On October 26, 2020, the ELCIR Theological Institute organized the traditional fall tour for its students and staff. Veronika Pogasiy from Kazan, Tatarstan, a church member and an art historian by education, shares her impressions:
“For me, this trip was a childhood dream come true! The incredibly beautiful Catherine Palace amazed me with its magnificence. I’m still under impression. At last I saw the legendary Amber Room and the Great Hall which fascinates me with its breathtaking beauty and the interesting approach of the artist who placed mirrors between the windows making the room look more spacious, stately, and even mysterious. It’s like a waking dream when you actually see something you have seen only in photos before! In the smaller rooms, I paid attention to the fine and very aptly chosen color scheme where the colors are not loud, but very consonant with the art displays and with the spirit of the time. The murals and especially the plafonds and the stuccos around them are incredible. Abundant as they are, they don’t stifle each other, but are mutually complementary. The artist did a great job of that, too. The items of decorative and applied arts are made of different materials, which was greatly valued by the Romanov dynasty who placed many an order with noted craftsmen of the day.
“Catherine Park and Alexander Park are places where you go for a pleasure walk, at peace, surrounded by the ensembles of smaller palaces, carefully trimmed shrubs, and elaborate garden sculptures. Although we didn’t see any flowers, the beauty of the fall accentuates the special significance of Tsarskoye Selo. Its ponds, its fountains, albeit turned off, reflect the autumnal picture as in a mirror. It’s beautiful beyond words!
“As I walked through all the rooms, in my thoughts I thanked from all my heart the restoration artists who did the impossible restoring what was destroyed during the Great Patriotic War.
“As we visited the Lutheran church in Pushkin, the pastor of the congregation Rev. Yevgeni Mikhailov guided us on a very interesting tour. He told us about the history and the present day of the church and answered his guests’ questions.
“After that, we went to see the Tsarskoye Selo Memorial Lyceum where we also had a very interesting tour learning more about the lyceum itself and about Alexander Pushkin who was a student there in the early 19th century. We were, as it were, transported back in history to the poet’s time as we saw the rooms where he studied and lived.
“On the way back, we shared our impressions and exchanged photos of the wonderful and unforgettable walk. This time was also a chance to learn a little more about one another. Blessed is the Lord who let us all take that trip and refresh our minds and bodies!”
Photo credits: tour participants