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Culture news, 10.12.2004 18:55

Likhachev Foundation Introduces Pioneer Encyclopedia Project

Likhachev foundation introduces encyclopedia The Dmitry Likhachev Foundation introduced to the Moscow public today an Encyclopedia of St. Petersburg. There are local and general historians, architects, art historians and archivists on its authors' team, which exceeds 150. The alphabetically arranged entries they produced concern every aspect, however subtle, of the life of an inimitable city that was founded three centuries ago to earn the names of Northern Palmyra and Northern Venice.

Information about the ambitious publication comes from the Moscow-based Rossiiskaya Gazeta. The encyclopedia took final shape in March 2003. It comes as a third attempt to offer a comprehensive reference book on Russia's foremost cultural center. A first, which came out in 1957, was marked for scarcity of historical information and overly concise wording. Another was compiled in the 1980s to get out of print as late as 1992. What came out of it was a fruit salad of Communist precepts and innovative perestroika trends, says Alexander Basov, Dmitry Likhachev Foundation program manager.

A world web portal, to appear early next year, will offer a digitized encyclopedia version, with new entries to enlarge it every two years. An updated printed edition will come out once every ten years.Of its total 3,458 entries, biographies of St. Petersburg celebrities make 1,212. The 1,329 illustrations include city and many other maps. This is a truly comprehensive edition, complete with topics little-studied in Russia up to this day. Those are charitable works, civil society, the ethnic and social structure of the city population, religious life, history of foreign colonies in St. Petersburg, and what preceded its foundation.

The encyclopedia appeared from print in a scanty 3,000 copies. The municipal administration will buy up a greater part for 156 city public libraries, and every school library. Some copies will be posted to Russia's national and regional libraries.

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