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Graphics By  Jessie  Cheong  5G  (10)  

Jamie Lai 3C

Medieval Russian Architecture

Unique features in Russian Orthodox churches v Their emphasis on a vertical design v Their frequent use of bright colors v Their construction of multiple domes The number of domes in a Russian Orthodox Church was important, as they have different representations: v One dome symbolizes the single God; v Three domes represents the Trinity, and v Five domes represents Christ and his four evangelists. At first the baptistery, narthex and choir gallery (as shown from left to right respectively in the pictures on the next page) were the common feature of early Russian Orthodox churches, but gradually they disappeared.  



Jamie Lai 3C The Major  Churches  of  Kievan  Rus  (11  century)  



Choir Gallery  

If we trace the origins of the Russian Orthodox Churches, it dates back to the time of Kievan Rus'. In A.D. 988 Prince Vladimir made Christianity the state religion of Russia. The churches built at that time were considered as the pioneers of monumental architecture in the East Slavic region. Early Eastern Orthodox Churches were mainly made of wood and were known as cell churches. Major cathedrals often included many small domes, which have led some historians to suggest that may be how the pagan Slavic temples appeared. Here are some of the most famous churches in Russia: Dormition Cathedral (Built in 1158) Basic info: This church is built in Moscow, and is considered to be the mother church of the medieval Russian architecture. It covers an area of 1178 square meters. It is a 6-pillared building and has 5 apses and 5 domes in total.


Jamie Lai 3C

The Katholikon of Yuriev Monastery (built in 1119). Basic info: It was commissioned by Prince Vsevolod and designed by Master Peter, one of the few architects in Russia at that time. Special features: Narrow windows and doublerecessed niches, its interior walls reach a height of 20m. Its pillars are closely packed, emphasizing the height of the arched ceilings. The interior contains frescoes from the prince’s workshops, depicting some of the rarest Russian paintings. Church of the Intercession on the Nerl (Built in 1165). Special features: This church is made of white stone, has one dome and four columns in the interior. The architect deliberately tried to lengthen the church so as to make its outline seem more slim and slender. During spring, the area around the church would be flooded, hence the church would then seem as though it was floating on water, which is one of the special features of this church that is worth introducing. The famous Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior Basic info: This church was a memorial to Ilya Muromets (a folk hero of Kievan Rus’). During the Mongol invasion, Ilya was famous to have saved the city. Special features: The windows in this church are more detailed and the niches are deeper when compared to other churches.


Jamie Lai 3C The Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Kozhevniki (Built in 1406). Special features: The primary difference of this church from the others is in its building material. Brick is mainly what this church is built of, as you may see from the picture on your right. This church went under restoration once, as it was damaged in World War Two. It has only one dome, and its apse faces towards the river, which provides tourists travelling on ships a welcoming sight. The walls were built from quarry stone, which is a stark contrast with the red bricks.

The Tolchkovo Church (also St. John the Baptist Church) (Built in 1671) Basic info: Built on the bank of the Kotorosl River, it is representative of the last phase of medieval Russian architecture. Special features: It is unique for its elaborate brick tracery and the vertical ascent of its 15 domes. Five of these domes are on the main church and another five are on each of the two side chapels. The 7-storey, 45-metre high bell tower was built later than the church itself in the mid-1690s. The church’s walls and dome drums are covered with shiny tiles, while the entire interior of the church is filled with frescoes with biblical themes. Â

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Jamie Lai 3C There is one church in particular that differs from all the above Russian Orthodox churchesSt. Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod (Built in 1044) Basic info: It is the oldest cathedral and oldest building that is still being used. Special features: It expressed a new style with thicker walls, narrow windows and helmeted cupolas, which had a strong influence on Russian church architecture.

A History of Russian Architecture By William Craft Brumfield Published initially in 1993, the book A History of Russian Architecture is written by William Craft Brumfield. The author had done a large amount of research and fieldwork before he started writing the book in remote areas of the Russian north and Siberia. This book defines the main components and sources for Russia’s architectural traditions in their historical context, dating from the early medieval times to present modern Russia Illustrated with photographs taken by Brumfield, "The History of Russian Architecture" is divided into four parts: the early medieval period up to the Mongol invasion; the revival of architecture in Novgorod and Muscovy from the 14th to 17th centuries; Peter the Great's cultural revolution; and the advent of modern, avant-garde and monumental Soviet architecture.

