The Home of the Last Tsar - Romanov and Russian History

Travel Guides - Russia and its' Environs - a 1902 Travel Guidebook

A Practical Guide

REVIEWED AND AUGMENTED BY A. WEREKINCK IN ST. PETERSBURG
BERLIN W., ALBERT GOLDSCHMIDT
1902

Translated from the French by Rob Moshein

THE IMPERIAL HOUSE OF RUSSIA

Russia is an absolute autocracy. The will of the emperor takes the form of supreme law, both in the temporal realm and the spiritual. The laws are published in the form of notices of the Council of the Empire or of resolutions of the Committee of ministers with the sanction of the emperor. The Senate is a sort of high court of appeal while the Holy-Synod has the general direction of religious affairs. All of the ministers, the members of the Council of the Empire, the senators and the members of the Holy-Synod are named by the emperor.

After 21 October 1894 the Russian throne has been occupied by the emperor Nicolas Alexandrovitch (born 6 May 1868), who married 14 November 1894 empress Alexandra Feodrovna, daughter of Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse-Darmstadt (born 25 May 1872). From this marriage there have issued four daughters.

Other members of the imperial family: the mother of the emperor, the dowager empress Maria Feodrovna (born 14 November 1847).

Brothers and sisters of the emperor: Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovitch (born 22 November 1878), the actual presumptive heir (tsarevich); the grand-duchess Xenia Alexandrovna (born 25 March 1875), married in 1894 to grand duke Alexander Michaelovitch; the grand-duchess Olga Alexandrovna (born 1st June 1882).

Uncles and aunts of the emperor: 1st grand-duke Vladimir Alexandrovitch (born 10 April 1847), married to grand-duchess Marie Pavlovna (born 2 May 1854): of this union was the issue of the grand-dukes Kyril Vladimirovitch (1876), Boris Vladimirovitch (1877), Andrew Vladimirovitch (1879), and the grand-duchess Helena Vladimirovna (1882). 2nd the grand-duke Alexei Alexandrovitch (born 2 January 1850). 3rd the grand-duke Serge Alexandrovitch (born 29 April 1857) who married the grand-duchess Elizabeth Feodrovna (born 20 October 1864). 4th the grand-duke Paul Alexandrovitch (born 21 September 1860), who married the grand-duchess Alexandra Georgievna (died 1891). Of this union issued: the grand-duke Dmitri Pavlovitch (1891) and the grand-duchess Marie Pavlovna (1890). 5th the grand-duchess Marie Alexandrovna (born 5 October 1853) who married the late duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Amongst the members of the imperial family we name again the grand-duchess Josephovna (born 26 Jun 1830) who married the grand-duke Constatin Nicolaiovitch. From this union issued: 1st the grand-duke Nicolas Constantinovitch (born 2 February 1850); 2nd the grand-duke Constantine Constantinovitch (born 10 August 1858), who married the grand-duchess Elisabeth Marikievna (born 13 January 1865); 3rd the grand-duke Dmitri Constantinovitch (born 1st January 1860); 4th the grand-duchess Olga Constantinovna (born 22 August 1851), who married King George I of Greece; 5th the grand-duchess Vera Constantinovna (born 4 February 1854), who married the duke Guillaume-Eugene of Wurtemburg; 6th the grand-duke Nicolas Nicholaiovitch (born 6 November 1856); 7th the grand-duke Peter Nicolaiovitch (born 10 January 1864) who married the grand-duchess Militza Nicolaiovna (born 14 July 1866); 8th the grand-duke Michael Nicolaiovitch (born 13 October 1832) who married the grand-duchess Olga Feodrovna (died 1891); 9th the grand-duchess Anastasia Michealovna (born 16 July 1860) who married the late grand-duke Frederick-Francis of Mecklemburg-Schwerin.

SUPREME AUTHORITIES

A.
1st Private Chancellory to the Emperor
2nd Jurisdiction of the Foundations of empress Marie
3rd Chancellory of petitions and requests
4th the Secretary of State of the grand-duchy of Finland and the Finnish Chancellory to the emperor.

B.
1st The Council of the Empire (in Russian: Gossoudarstvennie Soviet) is actually composed of 76 members and comprises the following departments: legislation, civil and religious affairs, finance, commerce, industry, science, as well as the special administration to examine the petitions brought against the decisions of the departments of the Senate.
2nd The governing Senate (in Russian: Senat) is composed of about 50 members named by the emperor as well as the members of the Council of the Empire; it comprises equally several departments: legislation, civil and criminal affairs, land surveying, boundary rectification, heraldry. There exists in addition a special tribunal for judging misdemeanors in matters of service and a court of appeals for civil and criminal matters.
3rd The Holy-Synod (in Russian: synod) is a supreme court for regulating and judgement in the last resort for religious affairs.
4th The Committee of Ministers

THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE

The foreigner, who has never been before to St. Petersburg, will remark that there is almost no mixing of races there. One must get to know the ordinary Russian, and will find them always pleasant, obliging and happy with little. The people love music and dance; their songs are always more or less serious and melancholy; the national dance is most original.

The true Russian is strongly convinced that all of Russia has to be subject to a supreme leader (father, tsar, emperor) and who reveres a full and absolute authority with an unquestionable right over the life and death of its subjects, its land, the constitution, and the entire national organisation. All other manner of thinking is to them almost unknown.

Official Holidays; popular and religious holidays. There is no other nation in the world with as many holidays as in Russia; in effect out of 52 Sundays there have been added to almost each of them some religious or official holiday. The most grand holidays of the year are: Easter, Christmas, the New Year, the Epiphany, Pentecost, Feast day of Saint John, butter week, etc.

Easter remains above all the most wonderful holiday of the year. All class distinction disappears for the week of Easter. Wherever one may go, no one has broken the old traditions; an ordinary man of the people will enter, on the first day of Easter, into the ostentatious salon of the millionaire; he gives his master an egg and three kisses crying "Christ is Risen". "Yes he is truly Risen" his master responds to him, giving the man an egg as well and usually some money or other gift. Often the entire week is spent in festivities.

RULES OF HYGIENE

Whatever time of the year one makes the voyage to Saint Petersburg one should never forget to take along a good winter overcoat.

