The Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat
Собор Покрова что на Рву

The Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat (Russian: Собор Покрова что на Рву - The Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God, or simply Pokrovskiy Cathedral - Russian: Покровский Собор; better known as the Cathedral of Saint Basil the Blessed , Saint Basil's Cathedral - Russian: Храм Василия Блаженного) is a multi-tented church on the Red Square in Moscow that also features distinctive onion domes. It is very often mistaken for the Church of the Savior on Blood, located in St. Petersburg. In the West, it is frequently confused with the Kremlin which overlooks it. Arguably the most recognized building in Russia, it is an international symbol for the nation and for the city of Moscow.

Chapel of Basil the Fool.

The cathedral was commissioned by Ivan IV (also known as Ivan the Terrible) in Moscow to commemorate the capture of the Khanate of Kazan, and built from 1555 to 1561. In 1588 Tsar Fedor Ivanovich had a chapel added on the eastern side above the grave of Basil Fool for Christ (yurodivy Vassily Blazhenny), a Russian Orthodox saint after whom the cathedral was popularly named.

Saint Basil's is located at the southeast end of Red Square, just across from the Spasskaya Tower of the Kremlin. Not particularly large, it consists of nine chapels built on a single foundation. The cathedral's design follows that of contemporary tented churches, notably those of Ascension in Kolomenskoye (1530) and of St John the Baptist's Decapitation in Dyakovo (1547).

The interior of the cathedral is a collection of separate chapels, each filled with icons, medieval painted walls, and varying artwork on the top inside of the domes. The feeling is intimate and varied, in contrast to Western cathedrals which usually consist of a massive nave with one artistic style.

In a garden at the front of the cathedral stands a bronze statue commemorating Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who rallied Russia's volunteer army against the Polish invaders during the Time of Troubles in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

The initial concept was to build a cluster of chapels, one dedicated to each of the saints on whose feast day the tsar had won a battle, but the construction of a single central tower unifies these spaces into a single cathedral. A popular historical legend says that Ivan had the architect, Postnik Yakovlev, blinded to prevent him from building a more magnificent building for anyone else. In fact, Postnik Yakovlev built a number of churches after Saint Basil's, including one in Kazan'.

Web Reference:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Basil%27s_Cathedral
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/49/RedSquare_SaintBasile_%28pixinn.net%29.jpg
Personal work Christophe Meneboeuf http://www.pixinn.net


Monument to Minin and Pozharsky
памятник Минину и Пожарскому

Monument to Minin and Pozharsky (Russian: памятник Минину и Пожарскому) is a bronze statue on Red Square of Moscow right in front of Saint Basil's Cathedral. The statue commemorates prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who gathered the all-Russian volunteer army and expelled the Poles from the Moscow Kremlin, thus putting an end to the Time of Troubles in 1612.

The monument was conceived to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the events. The competition of projects was won by the celebrated sculptor Ivan Martos in 1808. In the wake of Napoleon's invasion of Russia, the monument could not be unveiled until 1818. The construction was funded by public conscription in Nizhny Novgorod, the city whence Minin and Pozharsky came to save Moscow. The tsar Alexander I, however, opted for the monument to be located on Red Square of Moscow rather than in Nizhny Novgorod.

Originally, the statue stood in the centre of the square, with Pozharsky waving his hand towards Moscow Kremlin. The Communist authorities, for whom the monument was obstructing military parades, discussed plans for its demolition or moving it to some indoor museum. In 1936, the statue was moved closer to the cathedral where it remains up to the present.

On the first celebration of the Day of People's Unity (November 4, 2005) a near exact copy of this monument by Zurab Tsereteli was erected in Nizhny Novgorod. The copy is only 5 cm shorter than the Moscow original.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_to_Minin_and_Pozharsky

Kremlin Armoury Оружейная палата

The Kremlin Armoury (Russian: Оружейная палата) is one of the oldest museums of Moscow, established in 1808 and located in the Moscow Kremlin (map).