Reference List: AJ&redir_esc=y 6  

Ariel Ng 5G

The Reign of Peter the Great Pyotr Alexeyevich,  also  known  as  Peter  the  Great,   Peter  I    (9  June  1672  –  8  February  1725)  ruled  the   Tsardom  of  Russia  and  later  the  Russian  Empire  until   his  death,  jointly  ruling  before  1696  with  his  half-­‐ brother.  He  expanded  the  Tsardom  to  a  great  empire   in  several  victorious  wars  and  Russia  rose  to  become  a   major  European  power.  James  Cracraft  said  he  led  a   cultural  revolution,  replacing  certain  traditionalist  and   medieval  political  and  social  systems  with  one  that  was   scientific,  rationalist  and  contemporary.      

Baroque Architecture- Petrine Baroque Baroque architecture  was  the  building  style  that   begun  in  Italy  from  the  late  16th-­‐century,  often  to   convey  the  triumph  of  the  absolutist  state  and  the   Catholic  Church.  It  is  characterized  by  new   explorations  of  form,  light  and  shadow  and  dramatic   intensity.            Baroque  architecture  in  Russian  went  through  the  stages  of:  the  early   Moscow  Baroque  (On  the  red-­‐brick  walls  of  traditional  churches,  elegant   and  white  embellishments  developed),  the  mature  Petrine  Baroque   (imported  from  the  Low  Countries  by  majority)  and  the  late  Rastrelliesque   Baroque  (in  William  Brumfield’s  terms  ‘extravagant  in  design  and  execution,   yet  ordered  by  the  rhythmic  insistence  of  massed  columns  and  Baroque   statuary’).            The  name  Petrine  Baroque  was  applied  by  art  historians,  referring  to  a   specific  style  of  architectural  Baroque  and  decoration  favored  by  Peter  the   Great,  much  used  in  the  design  of  buildings  that  lay  in  the  newly  founded   Russian  capital  Saint  Petersburg,  under  the  monarch  and  his  immediate   successors.  It  is  to  be  differentiated  from  Naryshkin  Baroque  that  was   favored  in  Moscow  at  the  same  time.  Petrine  Baroque  represented  a  drastic   rupture  with  Byzantine  traditions  that  was  dominant  in  Russian  architecture   for  nearly  a  millennium.  Inspirations  were  drawn,  at  the  time,  from  the   Danish,  Dutch  and  Swedish  architecture  modestly,  practiced  most  famously   by  Mikhail  Zemtsov,  Andreas  Schlüte  ,  Domenico  Trezzini  and  others.  Some   of  the  best  examples  of  Petrine  Baroque  architecture  include  the  Peter  and   Paul  Cathedrall  in  St  Petersburg,  also  the  Menshikov  Tower  in  Moscow.    


Ariel Ng 5G

Saint Petersburg

      An overview of Saint Petersburg as a city

     The  Peter  and  Paul  Cathedral  is  a  Russian  Orthodox  cathedral  located   inside  the  Peter  and  Paul  Fortress  of  St.  Petersburg,  Russia.  It  was  built   between  1712-­‐1733  along  the  Neva  River  on  Zayachy  Island,  serving  as  the   first  and  oldest  landmark  in  the  area.  The  cathedral  and  the  fortress  were   initially  built  in  the  reign  of  Peter  the  Great,  designed  by  Domenico  Trezzini   and  the  cathedral’s  bell  tower  is  the  tallest  Orthodox  bell  tower  in  the  world.   Secondly,  since  the  belfry  does  not  stand  alone,  but  acts  as  an  integral  part   of  the  main  building,  the  Peter  and  Paul  Cathedral  is  sometimes  considered   the  highest  Orthodox  Church  worldwide  too.    