Even in summer there are many cold nights where one will be quite pleased to be provided with an overcoat. In winter one owes it to oneself to always have a good fur coat. From October until April it is of great necessity to wear a double shoe, rubbers for example; these are made in Saint Petersburg and prove to be excellent. The sun is cold in Russia and even in dry weather there is a certain humidity against which the foreigner must be forewarned at all costs. One can equally not be over-cautioned to wear a good travelling cloak in any season. For this concern for hygiene we must again remark that the foreigner must never drink any water which has not been boiled. If one has the slightest difficulty in digestion, if one suffers from diarrhea, it will be necessary to keep the stomach quite warm with flannel; if a quick recovery does not come it will be necessary to consult a doctor.

Grease enters into the Russian cuisine in a much greater proportion than in German cuisine; since most of the dishes are savory they arrive frequently to spoil the strangers' stomach. The true Russian takes at every meal a certain quantity of vodka, which would not hurt at all most of the Germans who travel to Russia.

Smokers � Smokers would do well to import for their personal usage a sufficient quantity of cigars, as the imported cigars of even passable quality are quite expensive in Russia. However for some time the Russian makers have been delivering excellent cigarettes at a modest price. One can import 99 cigars into Russia without paying import duties.

PASSPORTS

All foreigners who want to enter Russia are required to have a valid passport in due form and the passport must have a proper visa from an ambassador or Russian consul. If the passport is not in order the traveler has no chance to pass the Russian frontier. In Germany, the passports are delivered by the bureau of Police in the cities, and by the canton council in the countryside. The passport visa is submitted with a tax; it is given upon production of an official birth certificate by the consuls general and the consulates listed below:

In Germany one finds the Russian consulates general in Berlin, Danzig, Frankfurt-am-Main, and the simple consulates at Bremen, Breslau, Kiel, Koenigsburg in Prussia, Leipzig, Lubek, Memel and Stettin.

In Austria-Hungary one finds the Russian consulates general in Vienna, Budapest, and the simple consulates in Czernowitz , Lemberg, Fiume, Trieste. The passport visa is good for six months; when the period elapses it is required to be renewed by a new voyage to Russia. Arriving at the Russian frontier one remits one's passport to the border officers. After examination of the passports, they are stamped and returned to the owners. Arriving at one's final destination, the foreigner is required within twenty-four hours to present one's passport to the local police station. They will receive a notation in the passport that the holder may stay six months in Russia.

Foreign Jews travelling to Russia must submit to the following formalities: the consulates may issue passport visas to foreign Jews if the latter is the head of a recognized firm, equally if they are travellers, under power of attorney, clerk or agent of such firm, provided that they furnish the proof of the legal recognition of such firm. As far as the passports of all foreign Jews which do not fulfil these requirements, they may not be issued visas except by special authorisation from the Minister of the Interior of Russia.

In addition such passport visa is not good for more than three months.

In that which concerns the passport and the formalities of the police (notification) the foreigner must dispose of all these affairs outlined personally; one might enlist the oldest of the domestics (dvorniks) of the hotel who will go down and assist for a modest tip and be of great service. The police of St. Petersburg have special stamps which the offices of the divers areas affix to all the documents; these stamps as proof of payment of the taxes to the police.

RUSSIAN MONEY

The monetary reform of the last years (laws of 8 May 1895, 3 January, 29 August, 14 November 1897, 27 March 1989) have replaced the old monetary value of silver by the sole monetary backing of gold; the monetary unit is the gold rouble which is divided into one hundred kopeks and which is worth 1/15 of the old imperial. Coins often in circulation are the coins of 10 and 5 roubles (new minting). The gold money is comprised of 9/10 gold for 1/10 copper. The coin of 5 roubles is of legal titre of 87.12 dolis of gold, the gold imperial of 15 roubles at a titre of 261.36 dolis of gold (which is 10.61 grams). Other than the 5 and 10 rouble coins there can also often be found in circulation the coins of 15 roubles and 7 1/2 roubles (old coinage). Aside from gold, there also circulates paper currency: the 500 rouble bill, greenish, with the likeness of Peter the Great (1898); the 100 rouble bill, greyish, with a white ray pattern on the right and underneath it carries the transparant image of Empress Catherine II (1898); for these bills it would serve you well to make sure that the white fields are not drawn on or numbers written on anywhere; they lose, in effect of such case, their legal tender and are not accepted other than at the State Bank. One finds others in addition in circulation, although more and more rarely, the old bills of rainbow colors; they are in the process of retiring from circulation; but, they are still legal tender. There circulates, in addition, a bill of 50 roubles, blue-green, with the portrait of Nikolas I (1899); the paper of these bills is distinguished by its special fineness. The bill of 25 roubles is violet and carries in a medallion the portrait of Alexander III. The red bill of 10 roubles is not seen hardly; the blue bills of 5 roubles rarely; despite which they are still legal tender. The yellow-green bills of 3 roubles are always in circulation while the light brown bill of one rouble has been completely replaced in circulation by the silver rouble coin. The old bills of 5 roubles (from 1887-1894), the 10 rouble (from 1887-1892), the 25 rouble (of 1887) are not tender after January 1, 1902.

One also finds in circulation silver coins of 1 rouble, of 50, 25, 20, 15, 10 and 5 kopeks, and copper coins of 5, 3, 2 kopeks, of 1 kopek, 1/2 kopek, and 1/4 kopek.

The German mark is actually of a value equal to 46.3 kopeks, the French franc is valued at 37.05 kopeks.

At the border stations, Virballen and Eydtkuhnen, one finds an exchange office where one may change money (Russian money and German or French money) as in Berlin or Paris. The prices are indicated by posters. Most often it is better to change Russian money in its native country.

RUSSIAN CHRONOLOGY � WEIGHTS & MEASURES

Despite that Christianity has entirely adopted the Gregorian Calendar, the Russian Empire has retained the ancient Julian Calendar which was behind 12 days in 1900 and 13 days behind since 1901. If, for example, the rest of Europe has written the 15th of the month, it will only be the 2nd in Russia.

Russian lengths:
1 verst = 1.0066781 kilometres (.625 mile)
1 fathom (toise) = 2.13356 metres (7 feet)
1 foot = .02534 metre (10 inches)
1 archine =.71119 metre (2.33 feet)
1 verchock = .04445 metre (1.44 feet)

The pound is worth 32 lots or 96 zolotniks or 9216 dolis. The pud is worth 40 pounds. The berkovetz worth 10 puds.

