St. Petersburg Day 4 - October 8, 2006

This day started with a lecture at the Actors House by Prof. Tatyana Boborykina on Fyodor Dostoyevsy - The Legend of Russian Literature.
She was good, one of the few good lectures on this trip. After that we started on the bus for the town of Pushkin or Tsarskoye Selo, where we would visit Catherine II's palace there. It's about 15 miles south of the city. The weather was rainy.

Tsarskoye Selo was the site of a major royal complex in the time before the revolution, containing both the palace of Catherine I and Alexander's Palace, built for Alexander I by Catherine II. After the revolution the family of Nicholas II was held at the Alexander palace until moved to the east for execution. After that the town was renamed Pushkin. During WW II it was overrun and destroyed by the Nazis and has since been restored, although work is still in progress at the Alexander Palace.

After lunch at a restaurant we went in for a guided tour of the Catherine Palace. Like all royal palaces it was sumptuous. They have even reproduced the famous Amber Room , since the one stolen by the Germans has never turned up. No pictures allowed of that.

After returning to the city we went on an optional visit to the ballet for Sleeping Beauty at the Moussorgsky Theater. Those not taking the option went to a restaurant but we ate at the hotel earlier. The ballet was spectacular and in the grand Russian manner. That also means it was very long. The company is the second level in the city, after the Maryinsky (Kirov) company, but they were excellent and the music and settings were grand.

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