This website is part of The New York Public Library's Online Exhibition Archive. For current classes, programs, and exhibitions, please visit
Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825
1453 Through the Reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584) The Time of Troubles to the First Romanovs (1598-1682) Peter the Great and His Legacy (1682-1762) The Age of Catherine the Great (1762-1801) The Reign of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825)


Explore this Section:

Russia's Changing Borders, 1689, 1725, and 1796
Engagement Symbol
Russian Conquests, 1734: A German Depiction
Moscow as the Center of the Russian World
Engagement Symbol St. Petersburg, 1718: An Early German Depiction
The Dutch Depict Russia’s Northern Rivals
Mapping the Safavid Empire

Russia's Globalization:
A Key

Events marked Russia Symbol are specific to Muscovy/Russia's internal development.
Those marked World Symbol are important world historical or cultural events.
Engagement Symbol indicates specific points of sociocultural or military engagement between Muscovy/Russia and foreign powers or individuals.



   Moscow as the Center of the Russian World

   Photographic Services & Permissions
  Opisanie … gradov Vserossiiskoi Imperii [A Description of the Cities of the Russian Empire]
[Russia, 18th century]
NYPL, Map Division

This depiction of the skylines of Russia’s cities as they appeared at the beginning of the reign of Peter the Great (r. 1689–1725), and of the distances between them and Moscow, suggests the centrality of the old capital in the Russian consciousness. Peter would reorient the state he inherited, turning from the Russian heartland by constructing a new capital, St. Petersburg, fronting on the Baltic Sea.