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The Tsar’s Photographer and His Amazing Preservation of Russian History

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Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky was a Russian chemist and photographer famous for his pioneering work in color photography in the early twentieth century.

In 1905 Gorsky set himself to the task of photographically documenting the Russian Empire with the primary aim of educating Russian schoolchildren on the diverse history and culture of the realm. After his famous color photograph of renowned author Leo Tolstoy in 1908, Gorsky received an invitation to present his work to Tsar Nicholas II and his family. So impressed was the Tsar that he commissioned Gorsky’s plan and provided him with funding and a specially-outfitted dark room rail car for his work.

From 1909 to 1915 Gorsky tirelessly traversed the Russian empire capturing thousands of shots of virtually every walk of Russian life. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the completion of his historic mission, we are publishing 100 of his best shots, giving a vivid glimpse into Tsarist Russia on the eve of the Communist Revolution.  

‘War and Peace’ author Leo Tolstoy – 1908

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84-year-old Pinkhus Karlinsky was the supervisor of the Chernigov floodgate over the course of 66 years – 1909

Dagestani couple – between 1909-1915

Assumption Cathedral in the Dalmatov Monastery – 1912

Assumption Cathedral in Tobolsk, rampart and part of fence – 1912

Austrian prisoners of war at a barracks near Kiappeselga – 1915

Young boy standing next to a gatepost – 1910

Bukharan bureaucrat – between 1909-1915

Cathedral in Shadrinsk – 1912

Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God at the Ipatevsky Monastery – 1910

Cathedral of the Transfigured Savior and Church of the Entry to Jerusalem in Torzhok – 1910

Foreman of the Chakva tea factory, Lau Dzhen Dzhau – between 1909-1915

Chapel from the time of Peter the Great near the Kivach Waterfall near the river Suna – 1915

Chapel where the city of Belozersk was founded in ancient times – 1909

Children sitting on a hill near a church and belltower in the countryside near White Lake in northern Russia – 1909

Church of the Resurrection of the Blood – between 1909-1915

Church of the Holy Mother of God in Tobolsk – 1912

Church of the Resurrection in the Grove in Kostroma – 1910

View of Dalmatov from the monastery belltower – 1912

Joining of the Irtysh and Tobol rivers – 1912

Courtyard of the Church of the Resurrection – between 1909-1915

Dagestani couple – between 1909-1915

Dmitrievsky Cathedral in Vladimir – 1911

Drying nets on Lake Seliger – 1910

Entrance to the Church of the Resurrection in Kostroma – 1910

Exit from the yard of the Church of St. George at the Riurik fortress Staraya Lagoda – 1909

Carpet merchant in Samarqand – between 1909-1915

Family working iron mines in the Bakaly Hills with shovels and horse-drawn carts – between 1909-1915

Farmers taking a rest from haying – 1909

Russian forest – 1910

Column fresco in the Church of St. John Chrystosom in Yaroslavl – 1911

Overview of Artvin from the small town of Svet – between 1909-1915

View of Liksansky Palace from the Kura River – between 1909-1915

View of Nikolaevsky Cathedral from the southwest – 1911

View of Shakh-i-Zendi Mosque in Samarkand – between 1909-1915

Georgian woman standing next to a tree – between 1909-1915

Girl with berries – 1909

Sergei Gorsky at the Karolitskhali River – 1912

Gospel belonging to the nun Varsanofiya, governess of the Tsarevna, in Trinity Monastery in Alexandrov – 1911

Group of Greek tea harvesters in Chavka – between 1909-1915

Hay storage at the Viazovaya Station – 1910

Iconostasis at a church in Borodino – 1911

Iconostasis at the Winter Church of the Fedorov Mother of God in Yaroslavl – 1911

Treasures in the vestry of the Ipatevsky Monastery in Kostroma – 1911

Borodino Museum – 1911

Jewish children with their teacher in Samarqand – between 1909-1915

Production shop for scabbards at the Zlatoust arms plant – 1910

Boat Yard in Kareshka – 1909

Large gathering of men in Central Asia, possibly for a game of Bayga – between 1909-1915

