Peter the Great is easily my favorite Russian Tsar, and is arguably one of the most influential. He towered above his peers at about six feet, (which was abnormally tall at the time) and was rather intimidating and ferocious. His hobbies included horseback riding, sword-fighting, beard burnings, and stretchings (the latter two are forms of torture, which he was rather fond of as a whole). After a trip to Europe where he met different European rulers and learned of western customs, he decided to bring what he loved about the west to Russia. He required nobles to wear European style clothes and to trim their long beards. Peter also famously started a war in order to gain territory at a warm water port, where he later built St. Petersburg, his new capital. He made St Petersburg the center of new European inspired intellectual thought.