Millions of people annually visit the great country palaces built
by the tsars in a circle round St. Petersburg. Created by artists
from all over Europe, with untold serf labour at their disposal,
the palaces were intended to impress and they do. Today, in the
corner of most rooms, a single black and white photograph shows the
same room in 1944, amid the smouldering wreckage found by Russian
soldiers returning after the three-year siege of Leningrad. Forced
to abandon the palaces, the Nazis vented their anger on the
treasures they occupied. The story behind these photographs is in
many ways more impressive even than the rooms themselves. It is the
story of a relatively small band of talented Russians who were
determined not to allow their country's heritage to be swept away
by all the horrors of the twentieth century. The palaces today are
truly the work of Russians but restorers have to be self-effacing.
There have been books about what they did but not about them. In
"Saving The Tsars' Palaces", Christopher Morgan and Irina Orlova
vividly recount the remarkable story of those who battled to save
the palaces, not just during and after the war, but during the
Revolution and the harsh times that followed.
Polperro Heritage Press
|Country of origin:
• Irina Orlova
||Electronic book text
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