Peter and Paul Cathedral in a cold winter morning


Ariel Ng 5G

       As  suggested  by  its  name,  this  very  cathedral  was  dedicated  to  the  saints   Peter  and  Paul,  the  patron  saints  of  the  fortress.  The  cathedral  we  see  today  is   the  second  one  on  this  site,  for  the  first,  built  soon  after  Peter  I’s  founding  of  the   city,  was  consecrated  in  April  170  4by  Archbishop  Iov  of  Novgorod  the  Great.   The  cathedral  has  a  golden  spire  that  reaches  a  height  of  404  feet,  or  123  meters   and  on  the  top;  an  angel  stands  holding  a  cross.  The  angel  is  one  of  the  most   symbolic  characters  of  St.  Petersburg.  

The golden Angel that is on the top of the Cathedral

The colorful and magnificent ceiling of the Peter Paul Cathedral.             Another  thing  is  the  bell  tower-­‐  another  dominant   feature  of  this  cathedral  and  the  fortress.  It  is  an   architectural  symbol  as  an  important  part  of  the   fortress  physically.  Secondly,  it  is  a  part  of  the  imperial   tomb,  which  is  on  the  ground  floor.  Also,  it  serves  as  a   lightning  rod  protecting  the  building.  Nowadays,   excursions  to  the  bell  tower’s  viewing  platform  are   The biggest bells in the Bell available  from  12:00-­‐18:00.  Last  but  not  least,  it  houses   tower of the Peter and Paul a  carillon  where  periodical  concerts  are  performed.   Cathedral Reference  List:   Bushkovitch, Paul. Peter the Great (Rowman and Littlefield, 2001) Bushkovitch, Paul. Peter the Great: The struggle for power, 1671-1725 (Cambridge University Press, 2001); 485pp online edition John felming, Hugh Honour, Nikolaus Pevsner. “Russian Architecture” in the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, 5th ed.,[1996] 1998, pp. 493-498, London: Penguin. Russian art and architecture, in The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001-05.


Michael Leung 5G

As the communist party took power in Russia 1917, communism replaced monarchy, and thus led to revolutionary changes in politics, society and economy. Among these changes, there was also the transformation of architectural style, with the introduction of Stalinist architecture. Buildings in this style frequently employed stone masonry, with the products typically having small glass windows and grand facades. Employing intensive labor, these constructions despite introducing new technologies, had significantly slowed down the progress of other construction works, thus possibly adversely affecting the economic growth within USSR at that time period. Pre-war Stalinist Architecture Stalinist architectures in Russia begin with some single block constructions, considering the initial lack of resources for commitment to large-scale projects, and also the experimental nature of Stalinist constructions, before it being fully adopted as an element of the new order. Constructions at the early part of this time period included the Moskva Hotel constructed as one of the best hotels in Moscow. Through its use of detailed mosaics in the interior design, it reflected the extravagance of Stalinist architecture as shown in the buildings in this style throughout the post war era.    

The Moskva  Hotel-­‐  then  (1955)  and  Now(2012)    


Michael Leung 5G

The Moscow Master plan in 1935 showed approval for further development of Stalinist architecture, while outlining several directions and requirements for this form of architecture, mainly expanding it to a greater scale in terms of height, size, and density, thus paving way for the future large scale projects such as the Stalinskie Vysotki and the Palace of the Soviets (on paper only). One example of pre-war large-scale Stalinist constructions would be the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition, formed by pavilions of different Soviet Socialist Republics and Russian cities. Opened in 1939, it aimed to act as both a conference center and trade fair, with A  photo  depicting  the  All-­‐Union   achievements of the USSR presented Agricultural  Exhibition  in  1939   in the exhibition. In this example, Stalinist architecture is used to demonstrate the success of the Soviet Union, and to facilitate cooperation between Soviet Republics, showing the relationship between architecture and politics.  

Post-war Stalinist Architecture: After the war, the destruction brought to cities such as Stalingrad and Moscow allowed large-scale reconstruction work. Considering that the Central Committee supported Stalinist Architecture, it was widely used in reconstruction work. Residential apartments such as the House on Embankment in Moscow had showed details on the façade with grand pillars at the entrance, showing how such architectural style were employed in a greater diversity of constructions.


