dijous, 16 d’agost de 2007

Russia (10): around St.Petersburg- aristocrats and writers

Saint Petersburg was once the capital of one of the last absolute monarchies, until 1917, and consequently it got its fair share of palaces and royal residences.

We were lucky with the weather, so we spent a good time enjoying the gardens by the Baltic Sea that were once the preserve of that tiny elite that ruled over this huge country. No need to say that the display of wealth in these palaces was inversely proportional to the poverty of the subjects. While the Russian peasants lived literally like in the middle ages, its aristocrats were so much in their role, that refused to speak anything other than French among themselves.

We had also the chance to visit to places that have its honour place in Russian literature, Pavlovsk, summer retreat of the St.Petersburg elite some 150 years ago and setting of The Idiot by Dostoievsky (that I happened to be reading at the time of the visit!), and Pushkin (previously Tsarskoe-Selo), named after the famous poet, that lived and went to school here.