The Kremlin Armoury originated as the royal arsenal in 1508. Until the transfer of the court to St Petersburg, the Armoury was in charge of producing, purchasing and storing weapons, jewelry and various household articles of the tsars. The finest Muscovite gunsmiths (the Vyatkin brothers), jewellers (Gavrila Ovdokimov), and painters (Simon Ushakov) used to work there. In 1640 and 1683, they opened the iconography and pictorial studios, where the lessons on painting and handicrafts could be given. In 1700, the Armoury was enriched with the treasures of the Golden and Silver chambers of the Russian tsars.

In 1711, Peter the Great had the majority of masters transferred to his new capital, St.Petersburg. 15 years later, the Armoury was merged with the Fiscal Yard (the oldest depository of the royal treasures), Stables Treasury (in charge of storing harnesses and carriages) and the Master Chamber (in charge of sewing clothes and bedclothes for the tsars). After that, the Armoury was renamed into the Arms and Master Chamber.

Alexander I of Russia nominated the Armoury as the first public museum in Moscow in 1806, but the collections were not opened to the public until 7 years later. The current Armoury building was erected in 1844-1851 by the imperial architect Konstantin Ton. After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Armoury collection was enriched with treasures taken from the Patriarch sacristy, Kremlin cathedrals, monasteries and private collections. Some of these have been sold abroad on behest of Stalin in the 1930s. In 1960, the Armoury became the official museum of the Kremlin. Two years later, the Patriarch chambers and the Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles were assigned to the Armoury in order to house the Applied Arts Museum.

Nowadays, the Kremlin Armoury is home to the Russian Diamond Fund. It boasts unique collections of the Russian, Western European and Eastern applied arts spanning the period from the 5th to the 20th centuries. Some of the highlights include the Imperial Crown of Russia, Monomakh's Cap, the ivory throne of Ivan the Terrible, and other regal thrones and regalia; the Orloff Diamond; the helmet of Yaroslav II; the sabers of Kuzma Minin and Dmitri Pozharski; the 12-century necklaces from Ryazan; golden and silver tableware; articles, decorated with enamel, niello and engravings; embroidery with gold and pearls; imperial carriages, weapons, armor, and the Memory of Azov, Bouquet of Lilies Clock, Trans-Siberian Railway, Clover Leaf, Moscow Kremlin, Alexander Palace, Standart Yacht, Alexander III Equestrian, Romanov Tercentenary, Steel Military Fabergé eggs.


Moscow Kremlin - Московский Кремль

Moskovskiy Kreml

The Moscow Kremlin (Russian: Московский Кремль, Moskovskiy Kreml), sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River (to the south), Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square (to the east) and the Alexander Garden (to the west). It is the best known of kremlins (Russian citadels) and includes four palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. The complex serves as the official residence of the President of Russia.

The name The Kremlin is often used as a metonym to refer to the government of the Soviet Union (1922–1991) and its highest members (such as general secretaries, premiers, presidents, ministers, and commissars), in the same way the name Whitehall refers to the British government, or White House refers to the executive branch of the government of the United States. It is still used in reference to the government of the Russian Federation. 'Kremlinology' referred to the study of Soviet policies.

History

Origin

The site has been continuously inhabited since the 2nd millennium BC, and originates from a Vyatich fortified structure on Borovitsky Hill where the Neglinnaya River flowed into the Moskva River. The Slavs occupied the south-western portion of the hill as early as the 11th century, as testifies a metropolitan seal from the 1090s, which was unearthed by Soviet archaeologists on the spot.

Until the 14th century, the site was known as the grad of Moscow. The word 'kremlin' was first recorded in 1331 and its etymology is disputed (see Vasmer online (Russian)). The 'grad' was greatly extended by Prince Yuri Dolgoruky in 1156, destroyed by the Mongols in 1237 and rebuilt in oak in 1339.

Seat of Grand Dukes

The first recorded stone structures in the Kremlin were built at the behest of Ivan Kalita in the late 1320s and early 1330s, after Peter, Metropolitan of Rus was forced to move his seat from Kiev to Moscow. The new ecclesiastical capital needed permanent churches. These included the Dormition Cathedral (1327, with St. Peter's Chapel, 1329), the church-belltower of St. John Climacus (1329), the monastery church of the Saviour's Transfiguration (1330), and the Archangel Cathedral (1333)—all built of limestone and decorated with elaborate carving, each crowned by a single dome. Of these churches, the reconstructed Saviour Cathedral alone survived into the 20th century, only to be pulled down at the urging of Stalin in 1933.