A comparison  of  the  House  on  Embankment  during  post  war  period  and  modern  times  

Michael Leung 5G

Residential functions Stalinist architecture was also used to demonstrate the strength of the USSR, and to compete with the technological advancements of the west. The Stalinskie Vysotki, also known as the seven sisters, were seven skyscrapers constructed in Moscow. Different from other buildings built of the same style, they were aimed to rival the Western skyscrapers representing capitalism. Despite such, they retained the Stalinist style, to a certain extent. These buildings tend to have a grand façade, consisting of a main tower surrounded by concrete complexes, bearing a similarity to gothic architecture. In addition, the placement of a spire on top of each of these skyscrapers distinguished them from their American counterparts, which seems to be an aim of the government as mentioned by Stalin that “Foreigners will come to Moscow, walk around, and there are no skyscrapers. If they compare Moscow to capitalist cities, it will be a moral blow to us.”

Moscow State   University  

Red Gates   Administrative   Building  

Kudrinskaya Square   Building  

Warsaw culture   palace  

Kotelnicheskaya  Moscow  Leningradskaya  Hotel   Hotel  Ukraina     Ministry  of  foreign   Embankment  Building   affairs  

To conclude, Stalinist architecture had became one of the major architectural styles in Russia, especially after the war. These buildings apart from their functional role as offices, hotels, conferences centers, or residential apartments, had established a new artistic order within Russia, and also demonstrated its strength in competition with Western capitalist states.

Reference List:   Architecture  of  The  Stalin  Era,  by  Alexei  Tarkhanov  (Collaborator),  Sergei  Kavtaradze     (Collaborator).   Mikhail  Anikst  (Designer),  1992  


Michael Leung 5G

Hong Kong has long had an excellent railway network covering most urban areas, with the Western District being an exception for long. In 2002, the Western Island Line has been proposed, extending rail to this relatively old residential district, with four stations: Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong University, and Kennedy Town. In the earlier colonial days, the Western district was the first organized built-up area in Hong Kong Island for Chinese locals, with Westerners occupying the central district, and thus leading to a high population density, with the people living in traditional tong laus. As the plans of Western Island line are being proposed and executed, changes, both favorable and detrimental to the district had been created over several aspects. Railway is essential to allow efficient transport to and from a district. With the construction of the Western Island Line, transportation between western district and other districts would be made more convenient, with the MTR being one more option to buses. Considering that Western district is mainly allocated as residential land use, citizens living there might encounter difficulties in commuting to work. With the construction of MTR, such problem can be solved as the accessibility of the Western district can be improved, considering the extensive network of MTR linking several districts. Thus it will allow citizens living in that district to access their workplaces easier, making life more convenient for them. For citizens living outside the district, or even visitors overseas, the MTR provides easier and direct means to access the district. So far, Western district has certain historic sites such as the Lo Pan Temple and the Old Mental Hospital (currently the Western Community Complex), which despite having a certain cultural value, are not frequently visited. With the construction of the MTR, it is expected that some of these historical sites can become more attractive to local tourists and overseas visitors. Therefore, this allows a deeper understanding of the district, and also potential


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Michael Leung 5G

revenue generated from visitors to the district, as they might visit local restaurants or hotels in the district. The above seem to indicate that the extension of the MTR benefits the Western District to a great extent. Yet it might create some negative externalities to the district, or even some spillover results that affect other areas. Considering the improved transportation, it is true that traveling between western district and other districts would be made more convenient, yet at the same time it implies that bus companies may consider canceling routes that previously run from the district to other locations. This might render travelling more difficult for some, with bus routes being more flexible than the MTR system, considering the fact that bus routes can make use of the well-developed road network to access less populated areas or locations that MTR would not be able to reach due to uneven terrain, such as the mid-levels. Furthermore, a large portion of the bus routes intended to be cut originally pass through the mid-levels, which without bus service, would become quite inaccessible, forcing citizens to rely on private cars, which is a less environmental friendly outcome in comparison to the role of the MTR in conserving energy and reducing pollution. Finally, the extension of the MTR leads to a rapid increase in property prices in the Western district, due to the increasing convenience in accessing the district. Indeed, the rise in property prices benefits some of the residents there, and yet it also happens that the rental costs of shops are rapidly increased as well. This effectively forces some of the stores out of business, where shopkeepers that own the store might consider selling the store or renting the store out to bring a greater return. Therefore, local life is disturbed to a certain extent already due to some of the spillover effects of MTR, and it is impossible to evaluate what direct results the district will face after the construction of the extension is being done.  To conclude, the MTR extension undeniably catalyzes the development of the district in both the economy and tourism, and it does happen to bring benefits in this way. Yet it should also be considered whether the district that maintained rather static for these many years would be able to cope with such rapid changes brought by the extension. Reference List: Construction of mtr est island line project commenced. (2009, August 10). News Release. Retrieved   14   from West Island Line and south island line. (2005, February 25). Retrieved from