TIPS � BUDGET OF EXPENSES

In Russian the tip has taken on a strong force in the city, also playing a considerable role. Everywhere one sees the hands opened to ask a "Natchayok". The Russian is amenable and disposed at all times to all sorts of services provided that he has a tip in his sights. It is impossible to set forth here all of the instances where a tip is his "raison d'etre". We shall confine ourselves to say that the custom in administrations, restaurants, etc to give for all checked coats at the vestiary is 10 to 20 kopeks per person.(note: 10 kopeks in 1904 is equivalent to $1.00 in 2000 money) In the restaurant one gives generally 10% of the check as the tip to the waiter. One never gives less than 10 kopeks.

It is extremely difficult to address the probable budget to bring for the traveller to St. Petersburg. It relates exactly to the exigencies of the social situation of each person. In any case, Russia is the one country on the Continent where living is the most expensive and one would do well to bring the greatest possible sum for a trip to St. Petersburg. Depending on the duration of the length of the trip, with monetary exigencies made allowance for, the minimal amount to budget should be 10 to 20 roubles per day ($100 to $200 per day in 2000 dollars). One can naturally know that this amount will not include expenditures for fine dining or fine wines.

THE VOYAGE TO THE RUSSIAN BORDER

When going to St. Petersburg by train or steamship: two direct trains depart daily from Berlin to St. Petersburg; the morning train departs between 9 and 10 (check the timetable); the evening train between 10 and midnight; these two trains are express; the latter has a wagon-lit with berths most usually reserved many days in advance. A deluxe train, the Northern Express (1st class only) goes twice a week to St. Petersburg; the tickets are more expensive (check the timetables; actually departs Berlin Thursday and Sunday morning; arriving at St. Petersburg Friday and Monday afternoon; departs St. Petersburg Wednesday and Saturday night; arriving in Berlin Thursday and Sunday evening). This train has the most sleepers and a restaurant car. The trip on this train is most expensive, however it is the most comfortable and fastest.

After a trip of about 13 hours the train arrives at the border. Some moments after passing through Eydtkunen the train rolls slowly atop a small stream along which runs the Russian fence surmounted with the double eagle. This is the beginning of the Empire of the Tsars; we are at Virballen (in Russian "Werchbolovo").

CUSTOMS FORMALITIES AT THE RUSSIAN BORDER

At Virballen, in front of each car, will be posted a policeman to whom one's passport must be given upon leaving the compartment. One then goes to a large hall with one's portable baggage. The bags will be placed upon long flat tables and the travelers are called by a superior employee of the customs in the order of the passports. A subaltern employee lays out the contents, a service for which he will receive a tip. The superior employee asks if one has any objects to declare. One's response is required to be exact and complete. If the items appear to be in all evidence destined to be of personal use one passes generally without difficulty. Ladies have often the advantage of a minute customs review which may enable them in certain cases to spread out their clothing for an examination. When importing articles of fashion which are of great cost, these articles are usually subject to import duties of a much higher level.

EXTRACT OF CUSTOMS RULES RELATING TO THE EFFECTS OF TRAVELERS

All of the articles imported by travelers are not strictly regarded as personal property of the traveler except for those articles clearly already used and obviously required for the journey. These articles which pass without tax are never commercial items. In this category (personal property without tax) one will never find those objects whose importation is absolutely prohibited such as playing cards, etc.

One is free of duty in all cases of the following items:

6) Clothing, shoes, linens, washcloths already used and which do not exceed the amount of strict necessity of a traveler.

 

Note: Bedclothes, pillows, mattress, and blankets, table linens, already equally used can not pass without paying entry duty except in an extremely limited number.

7) Articles of fur, even fur lined gloves, muffs, caps, etc. of a reasonable amount for an individual.

8) Personal everyday items in gold, silver or other metals, 3 pounds per person only; otherwise only those items necessary for the traveler's voyage.

9) Fancy goods in gold, silver and other metals in a proportion to two examples of each piece per person. Small luxury items or toilet items such as: luggage, pins, brooches, buttons, etc. only on condition that they are not and shall not be destined for sale.

 

Notes on articles 3 and 4:

a) Articles in silver already used may pass in any amount provided they came from Russia or the kingdom of Poland originally and that they bear the stamp of the Russian or Polish control office.

b) Articles in gold and silver may not be brought in by the traveler without examination of the specimen if they wish them to be free of any duty. When with others which are subject to the payment of duty, they may not be passed until satisfaction of the legality of the specimens, for want of which the traveler always has the ability to resubmit.

5) All objects not mentioned in the preceding paragraphs and regarded as of personal use to the traveler for which two such articles per person. In the case of gloves, one may not import more than a dozen.

 

Note: One may not consider as personal usage items the following: cooking utensils, flatware for the table, tea service, bronzes, clocks, watches, curtains for windows or doors, tapestries and in general all which might furnish or decorate a room.

6) Medical and surgical instruments, hand held musical instruments, tools of art or the work tools brought in by a doctor, artist, the tools of which would be considered necessary during the voyage for the exercise of their profession or art provided that such items are not and shall not be destined for sale.

7) Tobacco for snuff and smoking, any single packet already opened by the traveler. � Cigars up to one hundred per person.

8) Provisions of food in small quantities.

9) Cases, coffers, trunks, valises etc. containing the effects of the traveler. Note: Among the cases which would be destined to contain the effects of travelers one may not find boxes, with bronze or other ornamentations, completely new, and not to be filled with effects, but only for their form.

10) Equipment of Russian or Polish origin with a Russian customs certificate proving on its face that the objects have been exported and the duties paid mentioned. All other equipment will be subject to the duty. One finds the law of reimbursement of the duty paid to the traveler who leaves the country with the equipment when the duty has already been paid to customs; this reimbursement is effective immediately upon production of the customs receipt which was received upon crossing the border. The aforementioned receipt is valid for two years from the date it was issued.

All items of the traveler which are not included in the preceding paragraphs are subject to the laws and rules for customs tariffs conforming to the following regulations:

a) Where the importation of objects is not permitted to exceed a certain number the rights of free entry will not apply to the surplus exceeding the regulated amount.

b) There shall not be subject to these laws those objects which may be proved to be of Russian or Polish origin.

c) In all cases where the customs duty on all of the effects of a traveler are not greater than three rubles ($30 in 2000) the duty tax will not likewise be deducted.