Workers laying concrete for a dam over the Oka River – 1912

Locomotive and coal car at a railroad yard – between 1909-1915

Horseman on the Golodnaya Steppe – between 1909-1915

Man sitting among bamboo trees – between 1909-1915

Man sitting on a log next to a hut for woodcutters – 1912

Melon vendor in Samarqand – between 1909-1915

Mills in Tobolsk Province – 1912

The last Emir of Bukhara, Mohammad Alim Khan – 1911

Artistic casting at Kasli Iron Works – between 1909-1915

Monks planting potatoes at Gethsemane Monastery – 1910

Mother of God-Odigitria in the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin in Smolensk – 1912

Mullahs at a mosque in Aziziya Batum – between 1909-1915

Sergei Gorsky near the Kivach Waterfall on the Suna River – 1915

Hotel in Gagra with chauffeur in front – between 1909-1915

Night camp by a rock on the banks of the Chusovaya – 1912

Kyrgyz family on the steppe – between 1909-1915

Noviy Afon Monastery Ponds – between 1909-1915

An old man in Samarqand holding a brace of birds – between 1909-1915

Ordezh River near Siverskaya Station in Petersburg Province – between 1909-1915

Handcar outside Petrozavodsk on the Murmansk Railway – between 1909-1915

Skuritskhali River – between 1909-1915

Guests standing near Catherine’s Spring at a spa at Borzhom – between 1909-1915

Rafts on Peter the Great Canal in Shlisselburg – 1909

Right bank of the Irtysh River at Tobolsk – 1912

Hauberk and helmet of St. Dalmat – 1912

Sart fields in Samarqand – between 1909-1915

Sergei Gorsky with two Cossaks in Murman – 1915

Settler’s family in village of Grafovka – between 1909-1915

Steam engine ‘Kompaund’ with Schmidt super heater – 1915

Stork in a nest in Bukhara – between 1909-1915

Tile stove in the prince’s chamber in Rosta Veliky – 1911

Tow rope bridge in the village of Lava – 1909

Trinity Cathedral in the city of Lalaturovsk – 1912

Trinity monastery in the city of Tumen – 1912

Tsar Aleksei Mikhaelovich’s gospel and Tsar Mikhael Feodorovich’s sacremental vessels in Trinity Monastery in Alexandrov – 1911

Tsarist gifts to the Goritsky Monastery – 1909

Two men and a woman standing outside the Zlatoust arms plant – 1910

Two men and two boys in Samarqand – between 1909-1915

Two men with a boat in Ostrechiny – 1909

Shir-Dar madrasa in Samarqand – between 1909-1915

Solovetsky Monastery – 1915

View of Tbilisi from St. David Church – between 1909-1915

View of Dalmatov Monastery from the Iset River – 1912

View of Tobolsk from Assumption Cathedral – 1912

Village of Kolchedan – 1912

Weighing station at the Chakva tea factory – between 1909-1915

Woman in Purdah standing next to a wooden door – between 1909-1915

Woman spinning yarn in the village of Izvedod – 1910

Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in the village of Pidma – 1909

Young woman in Malorossi (Ukraine) – between -1909-1915

Young women offer berries to visitors to their izbas – traditional wooden houses along the Sheksna River near Kirillov – 1909

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DiverXo: Spaniard Dabiz Muñoz named best chef in the world | Culture

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Spanish star chef Dabiz Muñoz was awarded the prize for being the best chef in the world at the fifth edition of The Best Chef Awards 2021 on Wednesday. The owner of DiverXo, a restaurant in Madrid with three Michelin stars, accepted his award at a live event in Amsterdam. At a press conference following the award ceremony, Muñoz (previously known as David Muñoz) said that chefs around the world are in a “hard” situation “due to the coronavirus pandemic,” which saw strict restrictions on the hospitality sector.

The Best Chef, a project created in 2015 that is dedicated to celebrating culinary talent, also released a list of its top 100 chefs, which includes 13 Spaniards. Muñoz said these types of awards not only “help restaurants, but also the people of the country” that feature on the top 100 list. “What comes to me, comes to Madrid, which to me is one of the most exciting cities in the world today for gastronomy,” said the DiverXo owner, who added that the recognition will help the Spanish capital “to continue to grow.”

