Imperiia: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

The Interactive Index

The Handbook mentions thousands of places that fell within the boundaries of the Russian Empire in 1914. This Guidebook documents a growing number of them.

It locates them within itineraries and on maps, and catalogs their distinguishing features. That is, it catalogs the features which the Baedeker editors thought worthy of mention.

On one hand, it makes sense to study each of these places on its own terms, turning it over and over like a foreign coin on your palm. On the other, once you have studied a certain number of coins - strangely-colored and griffin-decorated as they might be - you start gaining a sense of their value, of what they represent, and of how they might be sorted. The same holds for the locations. You start gaining a sense of the connections and commonalities - the threads and throughlines - that allow these wildly varied places to tell us something about an empire that fell over a century ago.

As we turn the places over in our palms, we are tagging them. The taxonomy is not exhaustive: surely we have missed a few features unintentionally. We have also left a few features off the list intentionally. You won't find military barracks or government offices here, for example, even though we made room for Polish treachery and kumiss cures.


We believe that such editorial decisions are in keeping with the spirit of the Handbook, which skims across the surface of the empire's tourable space rather offering exhaustive descriptions. The Handbook exposes the sites most likely to attract the tourist's eye. Its contents would have puzzled locals, who would have wondered why the bread shops and offices and workshops where they spent their days had vanished from view.

This tag cloud is your interactive index to the Guidebook.

We hope it will help you see through the space of the empire, uncover connections, and tell a few stories of your own.

*Be sure to use the fullscreen view to see the full set of tags.

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