Travelers are required to give the exact information to the customs employees who, at the beginning of the review, ask them if they have any objects subject to the rules such as: any cloth or materials whatever entire or in pieces, pieces of linen, etc, cloaks, objects for decorating rooms etc. If, the traveler has declared not to have any objects subject to the duty, and it is later discovered that such are discovered they will be hit with a double tax. All objects which travelers have hidden in moneybelts, in the interior of boxes or coffers, in the hollow of an axle, etc. or upon themselves, within their clothing, in their shoes, underneath their dirty linens or in any other fashion shall be mercilessly confiscated. The confiscation is preceded by drawing up of a protocol which is signed by all of the customs officials present as well as the delinquent traveler. In the case where the last does not wish to sign, his refusal to do so will not affect at all the validity of the protocol.

The objects which are imported by travelers and which do not comprise a duty tax exceeding 60 rubles per family or for sole traveler will not require a written declaration for taxes.

If the traveler does not wish to pay the duty placed upon those objects which he has declared, he is free to send them back out of the country.

Objects subject to the duty in an amount exceeding 60 roubles ($600 in 2000) are treated according to the rules concerning articles of commerce.

The bags which are not to be sent along on the same train as the traveler and which are preceding or following are not to be treated as the packages of travel. An exception is made for objects carrying visible markings that they have been so employed (as baggage of the traveler) and are arriving at the maritime customs, the railroad customs or the principal depots of Moscow and Warsaw. These items are to be put into the category of duty exempt. The directors of the preceding customs houses have the ability to allow passage of the items without requiring further proofs that these object belong to the persons arriving from overseas.

The present rules apply to all of the European customs houses and customs stations with exception of the rights granted by them in taxing merchandise. If amongst the effects of the traveler it is found that there are objects, which, after the general proscriptions, may not be allowed to pass by the customs office upon their arrival, those objects may not be taxed if the tax for a family or sole traveler does not exceed 60 roubles (ie: allowed to pass). In the contrary case, those objects are treated as merchandise upon arrival at the customs office where their importation is prohibited.

Those travelers wishing at their pleasure to leave a portion of their baggage at one of the interior customs stations and not at a border station, will be subject to the following proscriptions: a) on the railroad all the bags are expedited to the depot in question, under seal, and in special cars allotted for this purpose; if the traveler does not express a formal wish for such expediency himself the trunks remain sealed for the duration of the voyage. In the contrary case there will be imposed the regulations concerning the sending of merchandise to the depot. b) As for voyagers arriving along the large usual routes or arriving by sea they are not allowed to send their effects to a customs depot other than conforming to the aforementioned rules. c) the border customs will communicate to the depot in specifying these items, if they are in an amount or weight where the importation is limited to a specific number. d) the customs depot must take a count when delivering these effects for a shipping statement sent to the border customs.

EXCEPTIONS TO THE GENERAL PROSCRIPTONS

Among persons who emigrate to Russia or the Kingdom of Polond, among Russian subjects who after some absence (of at least two months) returning from abroad, or who have received as an inheritance, they are permitted with authorisation from the minister of finance to introduce without paying duty household objects and in general the proscribed objects subject to duty, provided they have already been used; and this only in the occurrence of tax of 500 roubles per person ($5,000 in 2000) and 900 roubles per family (9,000 in 2000). The members of the diplomatic personnel returning to Russia may import the items up to an amount of a much greater value. It must be mentioned that this clause is optional and may be enforced only by the minister of finance; one may never count in advance on the favor of its application.

Between the owners of the two parts of the border the benefits of the laws to the single traveler are not recognized by them but once a year. Except for the first trip, they may not import anything except those things previously exported out of Russia or Poland. To this effect, the heads of customs will deliver to them cards noting all of the trips made crossing the border; they will also receive a list of the objects exported from Russia or the Kingdom of Poland should they wish to be able to repatriate them without difficulty.

The residents at the border who, provided with a certificate from their proper local authorities, may return to these local neighborhoods wishing to import post-paid those objects which they have already exported. All of the other items are viewed as and treated as simple merchandise.

The inhabitants of the Russian government or Polish districts at the border who have been provided with special passports for travel overseas are subject as to their baggage to the rules concerning the country of their travel.

FROM VIRBALLEN AND THE GREAT STATIONS INTO ST. PETERSBURG

We are at the Virballen station Russian customs house. Once the trunks have been marked with a white cross they are returned to the traveler with a card of passage; upon leaving the hall this card is exchanged for the passport given earlier to the police and it is required that for no reason can one leave the hall without having first received their passport.

The traveler who only has a ticket just up to the border must then obtain another ticket at the same station; one may be strongly recommended to book in advance a place in the sleeping car; the second class is well outfitted in recent years; it is left for the very comfortably suited traveler to require taking first class. As result of the last tariffs travel in Russia on the public transport has become most cheap, going only with a more than moderate purse should one wish to take first class.

Before leaving Virballen it is necessary to have something to eat (the stop is very long). Travelers will find their choice of hot plates and cold plates. They will find at the buffet a special menu with fine wines. To have beer, one need only say to the waiter "dai piva!" If one is forced to spend the night at Virballen one will find conveniently located lodgings at the station itself. There are also buffets and sufficient stops at the following stations: Kovno, Vilna, Dvinsk or Dunaburg, Ostrov, Pskov, Luga.

After Virballen the next important station is Kovno, capital of the government of the same name. The stop is only for about 10 minutes, so the traveler may not even think of going to see the city. Kovno is an industrial city situated at the meeting of the Nyemen and Vilia rivers; it has a very active commerce with Tilsit. It was near Kovno that on the 23 June 1812 the great army of Napoleon while marching on Russian crossed the Nyemen. The heights which one finds near the city carried the name of "Napoleon's Hills". December 13 of that same year only a few remnants of that army formerly so powerful recrossed the Neimen at the same spot. In the market place in Kovno one finds a monument with an inscription mentioning that in 1812 Russia was inundated by 700,000 enemies of which only 70,000 were able to recross back across the frontier. Kovno was at one time part of the Kingdom of Lithuania, which was later incorporated into Poland and then into Russia in 1795. In 1808 a great fire occurred there which caused great damage. Among the curiosities of the town, one should note the Churches of St. George, St. Peter and St. Paul from the 15th century, along with the chapel of St. Gertrude begun in the 14th century. The city has 73,543 residents (1899).

