Tag Archives: Russia

Palatial Baroque Facades, Hiding Slums

7 Feb
Image via travel.webshots.com 

When I think of St. Petersburg, I think of the grandeur of former Imperial Russia; the Czars and Czarinas, their families and servants, palaces, balls, silks, jewels, and countless other details of royal life. St. Petersburg was, until Lenin came to power in the early 20th century, Russia’s capital city, where the royalty often spent their time and entertained guests. I have wanted for so long to visit the remnants of this history, to see the beautiful palace architecture and walk along the cobblestone streets of the old city, dreaming of the wonderful and tragic memories that are hauntingly imprinted there.

That’s how I’ve always imagined it at least. Ever since I saw the animated film Anastasia at age10, and my older sister told me it was based on a true story, I’ve been oddly obsessed with St. Petersburg and the last imperial family to rule Russia before the revolution: the Romanovs. I’ve read countless books and gawked over countless photos detailing their fascinating, and also isolating, lives. I imagined that the palaces and old buildings were still standing relatively undamaged or at least restored after the war, and that they were now tourist attractions empty and open to the public.

Until I read this article/ multimedia packagein Al Jazeera English. I guess it wasn’t as simple as I imagined it.


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