Russia Peterhof Villa Lower Dacha

Lower Dacha

On 27 May 1895, Tsar Nicholas II wrote in his diary: “With joyous and sad feelings, I drove into dear Alexandria and entered our house by the sea. It seems so strange to live here with my wife. Although space is at a premium, the rooms are lovely and ideally arranged. The new room (Alix’s) downstairs by the dining room has been beautifully decorated. But the pride and joy of the whole house is the proximity to the sea!”

This house by the sea was the Lower Dacha or Lower Palace, designed by Anton Tomischko in a Neo-Renaissance style. Built by Tsar Alexander III for his son and heir between 1883 and 1885, the palace was small and cosy. Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna particularly liked its location on the seashore, far away from Nicholas’s mother and other in-laws, who lived at the Cottage and the Farm.

There were virtually no interconnecting rooms in the Lower Dacha, which was specially designed to exclude outsiders. The ground floor housed the official premises. Very few guests were ever invited to the first floor, which contained the emperor’s walnut study, the empress’s sitting room and the Rose Drawing Room.

The second floor housed Nicholas and Alexandra’s bedroom and the Lesser Drawing Room (Coffee Room), where the whole family gathered in the evenings. The birth of children meant a need for more space. Between 1895 and 1897, a new wing called the Children’s Half was added to the southern side.

Alexandria is linked to many important events in the life of Nicholas II. In the summer of 1890, he went there to talk to his parents about marrying Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt. On 2 June 1894, he set off from Peterhof to England, in order to spend time with his fiancée and plan their wedding. After they were married, Alix gave birth to four of their five children at the Lower Dacha – Tatyana (1897), Maria (1899), Anastasia (1901) and Alexis (1904).

Nicholas’s desire to spend as much time as possible with his family meant that, in summer, the wheels of government moved to Peterhof. The tsar signed many famous documents at the Lower Dacha, including the manifesto of 17 October 1905, granting civil freedoms, his decrees dissolving the First Duma in July 1906 and the Second Duma in June 1907, and the manifesto on Russia’s entry into the First World War on 20 July 1914.

Nicholas and his daughters paid their last visit to Alexandria on 18 August 1915, when they stopped there on the way to Kronstadt. The Lower Dacha was turned into a museum after the revolution, but was later awarded to the NKVD as a rest home. The building was badly damaged in the Second World War and the remains were blown up in 1961.

Random Articles

Cinema
Saide, Daughter of the Crimea (late 1910s)
Saide, Daughter of the Crimea was shot at the film studios of Alexander Khanzhonkov. There is no surviving information on the film or its contents. All that remains is the movie bill, which is similar to the posters advertising
American
Abraham Manievich
Painter, teacher. Born in the family of Anshel Manievich in Mstislavl in Mohilev Province (1881). Studied at the Kiev School of Art (1902–05) and Anton Ažbè’s school and the Königliche Akademie der Künste in Munich (1905–07).
Monastic Life
History of Russian Monasticism
After Rus adopted Christianity in the late tenth century, the new religion was mostly spread by the grand princes of Kiev. The first cathedrals were built in various towns by such rulers as Vladimir the Great, Yaroslav the
Moscow Conceptualism
Victor Pivovarov
Painter, graphic artist, object artist, installation artist, illustrator. Born in the family of Dmitry Pivovarov in Moscow (1937). Graduated from the Mikhail Kalinin School of Art and Industry in Moscow (1957) and studied at
German
Alexander Georg Schlater
Painter, graphic artist, teacher. Son of German landscape painter Georg Friedrich Schlater (1804–1870). Born in Dorpat (1834). Studied under his father in Dorpat and under Maxim Vorobyov at the Imperial Academy of Arts