After leaving Kovno, one arrives soon at Kotchidari where a line branches off for Libau, Mitau, and Riga and thence to Landvarovo where it branches on to Warsaw. One arrives well at Vilna, where the stop is a little longer. Vilna, ancient residence of the Dukes of Lithuania has several beautiful palaces belonging to the great Polish families, a pretty town hall and a museum. The Church of St. Stanislaus, which surrounds the gold coffin of King Casimir, is quite remarkable, it dates to the 14th century. Vilna has about 159,500 habitants (1899). The location of the city is quite beautiful, the outskirts are also fairly nice. This town was also occupied by the French in 1812. Napoleon and Emperor Alexander stayed successively in the Governor's Mansion.

Among the stations which follow there should be noted Vilyeskaya & Kalkhunen; at the first branches off the line for Minsk (intersection of the railroad line: Brest-Smolensk-Moscow) and Romny. The last station is the departure point for the railroad linewhich unites Kakhunen and Dunaburg.

Dvinsk (Dunaburg). Stop of 10 minutes or less. The town has a population of 72,231 inhabitants (1899), among whom one finds many Jews.; it is situated on the steep shore of the Duna and has a very active commerce by both water and land. Dunaburg is very strongly fortified city; it was made part of the government of Vitebsk and the second line of defense for the Western frontier. The passage of the river is guarded by a bridge head. The town is about 5 versts from the station for the St. Petersburg-Warsaw line. It went back to Russia in 1772. From Dunaburg separates a second line for Riga and another for Smolensk by Vitebsk. The trip from the station of the St. Petersburg-Warsaw line to the station for the Riga-Smolensk line costs 14 kopeks ($1.40 2000) for second class. In Dunaburg we recommend the Hotel St. Petersburg; one may wish however to lodge at the station which is easier and less expensive. One then does not delay in arriving thence in Greater Russia, and by Rechiza, Korsovka, and Ostrov to Pskov, where we recommend the Hotel St. Petersburg and the Hotel de Paris. Pskov at one time was the capital of the Duchy of the same name and is a simple town of Russian government. It was formerly a flourishing Hanseatic town which had almost 60,000 inhabitants; it counts today 30,424 residents, among whom are many Germans. The town occupies a picturesque location on the banks of the Velkaya and has a very active commerce; it merits being seen. Among the public monuments we note the Kremlin, the great cathedral and many other historic curiosities. A new railroad line goes from Pskov to Valk via Riga. A direct line now unites Valk with Dorpay and by Yaps to Revel where the rail line from the Baltic provinces goes to St. Petersburg. The train continues its route from Pskov to Belaya, Luga and Divenskaya to Gatchina, summer residence of the emperor Alexander III. The palace, surrounded by magnificent gardens, was built by Prince Orlov, favorite of Empress Catherine II. The railroad line from the Baltic provinces joins also at Gatchina and has a special station; it also is a communicating line for Moscow. Gatchina has 15,000 residents.

The train arrives thence without stops at St. Petersburg, end of the voyage. At the Warsaw Station, where the foreigners' train arrives, the carriages of the better hotels are constantly found to be at the disposal of the travelers.

JOURNEY TO ST. PETERBURG BY STEAMSHIP

In summer many travelers prefer the steamship over the railroad for the voyage to St. Petersburg. We recommend to those who have the time to take that it is preferential to have the view of the sea, as the view of the landscape from the railroad is fairly boring.

Every Sunday at midday is the place of departure of the steamship from Stettin to St. Petersburg. The trip takes 65 hours, the price of a cabin is 60 marks ($300 in 2000) and includes meals, the price for a bridge seat is 20 marks ($100 in 2000) without meals. Departure time for the return is every Thursday first thing in the morning (The New steamship company at Stettin).

There is also a second steamship service from Lubek to St. Petersburg, leaving Lubek Tuesday and Saturday in the afternoon. The same prices as for Stettin. Unfortunately the steamships of the lines mentioned do not come near the town itself but to Gutuyevsky Ostrov where one finds only rarely a connection to St. Petersburg. Thus, the travelers taking tickets must require that the steamship company furnish, by means of their agents, connecting carriages for the arriving ships from Stettin and Lubeck. These German ships are well organized for the transport of travelers and merchandise. The life on board is in generally quite pleasant and agreeable.

The travelers going to St. Petersburg via Sweden may go four times a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 6 PM; Friday at 8 PM: cost 1st class 23 roubles ($230 in 2000), 2nd 18, 3rd 13, 4th 9. The occasion to go from Stockholm with the elegant little steamers of the different Finnish companies; these boats ply their routes between the skoers (it is under this term they call the rocky small islets situated off the coast of Finland and Sweden). The voyage on the open sea does not last but a few hours; thus the people subject to seasickness may wish to make the undertaking in all safety. The diverse places for stopping along this route from Stockholm are Abo, Hangoe, Helsingfors, St. Petersburg. The customs formalities at the border which we have already mentioned are the same for those arriving by steamship. The Swedish and Finnish steamships have their arrival stations at Vassili Ostrov.

MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION

The inhabitant of St. Petersburg does not like to go about on foot, which they attribute as less agreeable and convenient than going in carriages even over enormous distances; and, in effect, the city is of gigantic proportions because of the large masses of water which cut through the city in every sense. The transportation service is assured by many kinds of carriages.

Hackney carriages (in Russian "kareta"). This is a large closed vehicle with two horses, which may carry 2 to 4 people. One finds them in different parts of the city and in the carriage houses which are placed at the disposal of the hotels. These carriages are generally fairly nice and are usually provided with rubber tires. It is best to get the price in advance; the daily rate is usually in the neighborhood of 10 roubles ($100 in 2000). Holidays or bad weather will elevate the price proportionally. One trip to the theater, there and back, with a stop at a restaurant costs 3 or 4 roubles ($30 or $40 in 2000).

Other than the two horse carriages mentioned above one also finds carriages with three horses, which is to say troikas:

Troikas: In winter a party in a sledge with three horses going wandering through the neighborhoods passes for something of a specialty completely Russian and we especially recommend it to the foreigner. The price of a troika varies from 10 to 25 roubles for an evening ($100 to $250 in 2000), but when the weather is good in winter the latter price is the prevailing one. The Lichatchi also passes for an elegant light vehicle, it has two places and a good trotting horse. They are found in any area of the city and strike everyone at once with their elegance. Again, it is equally strongly recommended to get the price in advance.

