The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Samara

There was music in the evening at the restaurant in the Strukovski Garden. And there was a brewery. And a place to restore one's health by drinking fermented mare's milk.

And there is a rather puzzling monument to Tzar Alexander II, who was presented in a rather dashing and imposing way, surrounded by a peasant, a Circassian, Bulgaria (yes, apparently all of Bulgaria), and Asia (again, in human form).

I could not, for the life of me, work out what a Bulgarian - let alone Bulgaria herself - was doing in Samara.
But it turns out these are the glories of Alexander's reign: "the abolition of serfdom, the conquest of the Caucasus, the delivery of the Balkan Slavs from the Turkish yoke, and the acquisition of Central Asia." While standing in front of the monument I learned this from a charming German from the ship and was impressed. Later I realized he was shamelessly cribbing from Baedeker, page 358. Embed from Getty Images

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