The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Guidebook to a Lost Empire

This is a story unfolding - as of September 1, 2020 - on Twitter. At its heart is a guidebook, published in 1914 by Karl Baedeker, called Russia with Teheran, Port Arthur, and Peking: A Handbook for Travellers.

If the Handbook is a series of itineraries, this "Guidebook" is a series of tweets. 

(...And maps. And historical sketches. And all sorts of other goodies.) 

As each tweet migrates here it receives a title and becomes an entry in the Guidebook. The entries populate the timelines that are at the heart of the Guidebook project. They contain images and/or hypertext that you won't find in their corresponding tweets. They also bear thematic tags: this means that if you tire of following a particular itinerary, you always have the option of clicking on a tag and exploring the set of locations that have that tag in common - it is simply a different way of navigating through the contents of the Guidebook.

To get your bearings, try asking yourself these questions:

How do I read the full text of an entry?
Click on the title (in blue). You can go back and forth to and from entries to timeline, skim through the timeline, or page through the entries themselves (using the arrows on the left and right of any entry page).

Why are the entries arranged in this order?
They are arranged according to the post time of each tweet. In other words, the timeline recreates the real time in which the story is being told. It is also true that the tweets (and entries) are arranged in the order given by Baedeker's itineraries.

How soon do tweets appear on the timeline?
Some vague number of hours after posting.

What if I don't like timelines?
Try flipping through the entries by using the arrows that appear on the sides of each page.
Or... Go straight to the list of itineraries.
Or... Explore the contents of the Guidebook arranged by genre or theme.

And here, at last, is the opening timeline. The preamble. Are you ready?

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