Dmitri Donskoi replaced the oaken walls with a strong citadel of white limestone in 1366–1368 on the basic foundations of the current walls; this fortification withstood a siege by Khan Tokhtamysh. Dmitri's son Vasily I resumed construction of churches and cloisters in the Kremlin. The newly-built Annunciation Cathedral was painted by Theophanes the Greek, Andrey Rublev, and Prokhor in 1405. The Chudov Monastery was founded by Dmitri's tutor, Metropolitan Alexis; while his widow, Eudoxia, established the Ascension Convent in 1397.

Residence of Tsars

Grand Prince Ivan III organised the reconstruction of the Kremlin, inviting a number of skilled architects from Renaissance Italy, like Petrus Antonius Solarius, who designed the new Kremlin wall and its towers, and Marcus Ruffus who designed the new palace for the prince. It was during his reign that three extant cathedrals of the Kremlin, the Deposition Church, and the Palace of Facets were constructed. The highest building of the city and Muscovite Russia was the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, built in 1505–08 and augmented to its present height in 1600. The Kremlin walls as they now appear were built between 1485 and 1495. Spasskie gates of the wall still bear a dedication in Latin praising Petrus Antonius Solarius for the design.

After construction of the new kremlin walls and churches was complete, the monarch decreed that no structures should be built in the immediate vicinity of the citadel. The Kremlin was separated from the walled merchant town (Kitai-gorod) by a 30-metre-wide moat, over which the Intercession Cathedral on the Moat was constructed during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. The same tsar also renovated some of his grandfather's palaces, added a new palace and cathedral for his sons, and endowed the Trinity metochion inside the Kremlin. The metochion was administrated by the Trinity Monastery and boasted the graceful tower church of St. Sergius, which was described by foreigners as one of the finest in the country.

During the Time of Troubles, the Kremlin was held by the Polish forces for two years, between 21 September 1610 and 26 October 1612. The Kremlin's liberation by the volunteer army of Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky paved the way for the election of Mikhail Romanov as the new tsar. During his reign and that of his son Alexis, the eleven-domed Upper Saviour Cathedral, Armorial Gate, Terem Palace, Amusement Palace and the palace of Patriarch Nikon were built. Following the death of Alexis, the Kremlin witnessed the Moscow Uprising of 1682, from which tsar Peter barely escaped, causing him to dislike the Kremlin. Three decades later, Peter abandoned the residence of his forefathers for his new capital, Saint Petersburg.

Imperial period

Although still used for coronation ceremonies, the Kremlin was abandoned and neglected until 1773, when Catherine the Great engaged Vasily Bazhenov to build her new residence there. Bazhenov produced a bombastic Neoclassical design on a heroic scale, which involved the demolition of several churches and palaces, as well as a portion of the Kremlin wall. After the preparations were over, construction halted due to lack of funds. Several years later, the architect Matvei Kazakov supervised the reconstruction of the dismantled sections of the wall and of some structures of the Chudov Monastery, and constructed the spacious and luxurious offices of the Senate, since adapted for use as the principal workplace of the President of Russia.

Following Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, the French forces occupied the Kremlin from 2 September to 11 October. When Napoleon fled Moscow, he ordered the whole Kremlin to be blown up. The Kremlin Arsenal, several portions of the Kremlin Wall and several wall towers were destroyed by explosions and fires damaged the Faceted Chamber and churches. Explosions continued for three days, from 21 to 23 October. Fortunately, the rain damaged the fuses, and the damage was less severe than intended. Restoration works were held in 1816–19, supervised by Osip Bove. During the remainder of Alexander I's reign, several ancient structures were renovated in a fanciful neo-Gothic style, but many others were condemned as 'disused' or 'dilapidated' (including all the buildings of the Trinity metochion) and simply torn down.