Last March, Muñoz appeared at a culinary conference called “Dialogues in the Kitchen” in San Sebastián, where he talked about the “disruptive” way he had overcome the challenges that emerged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The restaurant owner told the audience that the experience had made him “renew his vows” with DiverXo. But the same could not be said for Muñoz’s restaurant in London, StreetXo, which was forced to permanently close last December, five years after it was opened.

The Swedish chef Björn Frantzen came in second place on the top 100 list, and also won The Best Chef Voted by Chefs Award. Basque chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, from Mugaritz restaurant, came in third place, while Joan Roca, from Catalonia, took home the Science Award. At the ceremony, Roca said his team “is strongly committed to science and sustainability,” and added that such awards “benefit the country more than the chef,” as the prize-winners represent “a structure, products, producers.” He also said that chefs strengthen the tourism industry and the work of local producers.

Italian chef Alfonso Iaccarino won The Best Chef Legend Award; Fatmata Binta, from Sierra Leone, received the rising star award for her work at Fulani Kitchen; Italian chef Franco Pepe won the prize for the best pizza and Vicky Lau, from Tate restaurant in Hong Kong, was awarded the food art award.

English version by Melissa Kitson.



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Commitments to end direct provision ‘already behind schedule’

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Government commitments to end direct provision are “slipping”, the State’s chief human rights and equality commissioner has warned.

Sinéad Gibney, chief of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC), said slippage meant delays and “people continue to languish in this system which deprives them of so much”.

She was addressing the Oireachtas committee on public petitions on progress implementing the Government’s White Paper on ending direct provision. Published in February by Minister for Children and Equality Roderic O’Gorman, it envisages closing all direct provision accommodation centres by the end of 2024 and replacing them with a new system of accommodation and supports.

Ms Gibney said “relatively simply fixes”, such as ensuring asylum seekers had the right to apply for a driving licence, were “already behind schedule”. The White Paper had promised legislation would be introduced before summer 2021.

“As we appear today the commission is not aware of any specific legislative amendment having been introduced to allow applications for driving licences . . . Being barred from even being able to apply for a driving licence is a massive State-built barrier to securing or seeking employment,” she said.

“The right to seek employment was hard won for asylum seekers in a Supreme Court case by a determined Burmese man . . . That victory is made hollow by such administrative barriers as access to driving licences.”

IHREC, she continued had “concerns” that an independent inspection regime of accommodation centres had not yet begun.

Before the White Paper the State had been in breach of EU directives by not ensuring vulnerability assessments were conducted on every asylum seeker on arrival.

These were now happening but at far too low a rate. “Figures provided to the Oireachtas in April this year show that 258 applicants had entered the vulnerability assessment process with 151 assessments completed and 107 then ongoing. This obviously needs to be significantly scaled up given there had been 886 applications received this year alone,” said Ms Gibney.

Stephen Kirwan of the Law Society’s human rights and equality committee, described “frustrations” among colleagues that clients in the asylum process were often not getting legal advice until “a very late stage”.

One of the “most significant obstacles to the White Paper being realised” was delays in the processing of international protection, or asylum applications, said Ihrec commissioner Colm O’Dwyer SC.

At the end of July there were more than 5,000 people awaiting a “first instance” decision on the applications and the median time to get a decision was 26.9 months, he said.

Ms Gibney called for a “mindset change” in the whole international protection system.

“It’s about moving towards informing our system with a mindset that we are lucky to welcome in many of the aspirant citizens . . . We need to invite them. We need to offer them integration from day one. We need to see and value the contribution they can make to our society and I think when we do that we do start to then see a system that is informed by trauma, that understands the trauma that some of the people have been through [and] that provides wraparound supports tailored to their needs.”

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Q&A: What is the British government doing to help Brits in Italy overcome post-Brexit hurdles?

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On Wednesday the British embassy in Rome organised a town hall-style question and answer session to allow British residents in Italy to raise concerns and put their questions to Minister Wendy Morton and British Ambassador to Italy Jill Morris.

After the session, The Local was granted a brief interview with the minister to discuss some of the major issues for UK nationals in Italy that we’ve been reporting on this past year.

From residency rights to driving licences, here are the minister’s answers to our questions about the post-Brexit rights of British citizens in Italy.

How is the UK government assisting British nationals struggling to access the new carta di soggiorno elettronica?

