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Palace of Rundale

The Palace of Rundāle is situated in southern Latvia. Far apart from any larger settlement it is a beautiful baroque building surrounded by nature. Rundāle was erected in 1768 and planned by the renown Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who mainly worked for the Russian Zars before and was also responsible for the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg and the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo. In Soviet times the palace was used as a school, today it is refurbished and houses a museum. Part of the historic site is also a beautiful English garden on the rear of the building.

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Russia

One vast country, two very different metropoles. Last October I had the chance to visit St. Petersburg and Moscow. The Russian capital is a sprawling metropolis, seemingly endless in size and grand in scope (picture 2). With the medieval Kremlin (picture 7) being in the center, caring the weight of the old Russian culture. Moscow is also very much a Russian city. Impressive still are the old Soviet monuments like the seven sisters (again picture 7) and the subway system (picture 3). St. Petersburg is different. The city is much younger than Moscow and was erected by the Russian Tsar Peter the Great in 1703. Build on a former swamp it was conceived as European city (pictures 1, 8). Many channels divide the city and make it seem like a northern Venice or Amsterdam (picture 5). As the former capital of the Russian monarchy it contains many beautiful palaces like the Eremitage (picture 4) and the Katherine’s Palace (pictures 6, 9). All in all the visit of both St. Petersburg and Moscow makes an interesting mix and enables one to get different perspectives on a interesting country with a multifaceted history and soul.

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