The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

The Itineraries

Baedeker's Russia: A Handbook for Travellers (1914) contains 88 itineraries. We are assembling them here one by one, recreating the sequence of each journey and connecting places - across itineraries - by theme.

What to expect when you click on a "Route"

Champagne? Confetti? Fireworks?

Better.

At the top of the page you will see the full set of stations as placemarks on a Google Map. The placemark number corresponds to the station sequence. You can read more about a location by clicking on the placemark and then on the placename.

Just below the interactive map is a subtle link that will bring you back back to this page.

Then we get to the good stuff. The timeline is next, showing the tweet thread for the itinerary. Navigate using the black arrows on either side or by dragging the timeline in either direction. Once you have scrolled the timeline, we recommended going back and opening the initial tweet so that you can see the full content. Page through from there using the arrows on either side of the page or making use of the handy blue "continue" button at the bottom of the screen. Return to main route page using the (subtle) link at the top. There is a "How to Use This Page" guide on every route page to help you with all of this.

The tags are at the bottom of the page, and this is definitely a case of last-but-not-least. Our method for assigning tags is simple: if the Handbook mentions the Cathedral of the Transfiguration on the Volga Quay in Ruibinsk (Rybinsk), we assign the "Orthodox churches" tag to Ruibinsk. And so on. You will not be able to tell how many churches there are in Ruibinsk, or what their names are. The tag indicates only that there is at least one Orthodox church in that location. To dig into all of the good meaty details you will need to open up the Handbook.

Is that spelling... right?

Yes and no. We retained all spellings of proper names as they are given in the Handbook. These follow the standards established by the Royal Geographical Society, rather than the modern transliteration systems we are used to, but we like the vintage flavor.

Are we telling you everything we know?

Not remotely. We allow ourselves to enhance the content of the Handbook only on special occasions (when the Handbook mentions a specific source or we can tie a source directly to the content of the tweetline). The Guidebook texts are fictional musings on an imagined experience. They are not wikipedia-style place histories. They are meant to make you insatiably curious: so curious that you can't help but open up the Handbook to see what it actually says or maybe even do some research yourself. 

What if you have questions?

Would you like to know more about our method? Are you dying to learn more about a place or theme highlighted by the Guidebook? You can find us on Twitter @ImperiiaProject or email us at imperiia@fas.harvard.edu.

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