Imperial name to St. Petersburg station reinstated

Updated 02 October 2013
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Imperial name to St. Petersburg station reinstated

MOSCOW: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has reinstated the imperial name of a train station outside Saint Petersburg that is used by tens of thousands of tourists visiting the former palaces of the tsars, state media said Sunday.
Medvedev ordered the train station to use its original name of “Tsarskoe Selo” (Tsar’s Village), which it lost almost a century ago in 1918 shortly after the Bolshevik revolution and the fall of the Romanov dynasty, according to a government decree.
Since 1918, the station had been known as “Detskoe Selo” (Children’s Village), a more neutral name as the Communists wanted to steer clear of anything that could glorify the deposed tsars.
The station is the stop-off point for the crowds of tourists who visit the spectacular imperial palaces and park in the adjacent town, which is one of Russia’s top tourist attractions.
The town’s name also had a complex history — previously known also as Tsarskoe Selo, it was also renamed as Detskoe Selo after the revolution.
In 1937, the town was again renamed Pushkin after Russia’s national poet although the train station kept the name Detskoe Selo.
The station’s name change will be a relief for tourists wanting to visit Tsarskoe Selo and bewildered by the lack of any station bearing its name.
Post-Soviet Russia has a complex attitude toward the Romanov dynasty, whose last Tsar Nicholas II was murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918 along with his family.
After years being disparaged by the Communists, the Romanov dynasty has enjoyed a new upsurge of interest, with several exhibitions this year marking its 400th anniversary.
The town of Puskhin/Tsarskoe Selo was the summer residence of the Tsars and particularly favored by Nicholas II.
The train line from Saint Petersburg was the first ever built in Russia and was opened in 1837.
The naming of stations and places is a confusing and sometimes controversial issue in Russia. While the city of Saint Petersburg regained its imperial name as the USSR crumbled, its surrounding region is still officially known as the Leningrad region.


Travel back in time at Jeddah’s cultural and heritage cafe

Cafe Magad is home to precious and rare historical antiques where tourists feel a strong sense of connection with historic Jeddah. AN photo
Updated 27 May 2018
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Travel back in time at Jeddah’s cultural and heritage cafe

  • The people of the historic area still hold their values and Ramadan traditions
  • Tourists can learn about the historical area over a cup of coffee

JEDDAH: Historic Jeddah is home to Cafe Magad, the cultural and heritage cafe. It holds many hidden treasures of the historical area. The owner and historical consultant Mazen Al-Saqaf explained how the cafe surfaced.

“It was created for visitors and tourists at the historical area of the city of Jeddah.
“Before we created the cafe, we looked at what visitors and tourists needed there, and we found that there was no restful place. Therefore we created a cafe that resembled the sitting rooms and salons in the old houses,” Al-Saqaf told Arab News.
Tourists can learn about the historical area over a cup of coffee, he said.
“It includes a small library that has books on historic Jeddah in Arabic, English and French, for tourists.”
It is also a popular destination among intellectuals and scholars. “Many historians, thinkers and literary scholars are quite fond of this cafe. They enjoy visiting it and writing about historic Jeddah,” Al-Saqaf said.
“I help historians who are writing about historic Jeddah. If anyone has a scientific paper on it, we assist them with rare photographs, rare documents, and rare books and sources,” he added.
“On the walls, you have old photographs of historic Jeddah. Visitors and tourists can see how the historic area was and how it is now. There are photographs of embassies: The American Embassy, the British Embassy, the French Embassy. When tourists visit, they can see their embassies. They used to be in these historic houses. There are also photographs of the Dutch Embassy and the Italian Embassy.
“And tourists feel some sort of connection between their history and historic Jeddah,” Al-Saqaf told Arab News.
The cafe is also home to precious and rare historical antiques.
“It holds rare antiques of historic Jeddah. For example, here we have a rare manuscript from the Mamluk period. It is from the year 800 H., and a telephone of King Farouk of Egypt, and a document of the first cheque in the Arabian Peninsula,” said Al-Saqaf.
“Every Saturday we hold a literary night, for historians, scholars and thinkers. We also have musical nights. We do all this to attract visitors from outside the historic area. We are contributing to enriching tourism,” Al-Saqaf told Arab News.
He explained that the cafe is relatively new, but the building is not: “The cafe is three years old, the building is over 400 years old.”
The people of the historic area still hold their values and Ramadan traditions.
“They gather here at the cultural and heritage cafe as one family. Each person brings a dish, and we experience Ramadan like the old days,” Al-Saqaf told Arab News.