A NEW ITINERARY BEARING THE “IMPERIAL” BRAND HAS APPEARED IN THE YEAR MARKING THE 100TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, WHICH BROUGHT AN END TO THE MONARCHY. AFTER THE UPHEAVALS OF 1918, NICHOLAS II WAS MURDERED ALONG WITH HIS FAMILY. TOURISTS ARE OFFERED THE CHANCE TO VISIT THE PLACES WHERE THE LAST RUSSIAN EMPEROR SPENT HIS LIFE.
TEXT: ANNA MAKAROVA
It is best to start your journey in Moscow or St. Petersburg. The jewel of the itinerary is Nicholas II’s residence at Tsarskoye Selo. It is located 25km from St. Petersburg. A tour of the private chambers of Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Feodorovna provides the opportunity to discover the artistic tastes of the last Romanovs, and to see the Emperor’s official office.
From here, visitors have a choice of how to continue their journey in the footsteps of the imperial family – to the Urals or to Siberia.
In the Tyumen Region, situated in Siberia, there are several iconic sites that will be of interest to all lovers of history. For example, in the old Siberian city of Tobolsk, the imperial family lived in exile from August 1917 until April 1918. In April 2018, the Museum of the Family of Emperor Nicholas II opened in a house where the Tsar once lived. The museum holds some personal artifacts from the members of the royal family, as well as a large quantity of documents and photographs. The interiors of the museum have also been restored to replicate their appearance during Czarist times.
Another fascinating and mandatory stop on the journey is the Grigoriy Rasputin Museum in the village of Pokrovskoye (80km from Tyumen). Not only was Pokrovskoye the birthplace of Rasputin, one of the most notorious and mysterious figures of Russian history, it was also on the route along which the imperial family were taken to Tobolsk.
In Yekaterinburg, the capital of the Urals, tourists can visit the Churchon-Blood, built on the site of the Ipatyev House where, on the night July 17, 1918, the royal family members were shot. Another place of pilgrimage is the working Monastery of the Holy Imperial Passion-Bearers in Ganina Yama. The monastery was built 15 years ago on the site of the mine shaft into which the bodies of Nicholas II and his family were flung. All the slain were canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2000.
How to get there
A plane ticket from Moscow to either Yekaterinburg or Tyumen will cost $65-100, depending on the quantity of luggage and the date of travel. The fl ight from St. Petersburg to Yekaterinburg takes 2 hours 40 minutes and will cost around $80. It is a 3-hour fl ight to Tyumen, costing around $160. From Tyumen, you can reach Tobolsk by car or bus in 4 hours.
Where to stay
There is a vast choice of hotels in Yekaterinburg and Tyumen to suit every taste. For example, in Tyumen the 4-star Double-Tree Hilton and “Eurasia” Hotels offer rates from $100 per night. The 3-star Georgievskaya Hotel in Tobolsk costs from $45.
Where to eat
Tyumen can boast the wonderful Chum Restaurant-Museum, where you can try reindeer tartar, braised bear meat, and marinated cloudberries. In Tobolsk, try the restaurant Ladeyny near the city’s Kremlin, with traditional Russian interiors and Siberian favourites like pelmeni meat dumplings, ukha fish soup, salted mushrooms, and stroganina, the local equivalent of carpaccio.
What to buy
Traditional souvenirs from Tyumen include anything connected with oil—the city’s major industry. Popular in Tobolsk are pine nuts, warm reindeer-fur boots, and carved fi gures made at local workshops that use mammoth tusk, reindeer
antler, and even spermwhale tooth for materials. In the Urals, goods made with local precious and semiprecious stones are popular.