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 timelines. And maps. And discoveries. 

As each tweet migrates to Canvas Empire it receives a title. The titles show on the timeline and they also show as a list at the bottom of this page. When read through in sequence, the titles are meant to provide an outline - an intriguingly thin profile - of the contents of a richly layered set of micro-texts.

The timeline entries also contain images and/or hypertext that you won't find in their corresponding tweets. To see a full entry, just click on the title text. 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). 

To be part of the journey in real time, follow us @ImperiiaProject use #Russia1914 or click here for the initial tweet.

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).

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 "Supplements" section, where you can explore the contents of the Guidebook according to theme or location.

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.

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

Can I go straight to the itineraries?
Absolutely! Click here.

Can I find out more about the source for this project?
Absolutely! This project is built around Baedeker's Russia: with Teheran, Port Arthur, and Peking: Handbook for travellers (Leipzig, 1914). For full citation information from the Harvard Library catalog, click here.

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