The Isovtchiks are small carriages with two seats and open sides. They are generally on rubber tires. When one wants to hire an Isovtchik one signals the coachman, tells him where one is going and the price he wishes to pay if one does not want to be overcharged. Even for long trips one might take an ordinary Isovtchik. One must first fix the price by the hour. As a benchmark one takes the ordinary price, which is as follows:

Daytime- 1/4 hour, 20 kopeks ($2.00 in 2000), 1/2 hour 35 kop. ($3.50), 3/4 hour 50 kop. ($5.00), 1 hour 65 kop. ($6.50).

Night rates: 1/4 hour 30 kop. ($3.00), 1/2 hour 50 kop. ($5.00), 3/4 hour 70 kop. ($7.00) and 1 hour 90 kop. ($9.00).

One should also adjust these sums with a supplement of 15 kopeks when one takes a coachman at a railroad station, a steamboat dock, outside a theater or other place of amusement. These rates also suppose for the trip a mean speed of 10 versts per hour.

SADDLE HORSES

For a ride outside one may rent a horse at one of the following three stables in St. Petersburg: D. Bosse, near Place Semynov (with an additional stable for the summer season behind the Stroganov Bridge, near Lansoy-Most); S. Carp, Galernaya 38; G. Weissmann in the Inchernaya, across from the Circus. A saddle horse ordinarily costs 5 roubles ($50.00 in 2000) with ladies horses a little more expensive. The horses are in general rather good.

TRAMWAYS

A great number of tramway lines both horsedrawn and steam meander from the center out to the extremities of the city, in all directions. The final point of any line is marked on the middle of a plaque of various colors; however the proceeding is not always very accurate. One must take the time to decipher the inscriptions, some rather small, which indicate the various directions. Foreigners who have not yet learned the Russian writing should never take the tramway. As with others, it is necessary to avoid them at least unless one is accompanied by someone familiar with the capital. As the conductors do not wish usually to make change, one must always have a supply of coins.

HOTELS � RESTAURANTS � CONFECTIONERS

The hotels of St. Petersburg do not present, in general, as refined or luxurious as one finds in the premiere hotels of the large European cities. Nonetheless they are nice and sufficient for any exigencies. In St. Petersburg one finds almost 60 hotels at diverse prices. There are a few nevertheless which must be recommended to the foreigner, especially the Germans. We would do well to note that the hotels are often fully booked throughout the liveliest period of winter. Also, one would do best to retain lodgings in advance if one would not like to be forced to do without. It is certainly the Hotel Europa which merits recommendation.

Hotel Europa (in Russian "Yevropyeskaya Gostinitsa"). The cost of a room varies from 1 rouble and a half ($15.00 in 2000) to 100 roubles ($1000 in 2000) for a complete lodging, including electric lighting, heat and all service. �Breakfast; coffee, tea, cocoa or hot chocolate, bread and butter; in the restaurant 60 kopeks ($6.00 in 2000) and 75 kopeks ($7.50) in your room. �Luncheon (2 plates to choose from on the daily menu) between 11:30 AM and 2:00 PM; in the restaurant 1 rouble ($10.00 in 2000) and in one's room 1.50 roubles ($15.00 in 2000); - Dinner: from 4:30 PM until 8:30 PM; menu of six entreees to choose from; 2 roubles in the restaurant ($20.00 in 2000) and 2.50 roubles ($25.00 in 2000) in one's room. For the summer season, May 15 through October 15, one may obtain a special pension price. There is a passenger elevator. The porters speak French, English, and German and are always at the disposal of guests. The hotels has baths, carriages, and one finds in the reading room the most important newspapers in Europe.

Hotel de France (in Russian " Gostinnitsa Frantsia"), Grand Morskaya No. 6 and its annex the Hotel Bellevue, Grand Morskaya No. 3. Price of a room: from 1.50 roubles )$15.00) to 10 roubles ($100.00); candles at 1 kopeks ($1.50), lamps from 50 to 75 kopeks ($5.00 to $7.50). Breakfast; coffee or tea, bread and butter, 75 kopeks ($7.50). � Lunch; two plates to choose from, 75 kopeks ($7.50) from 11AM to 2 PM. At all times one will be seated at small tables, a dinner of six plates to choose from for 1.50 roubles ($15.00). The reading room has a large number of foreign papers; the hotels carriages can be found upon arrival at the major stations.

Grand Hotel (in Russian "Grannoteli") Petit Morskaya No. 18.

English Hotel, (in Russian "Angliskaya Gostinnitsa") at the corner of Petit Morskaya 24 and the Vossnessenski Prospekt; Room 2 roubles ($20.00). Breakfast 60 kop. {$6.00), dinner 1.50 roubles ($15.00).

Grand Hotel de Paris (in Russian "Gostinnitsa Parizh") Petit Morsakaya No. 23. Rooms from 1.75 roubles ($17.50) to 10 roubles ($100). Service and heat are included in the price.

Hotel Victoria Kazanskaya No. 29, Rooms from 1.50 roubles ($15.00) to 10 roubles ($100). Electric lighting, papers from the large German cities, telephone, baths, billiards.

Furnished apartments: (in Russian "moblirovannya koumati"). The foreigners who will count on staying in St. Petersburg for a long time and find such a lengthy stay in a hotel too costly may wish to lodge in a private person's house, with our without meals. One finds in St. Petersburg more than a thousand persons who maintain such establishments; naturally the arrangement for such lodgings is most varied; the farther from the center of the city the more simple and economical; the price varies from 15 roubles ($15) to 100 roubles ($1,000) per month without meals. One finds the best furnished lodgings at Nevsky Prospekt, in the Grand and Petit Morskaya, in Gorochovaya, in the Liteini and Vossnessensky Perspekts, and at Vassili Ostrov. The heat, hot water for tea or coffee are generally included in the price of the location; service, bed linens, and towels require paying a supplement.

