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City news, 06.07.2005 14:06

Roses Planted at Peterhof

petergof_roses German Baroness Clotilde von Rintelen, great greatgranddaughter of Russia's national poet Alexander Pushkin, on Monday brought 300 rose bushes to be planted at Peterhof.

Her donation was a reference to events in 1852, when Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna bought 1,000 rose bushes for Peterhof to mark the completion of the Dvortsovy hospital at Peterhof.

Von Rintelen, a psychiatrist, who once worked at a mental rehabilitation clinic in German resort Wiesbaden, is in town to inspect the hospital, which is now called Nikolayevsky. She has been patronizing it for the past 10 years.

Born Clotilde von Merenberg, she is also the greatgranddaughter of tsar Alexander II, husband of Alexandra Fyodorovna.

Von Rintelen chose roses of beautiful, ancient types with melodic and romantic names - Madame de la Charme, Triumphe de Beville, Hero de Bataille and Louis Bonaparte - for Peterhof. The donation was supported by von Rintelen's charitable foundation and Rotary International.

"By planting these roses, we are restoring both the historical truth and the beauty of nature," she said.

In the mid-1990s, when working in Wiesbaden, von Rintelen met and befriended Russian psychiatrist Yury Linets, chief doctor of the Nikolayevsky hospital.

In 1995, she established a charitable foundation to help the then cash-strapped hospital, which had been struggling to stay afloat. The foundation has since accumulated and donated financial aid and equipment to several local clinics, including children's hospitals.

Von Rintelen travels to St. Petersburg at least twice a year, often around the time of Pushkin's birthday on June 6

Rintelen, 64, hasn't inherited much of her ancestors' wealth but cherishes a family relic, a manuscript in which Pushkin's

daughter Natalya describes her romance with Count Orlov.

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(c) 2000