the advancement of art and culture in Russia and abroad. It’s just sad that it had to come at the expense of the wellness of a great number of their people.

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