Tuesday, May 6, 2014

52. Enrichment Library:  Russia - Interesting Reading List, Historical Maps, History and Novels To Share

По одёжке встреча́ют, а провожа́ют по уму́.                                  

                                Beauty may open the door, but only virtue enters. 

Literal: One meets people by their clothes, and says farewell by their mind.

From the start, in building this blog, I've incorporated quotes, folk sayings, and verbal vignettes of thinking and Russian ideas over centuries of literature to help you begin to get a feel of Russia, And I wanted to do one post about travel enriching ideas, in particular. We meet a modern city fully formed, in modern 'clothing' so to speak, when we travel, but if we want to, we can leave it knowing so much more about the virtue of it's 'mind', the vibrant history and heritage of a place.

This is travel enrichment, and actually you don't have to try to decorate your house with THIS type of souvenir of your trip, so extra appealing to someone like me.  Decorate your mind with it intead.

So THIS is that post -

Read about the amazing history of Peter the Great (with wife) or Catherine the Great
Each unfolds a glorious history of Russia and of fascinating time and people

It seems to me that whenever I travel, particularly to somewhere I've never been, it's always been very fun to pick a few period, historical or social layers of it's history and read about that time both ahead of my travel and while I'm there.

Learn more about Russia's last Tzar and his ill-fated family, shown here in photo

Not only does it making walking through the city's museums and architecture that much more interesting, it kind of brings history alive while I'm at it.

I don't mean just the usual tour guide type books, though they're great for navigation and mini-info. I mean whole eras, such as say, Peter The Great's reign, or the Catherine the Great reign and history, or maybe reading about the Romanov Tzars or even WWI or WW11 era can bring you into the visit on any layer, enriching.

Some like to do a city or country based on a particular Author's works, or even in Literary Figures (or political giants) who influenced or moved into and through the city's thread of history.

I always think this has put contextual reference and brings a city to life anew.  Just an idea. If you're trying to think of a way to enrich. I know those coming for HSCT might think it would be hard to concentrate, but you can download audiobooks of most of this and just lie and listen to the stories unfold while you're here for a month at Pirogov.

As example, I have done this on so many of my frequent antique buying trips to Paris, by now I feel like when I walk through that old historied city, I can do it in any era's 'story' and it really does change how the city looks and feels, enriching.  One year I really got into the Josephine Bonaparte life in Paris. The side trips to go see her favorite Chateau, Malmaison, just a short train west of Paris and very easy, was one  of my favorite small excursions. I'd read numerous books, including a really easy-to-digest set of 4, all written by Historical Fiction writer, Sandra Guillard.  Based on all the letters, historical documents, travel records and much date, Sandra was able to really help me enjoy getting to know Josephine.

That's just one example. And I do it for as many of my longer solo buying trips as possible, just to both engage the city and history, and to see history in a different way each trip. Audiobooks are great since you can listen to them while your out walking along or on the flight, you know.

So here is my suggestion for Moscow:  Think for a moment what layer of history most intrigues you - maybe it'll be to do with the Great Wars, (Madonna's of Leningrad" was fantastic for me due to the War and Art themed narrative of what went on in the shelter that is the Hermitage, during the World War II era).  That one is totally set to St. Petersburg, and so you might look more to Moscow topics, times. And WOW, there is no end to the ways Moscow can open its layers of history to you.  Plus you have a lot of time on your hands getting through HSCT here. Might as well learn something fun, yeah?

Follow the path of Attila the Hun through Moscow

Or Peter the Great (c1696 intaglio print, ceremonial entrance to Moscow)

The Tartar Invasion of Moscow (c. 1669 intaglio print)

Or the Great Fire of The Kremlin in 1701 (image: c1700s intaglio print)

Perhaps spend time searching out (online) historical maps and see the boundaries and entire cultures and nations move and shift in this region of our world - it's interesting, and will leave you with a richer Russian experience, a broader world view.

c.1660 Moscow Map by cartographer, Mercator, (intaglio print, hand colored)

c. 1650 Map of Moscow by Merian, important era encyclopedia (antique intaglio engraved print)

c. 1770 View of Moscow, (antique intaglio print, by Werner, hand colored)

I think you get the idea.

A month or more is a long time in one small room..  This might be just what you'll love to fill some of it up with.  Go home with a new immune system and a whole new historical knowledge you could not ever experience in just the same way without your month in Pirogov.

Check back on this posting. I will begin to flesh it out while I'm here, but I'll continue to add to it over time after I get home, too, so it will be of more interest, benefit. So for today, more the idea than the full resource.


Чтение для ума -- что гимнастика для тела.
                             Reading is to the mind what exercise to the body.

I'll be adding in some interesting titles, suggestions here as I flesh out this Blog  #52. And you can just think of it as the library post. And if you have books you've loved and want to add, add them in comments or email me and we'll be sure to add them.


Same thing applies, by the way, if you're more a movie watcher. You can load a bunch of movies that play out in and around Moscow - or just Russia. Anything from many great romance shows, to awesome spy movies, etc.  So just a thought for enriching the stay - BEING Russia in a way you might not have thought of.

I'm never bored! There is SO much to learn!

One more way to enjoy a city in a totally different way is to drag-drop (to a desktop folder on your computer) lots of early photographs taken in the city, showing both life, costume, and events whose cultural essence will enrich your modern experience. I love seeing a city in that way, too. Again, interest and time. But also a good way to burn off some of the pre-HSCT stress and jitters while you're awaiting your check-in time.

Antique 1880 Cabinet Card Souvenir Photo of St. Basil's, Moscow

You can only pack and re-pack and shop for the pefect travel soap, duct tape, etc. so much after all.  Put more of the experience of a place into your prep and you'll learn to love traveling through time as well as our modern world.  At least I sure have.

But for now, rolling over and grabbing a little more sleep, I think. Immune system building like mad, room 329, Pirogov, May 8, 2014.  And by May 12, I'll  be back HOME!  

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