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Exhibit and Tour Focus on Romanovs

July 26, 1998

Eighty years after being executed by Bolsheviks, Russia's last czar, Nicholas II, and his wife, Alexandra, seem more famous than ever. Buried at last this month in St. Petersburg, they are the subject of a major exhibit opening Saturday in Wilmington, Del., and the focus of a pricey new Russian tour.

The exhibit, "Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Imperial Family of Tsarist Russia," assembles hundreds of costumes, paintings, icons, photographs and other objects from Russia's Hermitage Museum, State Archives and other sources. Most have never left Russia before.

Highlights include a 1795 gilded state carriage that carried Alexandra to her husband's coronation; clothes worn by the royal couple; Nicholas' 1917 abdication letter; and a 190-foot-long panorama of his coronation. The exhibit, in Wilmington's new First USA Riverfront Arts Center, is to run through Dec. 31. Adult admission is $12.50. Information: (888) 395-0005.

Serious Romanov family fans might consider 10-day tours, offered Oct. 8 and Nov. 5, and again in 1999, by Russiatours and Swissair. For the princely sum of $4,500 to $5,200 per person, including round-trip air fare from the East Coast, the itinerary includes the crown jewels of Russia, Romanov diaries and Nicholas' Faberge Easter egg collection. Information: (800) 633-1008.

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