Peculiar Hobbies Of The Russian Royalty

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Everybody needs a hobby, right? Even the kings and queens have interests, and who cares if some of them are little strange. Here’s what several Russian royals enjoyed doing in their free time.

Yaroslav the Wise


This famous Russian ruler of the ancient times was called wise not for nothing. One of his main interests were books. He accumulated a huge collection of various tomes from all over the world. Those foreign books became his studying material and with their help this knyaz managed to learn several foreign languages.

2. Ivan The Terrible


Not many people know that this tzar wasn’t busy with seeking out and punishing the traitors 24/7. In fact, he had a couple of very intellectual and not at all cruel hobbies. One of them was astronomy. Ivan spent many free hours studying the map of the starry sky. He had a personal astrologist, an Englishman, who created personal horoscopes for him.

Also he loved playing chess. Often he would summon his executioner, Malyuta Skuratov, to play the game. But usually Malyuta only pretended to be interested in the process and tried to loose as soon as possible to proceed with his other daily duties.

3. Peter the Great


Peter the Great was a man of many fascinating interests, that’s for sure. When he was young he loved playing “war”, and had his own army of friends since he was little. This army was called “Poteshnye voiska” (“Toy army of Peter the Great”) and the older the boys became, the more realistic the games were. Even special military instructors were sometimes hired to help them learn the art of battle. Many of this men indeed grew up to be amazing soldiers.

Also the emperor enjoyed keeping his hands busy. He loved ships and new well how to build a one, he knew how to work with a lathe, how to build a clock. He was also interested in medicine and sometimes he would study the corpses with the doctors. It is told that he liked to pull bad teeth for people (even when they begged him not to).

Among other hobbies the ruler collected coins and medical curiosities.

4. Peter III


He, just like his predecessor mentioned above, enjoyed playing “war” as a kid. But he always played with little figurines of soldiers and even when he grew up, he didn’t stop. There were days, even nights, that he spent playing with his little men, creating scenarios of gruesome battles and bloody fights. The toy soldiers were made out of starch and once, when Peter III left his army for a bit, a rat has bitten off a couple of limbs from their tiny bodies. Peter was so angry that he ordered to find the perpetrator, catch him, and hang him.

5. Catherine the Great


This Russian empress was famous all over Europe and kept in touch with the most accomplished philosophers, writers and creators of the time. All her life she was very fond of reading. Soon she began to not only read, but also write her own works. Ekaterina had a diary, wrote philosophical essays and essays on historical themes, published plays.

She also highly appreciated art. Because of her passion for collecting it, Russian museums like Hermitage can show off their unique and copious possessions to the public.

When the empress had some free time she also liked doing embroidery to relax and take a breath from the hectic royal life.

6. Nicholas I


It is known that Nicholas I was not only good at science and engineering, but also at art. Since a very young age he was taught by the best painters of his time. Later on in his life, he found great joy in clothing design. Mostly, when he had time for his hobby, he drew military coats. Sometimes he even upgraded the clothing with the aid of the professional seamstress. The items designed by the tzar himself were mandatory for wearing if the ruler said so.

Too bad this particular tzar doesn’t live in our time, he might have had a chance to try his hand at high fashion in Project Runway!

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