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Top 10: Imperial Russia

One of the most vivid symbol of Russia in everyone’s mind is its imperial past. Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Catherine II, Nicholas II, Anastasia Romanov are the names that everyone knows either from their sweet taste for history or for movies. Russia has a glorious past that continues to attract billions of tourists every year. But if most of the czarist legacies are located in St Petersburg, it would be a mistake to bypass some crucial places! So wear your most beautiful costume and dive with us into history!

 

Imperial summer residences are numerous in St Petersburg’s neighbouring but not all are equally beautiful. Thankfully, Tsar Visit is organising a very special tour to help you discover the Czars’ most outstanding palaces. You will begin your day at the Pavlovsk Palace. A palace with a facade in shades of yellow with white columns (fancy). You will then go to the town of Pushkin, formerly called Tsarskoye Selo, to continue your journey into Imperial Russia by visiting the sumptuous Catherine Palace (super fancy). But don’t forget that these palaces would be nothing without their gardens (well, except for Catherine Palace, which has the Amber Room…) you must take time to explore them!

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Obviously, the most important and biggest palaces of all is the Hermitage. As the official residence of the Czar, the Hermitage was the very heart of the Russian Empire. Its seizing in 1917 became a symbol of the revolutions and the end of the Imperial Russia. Moreover, the Hermitage became through the centuries the biggest museum on Earth! You would be a fool not to visit it while in St Petersburg…

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  • Peterhof Palace (St Petersburg)

Peter the Great’s summer residence is beautifully amazing. Its sumptuous and rich interiors are only competing with its gardens. Peterhof is for sure the most beautiful Imperial palace in Russia. Indeed it copied Louis XIV’s palace of Versailles. However you must visit Peterhof in summer. Why? First because you can access it by the canal, and this will show to the people what kind of person your are. Second because the fountains are working. Don’t misunderstand me on this. Peterhof goldish fountains themselves are worth the visit as they have been erected as part of the garden…and to please the Czar’s taste for water games. Cheeky!

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  • Tsarskoye Selo (St Petersburg)

Tsarskoye Selo is a small village in St Petersburg’s neighbouring. But Tsarskoye Selo hosts two magnificent palaces, two Imperial summer residences which are definitely worth the visiting. Go to Tsarskoye Selo, and visit both the Alexander Palace (currently under restoration) and the Catherine Palace. But don’t do it in a hurry, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of exploring their english-styled parks!

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  • Yusupov Palace (St Petersburg)

But Imperial Russia and the Czarist regime weren’t all about the Romanov. The Yusupovs constituted at the end of the Russian Empire, the second most powerful (after the Romanov of course) and the richest family in Russia. Those understood everything: money, power, charity but staying next to, not in, the spotlight. As a result they possessed several palaces in the very center of St Petersburg. The most beautiful of them is the Yusupov Palace on the Moyka. A must do! (at least because Rasputin died in these walls).

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  • House of the boyars Romanov (Moscow)

One would think that Czars, Romanov, Imperial Russia are words that can’t go with St Petersburg. This is obviously a mistake! If you’re really into the Russian Empire, you must visit were it all started: the House of the boyars Romanov. Located in Moscow’s very heart (and currently under restoration), this treasure from the past is the house (calling it a palace would be a bit much) of the Romanov right before the Russian Empire and Peter the Great. And in addition to the emotion given by the Romanov souvenir, you’ll dive into the Russian Middle-Age!

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  • Alexander Nevsky Lavra (St Petersburg)

I already wrote a lot about the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, how its peculiar atmosphere and stunning architecture made a great impression on me. I also explained why this Lavra is one of the most important religious sight in St Petersburg. But the Alexander Nevsky Lavra is also deeply linked to the Russian Empire and the Czars. Why? Well check its name! Indeed the Monastery was built in 1710 to welcome the relics of Saint Alexander Nevsky but precisely where Alexander Nevsky defeated the Swedes in 1210. The Lavra is interlinked to the Russian Empire and marks Peter the Great’s intention to establish the new Northern Capital in Holy Russia.

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  • The Fabergé Museum (St Petersburg)

We spoke a lot about palaces but one dimension of the Imperial Russia is definitely its peculiar culture, arts and crafts. The Czars contributed to the development and rise of Russian craftmasters in the Empire and in Europe. One of the best and most famous, is Fabergé. His eggs, and all his artefacts, are among the most beautiful and meaningful jewels made under the Russian Empire. More than artefacts, they are pieces of art and one of the last legacies of the Romanov today. It’s a definitely a must-see! (these eggs drive me crazy).

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  • Peter and Paul fortress (St Petersburg)

As a fan of the Romanov and while exploring St Petersburg, you have to go visit the Peter and Paul fortress. Despite the fact that it’s one of the most interesting and visited site of St Petersburg, the Peter and Paul fortress is before all (at least for us, who know the perfection of the Romanov) the place where are lying almost all members of the Imperial family. A great place to remember the Imperial Russia… and think about the tragic destiny of Nicholas II and his family.

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  • Alexey Mikhailovich Romanov palace (Moscow)

Before being St Petersburg, the Russian capital was Moscow, even under the Romanov. That’s why you should visit Alexey Mikhailovich Romanov palace. A place that marks the Romanov transition from being boyards (nobles) to being Russian emperors. This majestic wooden palace highlights the rise of the Romanov but also is a testimony of the Russian noble life between the Middle Age and the Empire in the heart of Kolomenskoye estate!

