July 15, 2011

Enisei Province

This early-19th century playing card is from a set of 60 such cards, each devoted to a different province or territory of the Russian Empire, which at the time included the Grand Duchy of Finland, Congress Poland, and Russian America. One side of each card shows the local costume and the provincial coat of arms; the other side contains a map. This card depicts Enisei Province, which is located in central Siberia and takes its name from the Enisei River, one of the longest rivers in Asia. The map marks the areas settled by the native peoples of Siberia, such as Iakuts, Tungus (Evenks), Ostiaks, and others. Krasnoiarsk was the administrative center of the province, and was one of the places where the Russian imperial authorities sent political exiles. The card indicates that the distance from Krasnoiarsk to St. Petersburg was 4,889 versts, and from Krasnoiarsk to Moscow, 4,373¾ versts. A verst is a Russian measurement of distance, no longer used, equal to 1.0668 kilometers.

Irkutsk Province

This early-19th century playing card is from a set of 60 such cards, each devoted to a different province or territory of the Russian Empire, which at the time included the Grand Duchy of Finland, Congress Poland, and Russian America. One side of each card shows the local costume and the provincial coat of arms; the other side contains a map. This card depicts Irkutsk Province, located in eastern Siberia and bordered by China (present-day Mongolia) to the south. Irkutsk, situated just west of Lake Baikal, was the administrative center. The Russian imperial authorities commonly sent political exiles to the province. The card indicates that the distance from Irkutsk to St. Petersburg was 5,867½ versts, and from Irkutsk to Moscow, 5,351¾ versts. A verst is a Russian measurement of distance, no longer used, equal to 1.0668 kilometers.

Kharkov Province

This early-19th century playing card is from a set of 60 such cards, each devoted to a different province or territory of the Russian Empire, which at the time included the Grand Duchy of Finland, Congress Poland, and Russian America. One side of each card shows the local costume and the provincial coat of arms; the other side contains a map. This card depicts Kharkov Province, part of present-day Ukraine. Khar’kov (present-day Kharkiv) was founded in the 17th century as a military stronghold to protect Russia’s southern borderlands, and was the administrative center of the province. The card indicates that the distance from Khar’kov to St. Petersburg was 1,422 versts, and from Khar’kov to Moscow, 712¼ versts. A verst is a Russian measurement of distance, no longer used, equal to 1.0668 kilometers.

Kursk Province

This early-19th century playing card is from a set of 60 such cards, each devoted to a different province or territory of the Russian Empire, which at the time included the Grand Duchy of Finland, Congress Poland, and Russian America. One side of each card shows the local costume and the provincial coat of arms; the other side contains a map. This card depicts Kursk Province, located in the western part of the empire. Kursk, situated at the confluence of the Seym and Tuskar rivers, was the administrative center of the province, and is one of the oldest Russian cities. The card indicates that the distance from Kursk to St. Petersburg was 1,231 versts, and from Kursk to Moscow, 511 versts. A verst is a Russian measurement of distance, no longer used, equal to 1.0668 kilometers.

Orlov Province

This early-19th century playing card is from a set of 60 such cards, each devoted to a different province or territory of the Russian Empire, which at the time included the Grand Duchy of Finland, Congress Poland, and Russian America. One side of each card shows the local costume and the provincial coat of arms; the other side contains a map. This card depicts Orlov Province, located in the western part of the empire. Orel, the administrative center of the province, is situated on the Oka River. Orel was founded in 1564 by Ivan IV, to protect the Muscovite state against Tatar attacks. The card indicates that the distance from Orel to St. Petersburg was 1,079 versts, and from Orel to Moscow, 359¼ versts. A verst is a Russian measurement of distance, no longer used, equal to 1.0668 kilometers.

Tobolsk Province

This early-19th century playing card is from a set of 60 such cards, each devoted to a different province or territory of the Russian Empire, which at the time included the Grand Duchy of Finland, Congress Poland, and Russian America. One side of each card shows the local costume and the provincial coat of arms; the other side contains a map. This card depicts Tobolsk Province, located in the west-central part of the empire. The province is bordered by the Kara Sea and Ob' Bay in the north. The map marks the areas settled by the native peoples of Siberia, such as Ostyaks and Samoeds (Nenets). Tobol'sk, the administrative center of the province, is situated at the confluence of the Irtysh and Tobol rivers. It was one of the first towns established during the early colonization of Siberia in the 1500s. The card indicates that the distance from Tobol'sk to St. Petersburg was 2,834½ versts, and from Tobol'sk to Moscow, 2,318¾ versts. A verst is a Russian measurement of distance, no longer used, equal to 1.0668 kilometers.