St Petersburg

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Only a madman, or an oriental despot, would ever have tried to build a city on the frozen wastes and marshes where St Petersburg arose. Peter the Great was not mad: he wanted to bring western culture to Russia. But he certainly had the character of an oriental despot, and the building of the city probably cost the lives of a hundred thousand men. In the 'Peter' chapter of RUSSKA, a Cossack character loses his life building the city. And the social and political world of St Petersburg, in all its glory, forms the backdrop to the action of the 'Catherine' chapter.




 

 

 

Did You Know?
As those who have read PARIS will know, the Parisian neighborhood of Les Halles, now known for its vast mall complex, was once the site of the Cimetière des Innocents, Paris’ largest cemetery. What started in the 12th century as a smallish graveyard ballooned to a resting place for over 2 million corpses ! By the 1780’s, the cemetery had become so overfilled and unhygienic that Louis XVI closed it, and ordered all bodies be exhumed and transferred to the Catacombs. Today, only one relic remains from the neighborhood’s eerie past - La Fontaine des Innocents – a fountain built in the sixteenth century which once marked the entrance to the graveyard.




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