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Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

 

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Top 10: Luxurious Moscow

Contemporary Russia is often pictured in many minds as the country of oligarchs and a country with a huge wage gap. Moreover as the Russian federal capital, Moscow is obviously a  city where you can spend a lot. Moscow can offer you pleasures and entertainments…so block your banker’s phone number and let express the billionaire in you!

 

  • A walk in through passages

Moscow’s city center has several streets dedicated to fancy shops and luxurious brands from all over the world. However the truly luxurious ones are always in small, hidden and elegant passages. Among the best ones, I advice you to go explore the Stoleshnikov and Tretyakovsky streets, and the Petrovsky passage. Of course passages are fancy because you’ll be away from the cold, the rain and the rednecks. So just enjoy and spend, you need this 10,000$ pair socks made of golden spider silk.

Side note: keep your sunglasses when inside, let the crowd know who you are.

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  • An evening at the Bolshoi

Yes it’s a famous place, and yes it’s culture. But don’t forget that brain is the new tits, and theater the new ayurveda-yoga class! The Bolshoi is a must do, a place where you have to be seen. You’ll be able to show your most fancy suit and dress in a goldish atmosphere. On the plus side, you’ll watch the best ballets and operas of the world. Obviously, you have to be well seated to enjoy this cultural treat. That’s why I definitely advise you to seat on the Amphitheatre or Dress Circle first rows.
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  • Shopping afternoon at GUM and TSUM

Another place to shop, even though more crowded, are the two famous center-located malls of Moscow: the GUM and TSUM. Both of them are located in stunning historic buildings within a walking distance of the Red Square (actually the GUM is on the Red Square). Both of them were already malls for fancy people during the Imperial Russia. And both of them hosts luxurious quality brands from all over the world. Explore these two buildings, you won’t be disappointed!

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  • Culture time at Terems Palace

How do we recognise rich “in” people? Not only because they wear outfits from Chanel in a casual day, but also because they can access places that “out” people can’t or (worse) don’t know about. Although out people are visiting the Kremlin, in people are visiting the Terems Palace. As you already know, the Terems Palace is for sure one of the most secret and secured place of the Russian Federation. Why? Because the Terems Palace is the office and residence of the Russian Federation President in the very heart of the Kremlin. Few tours are organised each year…you must go if you want to be in!

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  • Enjoy dinner at Turandot

But all this shopping and cultural life are exhausting. So if you need a break and enjoy what life has best to offer (i.e: food), you definitely have to go to Turandot. One of the best and finest restaurant of Moscow established in a very luxurious palace. More than a fancy restaurant, Turandot is a jewel, an imperial palace full of artefacts from the last centuries where you can taste an exquisite cuisine. Top.

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Credits: Turandot

 

  • Rest at the mythical and historical Four Seasons

Moscow is a big city, and it can take ages to reach point B from point A…even though Hubert is the best private driver at your service. That’s why choosing your hotel isn’t a small thing. So if you want, and I know you want it, to be located within a short distance of Moscow’s best places and want an hotel at your standards, you must go to the Four Seasons. Located on the Red Square, you’ll enjoy life, comfort and luxury in one of the best hotel of Moscow. Plus, who has never dreamed of waking up in front of the Kremlin and the Red Square?

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  • Get drunk at Mendeleev

Want to go out in a fancy place? Go to Mendeleev! A very nice and luxurious bar located in the stoned arched cellar of a tiny noodles restaurant in the heart of Moscow. Don’t be tricked, the restaurant is only a facade and hides a place where wearing Louboutin or being a foreigner won’t guarantee you to access. Once inside, you’ll enjoy exquisite cocktails while listening to live jazz music.

Side note: as a in person, you must go through the kitchens and access to the VIP room where a waiter will be at your service and where you’ll probably meet famous Muscovites.

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Credits: Mendeleev Cocktail Bar

 

  • Some winter shopping at Maison Yves Salomon

Winter in Russia can be coldish. That’s why fur, either you like it or not, is often one of the best option to keep you warm. That’s why wearing fur in Russia, and especially in Moscow, isn’t something outrageous or only for the babushkas (grumpy elderly Russian women). Nevertheless, for both ethical and fashion reasons, if you want to buy some fur you have to do it the right way and shop in Moscow most beautiful and luxurious furier: Maison Yves Salomon. Combining Russian and French fur and craftsmanship traditions, Maison Yves Salomon is the most luxurious place to find what you desire most. Obviously, the French touch of Maison Yves Salomon makes it a must-wear among Russian wealthiest people…so do you.

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Credits: Maison Yves Salomon

 

  • Moscow by the air

Moscow is a busy city with lot of traffic jam. Therefore despite Hubert’s amazing driving capabilities, it may takes ages to cross the city. So why not reaching the sky? Grab an helicopter for about 1,300$ and discover the Russian federal capital by the air! Fly close to land between the tours of Moscow City before going up above the city center and the Kremlin. A must do for every fancy people!

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  • Get a well-deserved encas at Beluga

What would be visiting Russia without tasting caviar? Nothing. That’s why, and especially after the previously highlighted activities, you truly deserve caviar in a fancy and luxurious place. To that why not going to Beluga? A famous and luxurious caviar bar facing the Kremlin. Delightful!

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Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!