UK citizens living in Italy have been encouraged by the British government to apply for a carta di soggiorno elettronica, a new biometric card that proves their right to live in Italy under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

While the card is not required by the Italian government, it’s strongly recommended as the simplest way for Brits who have been resident in Italy since before January 1, 2021 to demonstrate their rights of residency and ensure they can continue to access essential services.

Some UK citizens, though, have had trouble accessing the card due to processing delays or the fact that their local police station, or questura, hasn’t yet got set up to issue the document – and have run into problems obtaining work contracts and applying for driving licenses as a result.

Anti-Brexit protesters on September 22, 2017 in Florence, Italy. Photo: Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

The minister said that the British embassy in Rome has been holding regular online meetings to listen to residents’ concerns about the card, and also provides updates via a newsletter.

“Our ambassador has a newsletter that is a way of communicating regularly to British citizens, so they can sign up to this, as well as signing up to the Foreign Office’s ‘Living In…’ guide, to get up to date information on an ongoing basis,” she said.

Ambassador Morris highlighted that the British embassy is collecting reports from British citizens who have experienced problems accessing the card (as well as any other issues) via a contact form on its website.

“We encourage British residents in Italy to report to us when they have any difficulties exercising their rights, whether that’s related to healthcare, whether that’s at the questura to get the carta di soggiorno elettronica, or any other issues people may have,” the ambassador said.

“We log the individual cases; we also look for trends, so when we see there’s a trend of a problem, for example stamping passports at a particular airport, then we target the authorities at that airport to give them information and make sure all the border guards have that information.”

The embassy sends a monthly update to the Italian authorities to alert them to ongoing issues, she added.

You can find the embassy’s contact form here.

The ambassador also noted that the British embassy has worked with Italy’s national association of mayors, Anci, to distribute a booklet to comuni across the country laying out the post-Brexit rights of British citizens.

Are the UK and Italy any closer to reaching an agreement on reciprocal driving licenses before the grace period expires at the end of this year?

After Britain left the EU at the end of last year, British residents who hadn’t yet got around to converting their UK license to an Italian one were granted a 12-month grace period in which they could continue to use their British license in Italy.

Many hoped that Italy and the UK would later come to an agreement which would allow drivers to continue using their British license beyond that point.

But with less than four months to go before the grace period expires, Brits are now wondering whether to gamble on the two countries reaching an accord by the end of this year – and risk being unable to drive come January 1st – or to undergo the time-consuming and expensive process of retaking their driving test in Italy.

When we raised this issue with Ms. Morton, she said: “We absolutely are continuing to negotiate with the Italian government on the right to exchange a UK license for an Italian one without the need to retake a driving test, and I can assure you it’s our absolute priority to reach an agreement before the end of the grace period which is at the end of this year.”

REAL ALSO: Reader question: Will my UK driving licence still be valid in Italy after 2021?

Photo: Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

What is government doing to help British-Italian families wanting to return to live in the UK?

UK nationals wanting to return to live in Britain with their EU partners have until the end of March 2022 before the bar for being granted a spousal visa will be significantly raised. That deadline is fixed and will not be extended, the minister confirmed on Wednesday.

“If they want to apply, it’s important that they apply before the deadline,” she told The Local.

“Close family members of UK nationals who return from living in the EU by the 29th of March next year can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme as long as that relationship existed before exit day,” said the minister.

“It’s also worth remembering that family members of individuals from the EU, from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Lichtenstein, as well as the families of British citizens may also be eligible to apply for a family permit under the EU Settlement Scheme, which will make it easier to travel with a family member to the UK.”

READ ALSO: Brits with EU partners warned over future problems returning to live in UK

Some EU-British couples, however, are already experiencing problems having their right to live together in the UK recognised, with reports coming out that the Home Office has denied some applications on seemingly flimsy or technical grounds.

“The fundamental thing here is that British citizens can return to the UK at any time. And it’s important that we remember that,” the minister said when asked about this issue.

In case you were wondering.

For British-Italian couples in Italy experiencing problem, “the first port of call should be our team here in the embassy; it may be that they then need to be signposted if it’s a Home Office issue,” said the minister.

“The Home Office has made a whole range of advice available online, and can also be contacted by telephone and by email.”

See The Local’s ‘Dealing with Brexit‘ section for the latest news and updates.



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