Jessie Cheong 5G

In the past few years, Soviet Russian Reversal jokes made a strong come back, flooding the Internet with hundreds and thousands of funny posts, bringing Internet entertainment to a whole new level. They made such a blast that it even blended into our daily lives. However, despite her great popularity not everyone knows about the history of this cultural phenomenon. Yakov Smirnoff, a Ukraine-born American, creates this popular joke. It brought a great hit in the 80s but waned in the 90s together with the creator’s popularity. The essence of Russia Reversal memes is the reversal of common logic, from that bringing out the randomness and backwardness of Soviet Russia where everything can happen under any circumstances. Russian reversal jokes can exist in word form or picture form, these are some of our the all time favorites

V T   , sia s u    R u t e o i y ov hes   S   n c I wat

ia, s s u R   iet v o S   ts   n a I e   m ea Ice  cr u   yo

In Ameri ca,  You   Break  La w…   In  Soviet  Ru Law  Brea ssia,   ks  You!  

In America,  you r   work  determin es   your  marks;   In  Soviet  Russia ,   Marx  determin es   your  mark    

Reference List: Menning, C. (2010). In soviet Russia.. Retrived from 15   Russian reversal. (2014. February 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:07, March 6, 2014, from x

The field trip to Ma Shi Chau is both enjoyable and educational. Besides having fun during the hike, the trip allowed me to have a deeper understanding towards the geological history of Hong Kong. At Ma Shi Chau, there are different types of sedimentary rocks and features like faulting, folding, weathering landforms. The most memorable feature for me would be the quartz veins, which are dykes on rocks distributed like the network of blood vessels in the human body. Ma Shi Chau is an island without much human modification. As a result, the rock features have retained their natural properties and are worth studying. Being able to see the rocks in person and touch them, the visit to Ma Shi Chau enriched my knowledge of rocks besides what I have learnt during geography lessons. The leaders of the Geography-History Society certainly did a great job in introducing the rock features at Ma Shi Chau and answering our questions about them. -5E (31) Rachel Yiu

Although we have to hike for around 30 minutes to go to Ma Shi Chau from Sam Mun Tsai, Ma Shi Chau is a place worth going. Ma Shi Chau has a wide variety of landforms and other features like faulting and folding. I was really excited to be able to apply my knowledge from Geography lessons to what I can really see in Ma Shi Chau. Besides, there are landforms that I have not learnt before like kink band and quartz veins. At last, it was a wonderful opportunity to learn and relax with my friends. -5E (16) Christy Ho


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I joined the field trip to Ma Shi Chau organized by the Geography-History Society on 29th January. I had never been to or heard of Ma Shi Chau before the field trip. I really enjoyed and learnt a lot from it. Ma Shi Chau is one of the Geoparks in Hong Kong and we can find various landform features and types of rock there. During Geography lessons, we learnt about the formation of landforms and different types of rocks. It was indeed exciting to see them in person in Ma Shi Chau. During the field trip we were able to identify rocks like granite and sedimentary rocks including sandstone and mudstone. Not only can we see them, but we can also touch the rocks and feel the difference in the texture. For example, sandstone is coarse while mudstone is very smooth. This cannot be taught in school and we have to “feel” them ourselves. Also, it helps to consolidate my knowledge of rocks. Other than those I have learnt before, there are also some unique features in Ma Shi Chau like quartz veins. I was mesmerized to see these features, which are solely made by the nature. All in all, the field trip expands my geological knowledge and arouses my interest towards geology. -5E (24) Rachael Lee


Geography History Society Newsletter- March Edition  

Interested in Russian history? Want to know more about the newly extended Western Island Line of the MTR Corporate? Then you will definitely...

Geography History Society Newsletter- March Edition  

Interested in Russian history? Want to know more about the newly extended Western Island Line of the MTR Corporate? Then you will definitely...