Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In the footsteps of Hitler

The other day I trod in the footsteps of both Adolf Hitler and the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. I was having a gander around a palace by the Neva river in stunning St Petersburg that was occupied by an uncle of Tsar Nicholas. It was suitably sumptuous and, in fact, I will be attending a private reception there next month (what a show off!). Anyway, on the second floor was a series of interconnecting rooms with a thick, rich, grey carpet with Beaujolais red patterns (pictured) in each room. This carpet, measuring some 60 metres by 10 metres, has been at the foot of key moments of the 20th century. It was originally laid down at this palace before moving to the Crimea at a summer retreat used by the tsar. It was nabbed by the Nazis in 1942 and taken to Hitler’s bunker where it was trampled on by increasingly agitated and cranky Nazi high command before mass suicide and Soviet victory whereupon the carpet was taken back to its original home in St Petersburg.