RESTAURANTS

The number of restaurants in St. Petersburg appears very restrained to the resident of one of the large European cities; and, again, in their small number, one can recommend only the best to the foreigner (and not just for reason of the languge). We give below a classification of restaurants; one may add, naturally, the hotels we have already named:

Restaurants of the first order (in the manner of the finest restaurants of Paris, Dressel and Hiller in Berlin, of Pforten in Hamburg):

 

  • Bellevue (more well known under the name Felicien, its old proprietor; The actual proprietor is Cubat), in a picturesque setting at Kammeni Ostrov, at the divergence of the Grand and Moyen Nevka.
  • Cafe de Paris, also run by Cubat, Grand Morskaya No. 16
  • Contant, Moika No. 58
  • Restaurant of the Bears (zum Baren) (in Russian "Medvedi")
  • Pivato Grand Morskaya 36
  • Ernest Kommeni Ostrov No.60
  • Donon, Moika, near the bridge of singers

In these restaurants one finds separate rooms for grand and lesser parties. The price of luncheon varies from 1.50 roubles ($15.00) to 2.50 roubles ($25.00) if one takes the menu of the day. In all of these restaurants, they present the foreigner a bill for payment figured upon each course. This praiseworthy practice was introduced by virtually all of the Russian restaurants of any importance. For some time now in the best of these restaurants one may, during the meal, listen to music furnished by a Romanian chapel. This innovation does not equally please all travellers.

Restaurants of the second order: (those of a more simple nature)

 

  • Leiner Nevsky Prospekt No.18 is the meeting place for business travelers.
  • Albert (French Restaurant) Nevsky No. 18 (sic)
  • E. Heymann's "American Bar" Nevsky No. 5. American drinks and excellent beer.
  • Brockmann Kazanskaya No 4
  • Lembit Sadovaya No. 9
  • Old Riga Novi Pereulok
  • Restaurant Vienna Petite Morskaya No. 13; lunch and dinner.

Most of these restaurants have billiard halls, many also have special private rooms for parties.

Russian Restaurants of the first order:

The traveler must never miss going to a Russian restaurant, if he, above all, wants to get to know Russia and Russians. While French and German cuisine predominates the above mentioned, it is Russian cuisine which is the specialty of the following restaurants. We recommend to all of our compatriots who travel to St. Petersburg to try to get to know Russian cuisine, it is most delicious. One specialty of Russian restaurants is the large mechanical musical instrument, which often has cost an enormous sum and usually plays pieces of well known music. Romanian music has also been introduced, it was Palin who first did so.

 

  • Palkin, is the oldest Russian restaurant; at the corner of Vladimirskaya and Nevsky; curious rooms, a celebrated pipe organ. Sundays during winter there is a concert during dinner hours.
  • Malo-Yaroslovetz, Grand Morskaya No. 8, many separate private rooms.
  • Michel, Vossnessensky Prospekt, No. 12
  • Dominique, Nevsky No. 12; one may find quick food here, and there is a place to eat standing.
  • Karamychov, Nevsky No. 14

In the buffet of all of these restaurants, one finds a rich "Zakouska"; in a zakouska there are quite a lot of cold plates; most often fish and mayonnaise or cured meats which one takes with vodka before the main meal. The zakouska is more or less abundant depending on the quality of the restaurant, the price of the plates is equally variable.

In certain fructarias (shops selling fine foodstuffs) one finds certain rooms for luncheon, where one may eat the fruits on display in the store as well as a choice of several hot plates of modern dishes; the caviar there is in general excellent. We recommend above all the following:

 

  • Elisayov Brothers, Vassili Ostrov, Birchavaya Line.
  • Romanov, Nevsky 27
  • Peretz, Nevsky 15
  • Smourov, Grand Morskaya 25
  • Soloviov, Petit Konniouchanaya, just off Nevsky.

One receives a fairly good dinner at a good price (90 kop. ($9.00 in 2000) at The Polish Cafe, which is very popular right now, Michailovskaya, just across from the "Heart of Europe", but one can not get alcoholic drinks there.

Confectioners:

In St. Petersburg, one does not find cafes as one finds in Paris or Berlin. We should note therefore the following:

 

  • Andreyev, Nevsky 6
  • Fillipov, Nevsky 45
  • Yerchov, Nevsky 88

Lovers of cakes will be well satisfied in St. Petersburg; they would do well to visit the following addresses:

 

  • Abrikosov, Nevsky 40 (marmalades)
  • Balle, Nevsky 54 (candied fruits and preserves)
  • Berin, Petit Morskaya (cakes)
  • Kuznetsov, Karavannaya 9 (candied fruits and preserves)
  • Kraft, Sadovaya 5 (chocolates)
  • Bormann, Nevsky 21

BATHS

One may take hot baths in all of the hotels we recommended above, so long as they are booked in advance. The bathrooms, properly called, are enclosed as are the bathtubs, however they are not specially organized as are the Russian sweat baths. This form of bath has its counterpart in other countries. We note here the best bathhouses:

 

  • The Baths of *Voronin, at the corner of the Moika and Founary Pereulok.
  • The Turkish Baths, Basseynaya 14; at Vassili Ostrov, 9th line.
  • The Baths Yegorov, Kasatchy Perulok.

One finds hairdressers, called Parikmaquer by the Russians, at Nevsky and in the nearby streets. The Hotel porter may easily identify the nearest hairdresser. The price of a shave varies from 10 to 25 kopeks ($1.00-2.50).

In the streets one finds not a few cottages of necessity. They exist for both sexes side by side at the Moscow (or Nicolas) stations, the Alexander Theatre, the Boulevard Kannogvardyesky, near the Alexander Gardens. All house owners are obliged to have public waterclosets in their courtyards; by these dark rooms are not precisely very agreeable and their use should not be considered unless of absolute necessity.

POSTS (in Russian Potchta), TELEGRAMS (in Russian Telegraph) TELEPHONE (in Russian Telephone)

The expedition and distribution of letters, selling of stamps, prepaid envelopes and post cards are done at the large Post Office of St. Petersburg from 8 AM to 4 PM; in the office annexes from 8 AM to 2 PM, except Sunday and the following holidays: Purification (2 February); Annunciation (25 March), the 3rd day of Easter, Ascension, Transfiguration (6 August), Assumption (25 August), Nativity of the Virgin (8 September), Crucifixion (14 September), Presentation (21 November), the 12th day of Christmas.

These days, the large post office is open from 8AM to Noon, the annex offices in the capital from 7 to 11 AM; the post offices and counters of the Empire as well as the stations from 9 to 11.