On visiting Moscow for his coronation festivities, Nicholas I was not satisfied with the Grand, or Winter, Palace, which had been erected to Rastrelli's design in the 1750s. The elaborate Baroque structure was demolished, as was the nearby church of St. John the Precursor, built by Aloisio the New in 1508 in place of the first church constructed in Moscow. The architect Konstantin Thon was commissioned to replace them with the Grand Kremlin Palace, which was to rival the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg in its dimensions and the opulence of its interiors. The palace was constructed in 1839–49, followed by the new building of the Kremlin Armoury in 1851.

After 1851, the Kremlin changed little until the Russian Revolution of 1917; the only new features added during this period were the Monument to Alexander II and a stone cross marking the spot where Grand Duke Sergey Aleksandrovich of Russia was assassinated by Ivan Kalyayev in 1905. These monuments were destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

Soviet period and beyond

The Soviet government moved from Petrograd to Moscow on 12 March 1918. Lenin selected the Kremlin Senate as his residence, and his room is still preserved as a museum. Stalin also had his personal rooms in the Kremlin. He was eager to remove from his headquarters all the 'relics of the tsarist regime'. Golden eagles on the towers were replaced by shining Kremlin stars, while the wall near Lenin's Mausoleum was turned into the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.

The Chudov Monastery and Ascension Convent, with their magnificent 16th-century cathedrals, were dismantled to make room for the military school and Palace of Congresses. The Little Nicholas Palace and the old Saviour Cathedral were pulled down as well. The residence of the Soviet government was closed to tourists until 1955. It was not until the Khrushchev Thaw that the Kremlin was reopened to foreign visitors. The Kremlin Museums were established in 1961 and the complex was among the first Soviet patrimonies inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1990.

Although the current director of the Kremlin Museums, Elena Gagarina (Yuri Gagarin's daughter) advocates a full-scale restoration of the destroyed cloisters, recent developments have been confined to expensive restoration of the original interiors of the Grand Kremlin Palace, which were altered during Stalin's rule. The Patriarch of Moscow has a suite of rooms in the Kremlin, but divine service in the Kremlin cathedrals is held irregularly, because they are still administrated as museums.

Buildings

The existing Kremlin walls and towers were built by Italian masters over the years 1485 to 1495. The irregular triangle of the Kremlin wall encloses an area of 275,000 square meters (68 acres). Its overall length is 2235 meters (2444 yards), but the height ranges from 5 to 19 metres, depending on the terrain. The wall's thickness is between 3.5 and 6.5 meters.
Inside the Terem Palace.

Originally there were eighteen Kremlin towers, but their number increased to twenty in the 17th century. All but three of the towers are square in plan. The highest tower is the Spasskaya, which was built up to its present height of 71 metres in 1625. Most towers were originally crowned with wooden tents; the extant brick tents with strips of colored tiles go back to the 1680s.

Cathedral Square is the heart of the Kremlin. It is surrounded by six buildings, including three cathedrals. The Cathedral of the Dormition was completed in 1479 to be the main church of Moscow and where all the Tsars were crowned. The massive limestone facade, capped with its five golden cupolas was the design of Aristotele Fioravanti. Several important metropolitans and patriarchs are buried there, including Peter and Makarii. The gilded, three-domed Cathedral of the Annunciation was completed next in 1489, only to be reconstructed to a nine-domed design a century later. On the south-east of the square is the much larger Cathedral of the Archangel Michael (1508), where almost all the Muscovite monarchs from Ivan Kalita to Alexis I of Russia are interred. (Boris Godunov was originally buried there, but was moved to the Trinity Monastery.)

Church of the Deposition (1488).

There are two domestic churches of the Metropolitans and Patriarchs of Moscow, the Church of the Twelve Apostles (1653–56) and the exquisite one-domed Church of the Deposition of the Virgin's Robe, built by Pskov artisans over the years 1484–88 and featuring superb icons and frescoes from 1627 and 1644.

