Canvas Empire: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Not in the Cards


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?

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