Canvas Empire: a spatial history of the Russian EmpireMain MenuAboutGuidebook to a Lost Empirea Twitter thread / timeline / map story mashupDeal: History through Playing CardsMapStoriesGalleriesTimelinesTeach Our ContentConsult the MapToponimika (the Imperiia Gazetteer)Citing the ProjectKelly O'Neilldc20b45f1d74122ba0d654d19961d826c5a557f5The Imperiia Project // Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University
12020-08-17T11:25:44-04:00Not in the Cards34card gameplain2020-09-16T02:46:23-04:00
Sometimes, it's just not in the cards.
These playing cards are astonishing in many ways. They are informative and systematic and entertaining. They are also full of idiosyncrasies and little mysteries. Your job is to solve them (by going beyond the cards and doing some good old-fashioned research).
Here is a trio of mysteries to get you started.
Not in the Cards, Round 1
According to the playing cards... ... Vilno Province has mountains. It is a bit of a curious claim, since the area around the city of Vilnius (it is now known by its Lithuanian name) is, eh hem, not known for its elevation profile. The city does have its own ski hill, however, so perhaps there is something to the claim.
Here is your challenge: Find out to which mountains the card refers, as well as their maximum elevation.
Not in the Cards, Round 2
According to the playing cards... ...one of the claims to fame of Tiflis is that it is the burial place of someone named Griboedov.
(Literally, the card says "Griboedov is buried here.")
Here is your challenge: Determine the identity of this Griboedov character? What was his occupation?
Hint: He is the only man of his occupation named in the deck.
Not in the Cards, Round 3
According to the playing cards... ...there were "eternal fires" burning in Shemakha Province.
Here is your challenge: Find out what could possibly explain this strange phenomenon?
12020-08-17T02:53:13-04:00Patience (the game)18plain2020-09-16T02:48:07-04:00 The game of patience has a history dating back to the 18th century. It became wildly popular in the 19th, with dozens - if not hundreds - of variations proliferating across Europe.
No matter when or where it is played, patience involves the sorting of cards from a shuffled deck - sometimes by suit, sometimes by value, and sometimes according to some other organizing principle.
In other words, it is a game that challenges the player to create order from disorder.
Ready to play?
The bad news is that in order to play, you need to read Russian. The good news is that if you win, you will have learned a crucial - and often overlooked - truth about how Russian space was understood.
Do you enjoy looking at pictures? Are you good at finding patterns? Have you been known to pick a needle out of a haystack from time to time? Then this is the game for you!
In each round, you will be confronted with a question. And you will be presented with a number of cards that hold the answer. You can scroll through the cards, as if holding them in your hand, or scroll down the screen to see them all laid out on the page.
Do I need to know anything about Russian history to play (and/or win)? No. Truly. All you need is the power of observation.
Do I need to read Russian to play (and/or win)? No. Truly. This game draws on the pictorial content. Not the text.
I decided to be brave and play a round. Where can I find the answer? You will find the solution lurking at the bottom of the page. (You will click on a link to get the answer - scrolling down will not spoil the fun.)
Good luck, have fun, and check in again soon as more rounds will be posted throughout September and October!