The Smyshlyaevs’ House– the Building of the Perm City Duma

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The building on the corner of Sibirskaya and Petropavlovskaya streets until the 1860s was the ancestral home of the famous merchant family of Smyshlyaev. In 1864, Dmitry Dmitrievich Smyshlyaev sold the house to the city society, and the Perm City Duma was located here.

In 1868, an apartment was arranged in this house for Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, who was in Perm, the son of Emperor Alexander II, later president of the Imperial Academy of Arts, Commander-in-Chief of the Guards and of St. Petersburg Military District. The house and especially the chambers intended for the Grand Duke were beautifully decorated. A magnificent illumination was arranged around the house.

Arriving in the early morning of August 5 at his apartment, the Grand Duke went out onto the balcony and greeted numerous townspeople, in response there was a loud cordial “hurrah”.

Having rested in the chambers prepared for him, Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich received officials and residents. A historian Shishonko presented the distinguished guest with a collection of materials about the Pugachev uprising of 1774 within the Perm Province, and photographers Heinrichs and Tchaikovsky presented pictures of Perm and Cherdyn antiquities. The Grand Duke accepted the works presented and expressed gratitude.

The former owner of the house, Dmitry Dmitrievich Smyshlyaev, in 1870 headed the Zemstvo Council of Perm Province and became the organizer of the Perm Zemstvo. In 1882, in St. Petersburg, Emperor Alexander III founded the Orthodox Palestine Society, one of the founding members of which was Smyshlyaev,
and the Chairman was the monarch’s brother, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich.

In 1885, Smyshlyaev became the first representative of the Palestine Society in Jerusalem. For four years, Smyshlyaev achieved impressive success. Thanks to him, among other things, the vast complexes of the Sergius and Alexander farmsteads were built, and the influence of Russia in the Holy Land reached an unprecedented height. Patriarch Nikodim of Jerusalem, in commemoration of Smyshlyaev’s merits, consecrated him a Knight of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher.

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