In the footsteps of the Romanovs

«© Alex Fedorov, Wikimedia Commons»


Have you ever wanted to walk in the footsteps of the Romanovs – the dynasty that ruled Russia until they were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918?

There are countless locations across Russia with historical connections to the tsars, but where better to start than the Kremlin and its Poteshnoy Palace, built for the boyar Ilya Miloslavsky, father-in-law of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. From the end of the 1670s, it served as a dwelling for members of the royal family. Then there’s the Faceted Chamber, built in 1487. For centuries, the Romanovs climbed its steps on the way to the Assumption Cathedral for their coronation. In 1896, Nicholas II became the last Russian emperor to pass through its "Red Porch".

Izmailovo was the family manor of the Romanovs. Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich was fond of gardening, and under him, this country residence gained its famous gardens. Well worth a visit is the huge five-domed Intercession Cathedral, lavishly decorated with tiles, built under their direction in the 1670s.

A key destination for anyone who wants to truly understand how the Romanovs met their tragic end is Ekaterinburg – the third largest city in Russia and the capital of the Urals. For it was here that Nicholas II and his family spent their last days.

In the house of the engineer Ipatiev, on the order of the Bolsheviks, the last Russian emperor Nicholas II and his family were shot: the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the Tsarevich Alexei, and the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatyana, Maria and Anastasia. These tragic events happened on the night of 16 to 17 July 1918. Together with the royal family, the court physician Yevgeny Botkin and several servants were shot: the maid Anna Demidova, the cook Ivan Kharitonov and the valet Alexei Trupp. The building of the Ipatiev House was demolished in 1977. In 1990, a commemorative wooden cross was erected there.

Then there’s Ganina Yama. It was here that the remains of the royal family were buried. Later, the monastery of Ganina Yama was founded here to mark those terrible events.

To really get close to Russia’s rulers, you need to visit the Cathedral of the Holy First-High Apostles Peter and Paul, which stands at the centre of the Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg. Under its shadow, the ashes of almost all Russia’s emperors and empresses rest, from Peter I to Alexander III. Here, since 1998, lie the remains brought from beneath Ekaterinburg - the alleged ashes of Nicholas II, his wife and children. But in the opinion of the Russian Orthodox Church, this has not been fully confirmed.

The city’s first Winter Palace was created by architect Domenico Trezzini in 1708 for Emperor Peter I. The modern Winter Palace – the fifth in a row – was created by the great Bartholomew Rastrelli. For many generations, the Winter Palace provided the main residence of the Romanovs.

Then there’s Peterhof (which translates as "Peter's Court"), founded in 1705 on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. The Emperor dreamed of surpassing the famous Versailles, and in many ways he succeeded. From the 18th to the early 20th century, the palace was the main summer residence of the imperial family.

You could spend a lifetime visiting Russia’s countless buildings and locations with their royal connections. And the best way to see them is with one of our special historical tours. Book yours today [hyperlink], and we’ll be with you every step of the way as you follow in the footsteps of Russia’s Romanovs.