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Entries / Imperial Burial Vault

Imperial Burial Vault

Categories / Capital/Imperial Court
Categories / Architecture/Cemeteries (see also Municipal Economy)

IMPERIAL BURIAL VAULT. A final burial place for members of the Imperial Family had not yet been ultimately determined during Peter the Great's reign. The Tsars' kin were most often buried at the Holy Annunciation Church Burial Vault. In 1715, Nataliya, Tsar Peter the Great and Catherine I's 2-year-old daughter was interred at the unfinished St. Peter&Paul Cathedral, while Tsesarevitch Alexey Petrovich's spouse, Charlotte Christina Sophia von Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel (1694-1715), was buried under its belfry. The Tsesarevitch himself was inhumed at the same spot in 1718. In 1716, Marfa Matveevna, Tsar Fedor Alexeevich's widow, was buried near the cathedral's entrance. Upon the death of Emperor Peter the Great, the coffin with his body was put into an interim chapel inside the cathedral, which was still under construction. A proper sepulture was not held until 29 May 1731. Later, the Burial-Vault became the last refuge for all Emperors and Empresses up to and including Alexander III, apart from Peter II, who died in Moscow in 1730, and Ioann VI, who was killed in Schlisselburg in 1764. The Burial-Vault numbered 41 burial places, including those of several Grand Princes and Grand Princesses, the children and grandchildren of Emperors. In 1865, all the tombstones were replaced with matching white-marble sarcophagi, and topped with bronze gilded crosses (architects A.A. Poireau, A.L. Gun). The Imperial sarcophagi are embellished with sculptures of a double-headed eagle. Two of the sarcophagi were made at the Peterhof Stone Factory in 1887-1906, including Alexander II's (made of green jasper) and his spouse Maria Alexandrovna's (of pink rhodonite). It is rumoured that in 1918-19, when the cathedral was closed, the tombs were opened, but this has not been verified by any documents. On 17 June 1998, the remains of the Imperial Family members killed in Ekaterinburg in 1918 (Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, Tsesarevitch Alexey, Grand Princess Tatiana, Grand Princess Maria, Grand Princess Olga, and Grand Princess Anastasia) were interred at the Ekaterininsky side-chapel, in the southwestern part of the cathedral. Court physician E.S. Botkin, footman A.E. Trupp, cook I.M. Kharitonov, and maid A.S. Demidova were also buried there.

References: Петропавловский собор и великокняжеская усыпальница. СПб., 1994. (Краевед. зап.: Исслед. и материалы; Вып. 2); Гендриков В. Б., Сенько С. Е. Петропавловский собор - усыпальница императорского дома Романовых. СПб., 1998.

Y. M. Piryutko.

Alexander II, Emperor
Alexander III, Emperor
Alexandra Fedorovna, Empress
Alexey Nikolaevich, Tsesarevitch
Alexey Petrovich, Tsesarevitch
Anastasia Nikolaevna, Grand Princess
Botkin Evgeny Sergeevich
Catherine I, Empress
Charlotte Christina Sophia von Braunschweig-Wolfenbuttel, Princess
Demidova A.S.
Fedor Alexeevich, Tsar
Gun Andrey Leontievich
Ivan VI Antonovich, Emperor
Kharitonov I.M.
Marfa Matveevna, Tsarina
Maria Alexandrovna, Empress
Maria Nikolaevna, Grand Princess
Natalia Petrovna, Tsarina
Nicholas II, Emperor
Olga Nikolaevna, Grand Princess
Peter I, Emperor
Peter II, Emperor
Poireau Auguste Antonovich
Tatyana Nikolaevna, Grand Princess
Trupp A.E.

Петропавловская крепость

Петропавловский собор и великокняжеская усыпальница. СПб., 1994
Гендриков В. Б., Сенько С. Е. Петропавловский собор - усыпальница императорского дома Романовых. СПб., 1998

The subject Index
Blagoveschenskaya (Holy Annunciation) Burial Vault
SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral

Cemeteries (entry)

CEMETERIES. Even before the foundation of St. Petersburg there were several necropolises on the location of the future city: the records of the beginning of the 18th century indicate a Finnish-Swedish cemetery at Elagin (Aptekarsky) Island

Grand Princes’ Burial Vault

GRAND PRINCES’ BURIAL VAULT is an architectural monument situated in the territory of Peter and Paul Fortress, an extension to the north-eastern part of SS. Peter&Paul Cathedral

SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral

SS. PETER AND PAUL CATHEDRAL (Cathedral of the Apostles Peter and Paul), an architectural monument in the style of the Petrine Baroque. The cathedral was constructed in 1712-33 (by architect D

St. Peter and Paul fortress

ST. PETER AND PAUL FORTRESS, the historical centre of St. Petersburg, a monument of military engineering, the oldest engineering and architectural sight of the city