Alexander III after a hunt in Bialowieza
Александр III на охоте
Alexander III was the second son of Alexander II and of Maria Aleksandrovna (Marie of Hesse-Darmstadt). During the first 20 years of his life, Alexander had no prospect of succeeding to the throne. His training and acquaintance was with French, English, and German, and military drill. When he became heir apparent on the death of his elder brother Nikolay in 1865, he began to study the principles of law and administration under the jurist and conservative philosopher K.P. Pobedonostsev. The tsesarevich Nikolay, on his deathbed, had expressed a wish that his fiancée, Princess Dagmar of Denmark, known as Maria Fyodorovna, should marry his successor. The marriage proved a happiest one. On March 13 (March 1, O.S.), 1881, Alexander II was assassinated, and the following day autocratic power passed to his son. Alexander III political ideal was a nation with one language, one religion, and one form of administration, he sought to strengthen and centralize the imperial administration.
Belovezhskaya Pushcha became the property of the royal family in 1888 in exchange for lands in the Orel and Simbirsk provinces. After the construction of the Belovezhsky Imperial Palace was completed, Alexander III, Nicholas II, Grand Dukes often hunted in the Pushcha. In the town of Bialowieza (now Poland) a palace was built - a luxurious hunting residence with a beautiful park of 50 hectares. Only the entrance gates and several surrounding structures survived. There are numerous photographs of Nicholas II during the hunt in these places. Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna reported with great enthusiasm on September 21, 1912 from Spala to her aunt - Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna. "My dear Aunt Xenia ...": "It was terribly fun in Bialowieza. We went with Papa to hunt Olga and I. Marie was with Anastasia only twice." I stood two times with Papa on the number, since Prince Golitsyn, Prince Beloselsky and once at Drentina. "It was terribly good."