The other notable structure is the Ivan the Great Bell Tower on the north-east corner of the square, which is said to mark the exact centre of Moscow and resemble a burning candle. Completed in 1600, it is 81 meters (266 ft) high. Until the Russian Revolution, it was the tallest structure in the city, as construction of buildings taller than that was forbidden. Its 21 bells would sound the alarm if any enemy was approaching. The upper part of the structure was destroyed by the French during the Napoleonic Invasion and has, of course, been rebuilt. The Tsar bell, the largest bell in the world, stands on a pedestal next to the tower.

Church of the Twelve Apostles (1654–56).

The oldest secular structure still standing is Ivan III's Palace of Facets (1491), which holds the imperial thrones. The next oldest is the first home of the royal family, the Terem Palace. The original Terem Palace was also commissioned by Ivan III, but most of the existing palace was built in the 17th century. The Terem Palace and the Palace of Facets are linked by the Grand Kremlin Palace. This was commissioned by Nicholas I in 1838. The largest structure in the Kremlin, it cost an exorbitant sum of eleven million rubles to build and more than one billion dollars to renovate in the 1990s. It contains dazzling reception halls, a ceremonial red staircase, private apartments of the tsars, and the lower storey of the Resurrection of Lazarus church (1393), which is the oldest extant structure in the Kremlin and the whole of Moscow.

The northeast corner of the Kremlin is occupied by the Arsenal, which was originally built for Peter the Great in 1701. The northwestern section of the Kremlin holds the Armoury building. Built in 1851 to a Renaissance Revival design, it is currently a museum housing Russian state regalia and Diamond fund.

Web References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kremlin_Armoury
http://www.kremlin.museum.ru/main_en.asp


Novodevichy Convent

Bogoroditse-Smolensky Monastery

Новоде́вичий монасты́рь, Богоро́дице-Смоле́нский монасты́рь

Novodevichy Convent, also known as Bogoroditse-Smolensky Monastery (Russian: Новоде́вичий монасты́рь, Богоро́дице-Смоле́нский монасты́рь) is probably the best-known cloister of Moscow. Its name, sometimes translated as the New Maidens' Monastery, was devised to differ from an ancient maidens' convent in the Moscow Kremlin. Unlike other Moscow cloisters, it has remained virtually intact since the 17th century. In 2004, it was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Muscovite period

Cathedral of Our Lady of Smolensk (16th century).

The Novodevichy Convent was founded in 1524 by Grand Prince Vasili III in commemoration of the conquest of Smolensk in 1514. It was built as a fortress at a curve of the Moskva River and became an important part of the southern defensive belt of the capital, which had already included a number of other monasteries. Upon its founding, the Novodevichy Convent was granted 3,000 rubles and the villages of Akhabinevo and Troparevo. Ivan the Terrible would later grant a number of other villages to the convent.

The Novodevichy Convent was known to have sheltered many ladies from the Russian royal families and boyar clans, who had been forced to take the veil, such as Feodor I's wife Irina Godunova (she was there with her brother Boris Godunov until he became a ruler himself), Sophia Alekseyevna (Peter the Great's sister), Eudoxia Lopukhina (Peter the Great's first wife), and others. In 1610–1611, the Novodevichy Convent was captured by a Polish unit under the command of Aleksander Gosiewski. Once the cloister was liberated, the tsar supplied it with permanent guards (100 Streltsy in 1616, 350 soldiers in 1618). By the end of the 17th century, the Novodevichy Convent had already possessed 36 villages (164,215 desyatinas of land) in 27 uyezds of Russia. In 1744, it owned 14,489 peasants.

Imperial period

In the mid-17th century, they transferred the nuns from other Ukrainian and Belarusian monasteries to the Novodevichy Convent. In 1721, some of the aged nuns, who had done away with the Old Believers movement, were given shelter there. In 1724, the monastery housed a military hospital for the soldiers and officers of the Russian army and an orphanage for female foundlings. By 1763, the convent housed 84 nuns, 35 lay sisters, and 78 sick patients and servants. Each year, the state provided the Novodevichy Convent with 1,500 rubles, 1,300 quarters of bread, and 680 rubles and 480 quarters of bread for more than 250 abandoned children.

