Background | Funeral Plan

Nicholas II On July 17, 1998 the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family will be buried in St. Catherine Chapel (Ekaterininsky Predel) of Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. This will happen precisely 80 years after Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, their children and several close servants were murdered by local Bolsheviks in the town of Yekaterinburg, on July 17, 1918.

Nicholas II Romanov ruled Russia from 1895 to 1917 and lost power during Russia's February Revolution, when in the spring of 1917 he had to abdicate. The power was transferred to the Provisional Government, but shortly after that Nicholas Romanov and his family were arrested and were kept under close surveillance at the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, near the Russian capital Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). Romanovs were then transported to inner Russia to prevent them from running away abroad or from being captured by the approaching German troops. Russia's last tzar and his family spent the last months in Yekaterinburg. On July 17, 1918 they were "executed" on the orders of the local authorities and, allegedly, of the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin. The bodies of Romanovs were then thrown into one of abandoned mines.


In the end of May Russian authorities have released the details of the burial procedure. Changes to this procedure are possible if not to say likely (Russia did not bury a Tzar for over 100 years - since 1895). Here is a brief outline of the burial procedure:

The funeral ceremony will begin on July 15 in Yekaterinburg. After several church services held in Yekaterinburg Cathedral of Ascension of the Lord, on July 16 coffins with the remains of Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, three of their five children and four of their servants will be transported to St. Petersburg on board of a special plane. Another plane will carry relatives of the Romanovs, guests and journalists.

Upon arrival in St. Petersburg Pulkovo Airport, coffins with Royal remains will be greeted by guard of honor and military band, playing a funeral march. The funeral procession will go along Pulkovskoye Shosse (highway) to Ploschad Pobedy (Victory Square) and then up Moskovsky Prospekt, via 1st Krasnoarmeyskaya Ulitsa, Izmaylovsky Prospekt, and Voznesensky Prospekt to Isaakievskaya Ploschad (St. Isaac's Square). From there the procession will go to Ploschad Dekabristov, turn right to Admiralteyskaya Naberezhnaya (embankment), Dvortsovaya Naberzhnaya and cross Troitsky (Trinity) Bridge to Troitskaya Ploschad. Military cadets and officers in ceremonial dress will stand along both sides of Admiralteyskaya and Dvortsovaya Embankments.

The procession will stop at Troitskaya Ploschad (Trinity Square) opposite Peter and Paul Fortress and will be greeted by the clergy during which psalms will be sung. Coffins will be unloaded and the procession will enter Peter and Paul Fortress across Ioannovsky Bridge. The bridge will be decorated with cypress wreaths and branches of evergreen trees. The fortress will be closed to the public. Officers will carry coffins to pedestals in Peter and Paul Cathedral, where all Russian tzars from Peter the Great to Alexander III were buried. At 5 pm a requiem service will begin.

Nicholas II, his family and servants will be buried in St. Catherine Chapel of Peter and Paul Cathedral on Friday, July 17. On that day the participants of the funeral will enter Peter and Paul Cathedral at 11 am. Church bells will continue ringing till noon. At 12 o'clock sharp three single gunshots will be fired and the clergy will begin the ceremony for the dead. The coffins will be carried to St. Catherine Chapel, with servants first ending with Nicholas II. At the moment the coffins are lowered, an army unit will fire a 19-volley salute. White sand, to represent earth, will be thrown into the burial vault.

N.B.! The public may not enter the fortress from 5 pm on July 15, until 11 am on July 18. They may visit the St. Catherine Chapel of Peter and Paul Cathedral from 11 am on July 18, until 5 pm on July 20.


Because the funeral of Nicholas II is such a big and controversial event, heavy policing of the city will be introduced in order to prevent public disturbances and terrorist attacks. It is a good idea to carry your passport with you (of course in a safe inside pocket). St. Petersburg is generally safer than Moscow, New York or Maiami, but events which draw substantial crowds are never 100% safe. Watch out for occasional pickpocket and keep your valuables, wallets and cameras in a safe place.

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