On the following days: Emperor's Birthday (6 December), Circumcision (New Year's), Epiphany (6 January), 1st and 2nd days of Easter, Pentecost, first day of Christmas all offices are closed and one may not send as usual letters and other simple correspondence except for placing them in letter boxes.

Note: Articles of correspondence labeled in Russian "Zakaznoye" , recommended and are handled as recommended objects; they are registered if taxed and if the address is legibly written.

Postage stamps (in Russian "Potchtovya Marky"): The are stamps of 1,2,3,4,5,7,10,20, 35,50,70 kopeks; 1, 3.50, and 7 roubles; prepaid envelopes of 5,7,10,14 and 20 kopeks, postcards of 3 kopeks and a double postcard (for prepaid response) at 6 kopeks. The cards and stamps are sold without surcharge of the price.

TELEGRAMS:

Telegrams must be written in ink, legibly, without abbreviations, corrections or erasures or scratched out words. International dispatches must be written in one of the following languages: French, German, Italian, English, Latin, Danish, Spanish, Dutch, Norse, Swedish, Portuguese, Romany, Serbian, Armenian, Slavic, Greek or Russian. For all of these languages except German one must use Roman letters.

Telegrams for the city itself cost 1 kopek ($.10 in 2000) per word with a supplement of 15 kopeks ($1.50) per telegram. There is an additional charge for verification that the telegram has been sent or received.

Telegrams for Germany or Austria-Hungary cost 10 kopeks ($1.00) per word.

TELEPHONE:

The telephone has finally been somewhat developed in St. Petersburg. The fault is with the Bell company which has held the monopoly for installing telephones and which first charges in advance an annual usage fee of 250 roubles ($2,500! in 2000) for each telephone. There are no public telephones. As a result, when the Bell lease passed to the municipal administration upon its' expiration this year, the first sales from the telephone administration were at a reduction of price of installation to 65 or 70 roubles ($650- $700).

THEATER

It is above all the theater which is a great attraction for the well informed. The interior design is in general elegant without being over-done; the seats are spacious, the aisles very large. The three Imperial Theaters of St. Petersburg are each of a special nature.

Marie Theater (in Russian "Mariyinsky Teatre"), on Theater Square. Its Ballet and Theater orchestra are wellknown. Twice a week, Wednesday and Sunday, they perform selection of Ballet, the rest of the time is always opera performed. It is rather difficult to obtain tickets for the performances of the operas. Despite the most severe efforts on the part of the police ticket scalpers have not disappeared because of their value to the public. For performances and new stagings the price is higher; the extraordinary prices are given on the posters of the Imperial Theater.

In the Imperial Theater there is no charge for the coat check. A box may not contain more than 6 people in the Alexander and Michael Theaters, or 7 in the Mariyinsky.

Taxes on tickets. There is imposed a tax on all public performances and rejoicing. These are subject to the tax: Theatrical performances, concerts, balls and mascarades in all theaters Imperial and private, the circus, public gardens, public reunions, expositions (except scientific or economic), bazaars where there is music, and in general any public diversions of any sort, including races or regattas etc. The tax imposed is in addition to the cost of the ticket, and is marked by a special supplement on the ticket. In the Imperial Theaters they affix a special stamp on the right side of the ticket and the stamp is torn upon leaving.

PRICES FOR SEATS IN THE MARIYINSKY THEATER FOR RUSSIAN OPERAS AND BALLETS (including the tax on tickets)

(modern note: for 2000 prices in US $ multiply the price by 10, ie: 14.70 roubles = $147.00)

ordinary | elevated | highest

First Loge (in russian: Locha).14,70 | 17,70 | 20,70
Premiere loge Nos 1 - 14 15,70 | 18,70 | 22,70
Corner box closed... 12,70 | 15,20 | 18,70
" open... 10,70 | 12,70 | 15,70
First (First floor) 14,70 | 17,70 | 20,70
First no. 1-26 15,70 | 18,70 | 23,70
Second Loge... 10,70 | 12,70 | 14,70
Third loge protruding 8,20 | 9.70 | 10,70
" ordinary 6,35 | 7,70 | 8,70
Third loge littera 8,70 | 10,70 | 10,70
Fourth loge... 5,35 | 6,35 | 7,70
Orchestra seats (Russian: Kresslo)
1st row 6.10 | 7,10 | 10,10
2nd 5.10 | 6,10 | 6,10
3rd... 4,10 | 5,10 | 6,10
4th 4,10 | 5,10 | 5.60
5th-7th 3,10 | 4,10 | 4.60
8th�11th 2.60 | 3,10 | 3.60
all other rows 2,10 | 2,60 | 2,60
Balcony (Russian "Balconne") 1,60 | 2,10 | 2.10

It is at the Alexander Theater (Russian "Alexandrinsky Teatre") where there are the truest Russian performances. During the great Carnival (Shrove Tuesday) the theater is closed along with all other Russian theaters. During the years a good German troupe have given performances at the theater.

The Michael Theater (in Russian "Mikhailovsky Teatre") near Michael Square gives dramatic French performances on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday; the other days of the week theater, opera or also ballet. The French troupe has been previously always excellent, but is no longer today of the same stature, but is still good. They play the most modern Parisian pieces; one should not take young girls.

CAFE CONCERTS

There are also cafe-concerts in St. Petersburg. These cafes are distinguished from ordinary ones in that they all invariably have Bohemian Russian choirs with the dress and their national dances. One finds as well singers of German, French, Swedish etc. all with a more or less original repertoire. The most noteworthy of these establishments are:

 

  • "Arkadia" near the Stroganov Bridge, Grande Nevka
  • "Aquarium", Kamenni Ostrov Prospekt
  • "Kresovsky" Kresovsky Ostrov
  • "Alcazar", Fontanka
  • "Varieties" at the corner of the Gorochovaya and Fontanka Quay.
  • "Electric Casino" just near the Strogonov Bridge.

Except for "Alcazar", one does not pay a special entry fee in winter, but the food is quite expensive. One may go to the cafes-concerts with the ladies; one would, however, not want to take them to Alcazar, nor Varieties or to the Casino.

This pamphlet was translated by Rob Moshein and readers of this page are encouraged to email him and thank him.

 

Please send your comments on this page and the Time Machine to boba@pallasweb.com

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