In 1812, Napoleon's army made an attempt to blow up the convent, but the nuns managed to save the cloister from destruction. In Tolstoy's War and Peace, Pierre was to be executed under the convent walls. In another novel of his, Anna Karenina, Konstantin Lyovin (the main character) meets his future wife Kitty ice-skating near monastery walls. Indeed, the Maiden's Field (as a meadow in front of the convent came to be known) was the most popular skating-rink in 19th-century Moscow. Tolstoy himself enjoyed skating here, when he lived nearby, in the district of Khamovniki.

In 1871, the Filatyev brothers donated money for a shelter-school for the orphans of 'ignoble origins'. Also, the convent housed two almshouses for nuns and lay sisters. In early 1900s, the Cathedral was surveyed and restored by architect and preservationist Ivan Mashkov. By 1917, there had been 51 nuns and 53 lay sisters in the Novodevichy Convent.

Octagonal bell-tower (1689-90).

Soviet period and beyond

In 1922, the Bolsheviks closed down the Novodevichy Convent (the cathedral was the last to be closed, in 1929) and turned it into the Museum of Women's Emancipation. By 1926, the monastery had been transformed into a history and art museum. In 1934, it became affiliated with the State Historical Museum. Most of its facilities were turned into apartments, which spared the convent from destruction.

In 1943, when Stalin started to make advances to the Russian Orthodox church, he sanctioned opening the Moscow Theological Courses at the convent. Next year the program was transformed and became the Moscow Theological Institute. In 1945, the Soviets returned Assumption Cathedral to the believers. The residence of the Metropolitan of Krutitsy and Kolomna has been located in the Novodevichy Convent since 1980.

In 1994, nuns returned to the convent, which is currently under the authority of the Metropolitan of Krutitsy and Kolomna. Some of the churches and other monastic buildings are still affiliated with the State Historical Museum. In 1995, they resumed service in the convent on patron saint's days.

Monuments

Tsarevna Sofia Alekseyevna at the Novodevichy Convent (1879), by Ilya Repin.

The oldest structure in the convent is the six-pillared five-domed cathedral (picture), dedicated to the icon Our Lady of Smolensk. Extant documents date its construction to 1524–1525; yet its lofty ground floor, magisterial proportions, and projecting central gable are typical of monastery cathedrals built at the behest of Ivan the Terrible. Most scholars agree that the cathedral was rebuilt in the 1550s or 1560s; it was formerly ringed by four smaller chapels, in an arrangement reminiscent of the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin. Its frescos are among the finest in Moscow.

The cathedral may be a focal point of the monastery, but there are many other churches. Most of them date from the 1680s, when the convent was thoroughly renovated at the behest of the regent Sophia Alexeyevna (who, ironically, would be incarcerated there later). The blood-red walls and crown-towers, two lofty over-the-gates churches, a refectory, and residential quarters were all designed in the Muscovite Baroque style, supposedly by a certain Peter Potapov. In the old cathedral, a new bowl for holy water and gilded carved iconostasis were installed in 1685. Its four tiers contain 16th-century icons endowed by Boris Godunov; the fifth tier displays icons by leading 17th-century painters, Simeon Ushakov and Fyodor Zubov.

An arresting slender belltower, also commissioned by Sophia, was built in six tiers to a height of 72 metres, making it the highest structure in 18th-century Moscow (after Ivan the Great Bell Tower). This light octagonal column seems to unite all major elements of the ensemble into one harmonious whole.

Novodevichy Cemetery

Like other Moscow monasteries (notably the Danilov and the Donskoy) the New Maidens' Monastery was coveted by the Russian nobility as a place of burial. Sergey Solovyov and Alexei Brusilov are only two of the many prominent Muscovites buried within convent walls. The Napoleonic hero Denis Davydov is also buried in the grounds. In 1898, the so-called Novodevichy Cemetery was opened without monastery walls. Anton Chekhov was one of the first notables to be interred at the new necropolis, and Nikolai Gogol was later reburied there too. During the Soviet epoch, it was turned into the most high-profile cemetery in Russia, with the likes of Peter Kropotkin, Nikita Khrushchev, Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Konstantin Stanislavski, and Boris Yeltsin being interred there.

Web Reference:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novodevichy_Convent
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Novodevichy_Convent_2.jpg


State Historical Museum of Russia

Государственный Исторический музей

The State Historical Museum of Russia (Russian: Государственный Исторический музей) is a museum of Russian history wedged between Red Square and Manege Square in Moscow. Its exhibitions range from relics of the prehistoric tribes inhabiting present-day Russia, through priceless artworks acquired by members of the Romanov dynasty. The total number of objects in the museum's collection numbers in the millions.

The spot where the museum now stands was formerly occupied by the Principal Medicine Store, built on the order of Peter the Great in the Moscow baroque style. Several rooms in that building housed royal collections of antiquities. Other rooms were occupied by the Moscow University, founded by Mikhail Lomonosov in 1755.

The museum was founded in 1872 by Ivan Zabelin, Aleksey Uvarov and several other Slavophiles interested in promotion of Russian history and national self-awareness. The board of trustees, composed of Sergey Solovyov, Vasily Klyuchevsky, Uvarov and other leading historians, presided over construction of the museum building. After a prolonged competition the project was awarded to Vladimir Osipovich Shervud (or Sherwood, 1833-97).

The present structure was built to Sherwood's neo-Russian design between 1875 and 1881, and officially opened in 1894 by Tsar Alexander III. Its interiors were intricately decorated in the Russian Revival style by such artists as Viktor Vasnetsov, Henrik Semiradsky, and Ivan Aivazovsky. During the Soviet period the murals were proclaimed gaudy and plastered over. The museum went through a painstaking restoration of its original appearance between 1986 and 1997.

Notable items include a longboat excavated from the banks of the Volga River, gold artifacts of the Scythians, birch-bark scrolls of Novgorod, manuscripts going back to the 6th century, Russian folk ceramics, and wooden objects. The library boasts the manuscripts of the Chludov Psalter (860s), Svyatoslav's Miscellanies (1073), Mstislav Gospel (1117), Yuriev Gospel (1119), and Halych Gospel (1144). The museum's coin collection alone includes 1.7 million coins, making it the largest in Russia. In 1996 number of all articles in the museum's collection achieved 4,373,757.

A branch of the museum is housed in the adjacent building of the Moscow City Hall; two others are accommodated in the Novodevichy Convent and Saint Basil's Cathedral.

Web Reference:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Historical_Museum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:State_Historical_Museum,_Moscow,_Russia.jpg


Moscow Москва Moskva

Moscow Russian: Москва, Moskva, is the capital and the largest city of Russia. It is also the largest metropolitan area in Europe, and ranks among the largest urban areas in the world. Moscow is a major political, economic, cultural, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the world, a global city. It is also the seventh largest city proper in the world, a megacity. Population of Moscow (as of 1 June 2009) is 10,524,400.

It is located on the Moscow River in the Central Federal District, in the European part of Russia. Historically, it was the capital of the former Soviet Union, Russian Empire, Tsardom of Russia and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. It is the site of the Moscow Kremlin, one of the World Heritage Sites in city, which serves as the residence of the President of Russia. The Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) and the Government of Russia also sit in Moscow.

Moscow is a major economic centre and is home to one of the largest numbers of billionaires in the world; in 2008 Moscow was named the world's most expensive city for foreign employees for the third year in a row. However, in 2009, Moscow moved to third after Tokyo and Osaka came in first and second, respectively.

It is home to many scientific and educational institutions, as well as numerous sport facilities. It possesses a complex transport system, that includes 3 international airports, 9 railroad terminals, and the world's second busiest (after Tokyo) metro system which is famous for its architecture and artwork. Its metro is the busiest single-operator subway in the world.

Over time, the city has earned a variety of nicknames, most referring to its pre-eminent status in the nation: The Third Rome (Третий Рим), Whitestone (Белокаменная), The First Throne (Первопрестольная), The Forty Forties (Сорок Сороков.)

A person from Moscow is called a Muscovite in English, Moskvich in Russian.


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