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Thursday, 14 January 2016
Old English Court in Moscow to Reopen After Restoration
Topic: Moscow

The Old English Court Museum on Varvarka Street on the east side of the Kremlin
The stone mansion of the Old English Court is an architectural monument from the early 16th century located near the Moscow Kremlin on Varvarka Street. Tsarist Russia and Shakespearean England first met here and the history of this building tells the story of trade relations between the two countries, which were especially bold during the reigns of Elizabeth I of England and Ivan the Terrible of Russia.

By the 20th century the mansion got lost among other architectural styles and became almost unrecognizable. In the 1960s restoration works began and in 1994 Queen Elizabeth visited the opening of the Old English Court museum.

“The exposition of the museum is enriched by new documents, antique furniture and multimedia elements,” said Alina Saprykina, the director of the Museum of Moscow, a consortium that manages a number of the capital’s museum offerings. “Here you can also see authentic artefacts found during an archaeological dig."

Visitors can expect costumed and interactive exhibitions, historical reconstructions and lectures about the life of foreigners in Medieval Russia, Saprykina added.

© RBTH / RIA Novosti. 14 January, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:19 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 14 January 2016 8:21 AM EST
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Thursday, 16 October 2014
Russian Group Appeals to Putin to Replace Lenin Mausoleum with Church
Topic: Moscow

The proposed Church in Honour of Our Reigning Lady of Sorrows would be built on the site of Lenin's Mausoleum on Red Square
Photo © St. Basil Russian Cultural and Educational Foundation
The Head of the St. Basil Russian Cultural and Educational Foundation, Vasily Boiko-Veliky has appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to demolish the Lenin Mausoleum on Red Square and build a church in honour of the Mother of God in it’s place.

The appeal was made to Putin by Boiko-Veliky on the opening day of the exhibition dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, at the Manege in Moscow on 4 November 2013. Boiko-Veliky suggested the idea to Putin and quotes the Russian president as saying it “an interesting idea worth considering."

V.Boiko-Veliky notes that his foundation prepared the preliminary designs for the Church in Honour of Our Reigning Lady of Sorrows on the site of the mausoleum. He went on to claim that the church blended into Red Square, maintaining the historic ambiance of the famous landmark, and without damaging any of the burial vaults located in the Kremlin walls.

The design for the proposed Church in Honour of Our Reigning Lady of Sorrows would be in the neo-Russian architectural style, and could accommodate 800 people. Its size would be noticeably smaller than the Cathedral of the Intercession (St. Basil's Cathedral), thus respecting it as the main church on Red Square, and one of the most important architectural symbols of Russia. If anything, the new church would resonate with the nearby Museum of History, also built in the Russian style.

It is interesting to note that a proposal to erect a church on the site of Lenin’s Mausoleum has been raised on numerous occasions since the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Boiko-Veliky notes that he recently sent a letter to Putin reminding him of their discussion last year and hopes that the Russian president would now make a decision on the matter, which Boiko-Veliky notes is timely, citing Putin’s proposal to reconstruct a Kremlin church and two monasteries that were destroyed by the Soviets in the late 1920s to early 1930s. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 16 October, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:13 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 18 October 2014 4:42 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 5 September 2012
Medvedev Unveils Newly-Restored Arch of Triumph
Topic: Moscow


Photo Credit: RIA Novosti 

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended the solemn unveiling on Tuesday of the newly-restored Arch of Triumph in Moscow.

Through that arch Russian regiments made their victorious return to Moscow after defeating Napoleon in the war of 1812.

One of the first monuments built to commemorate that glorious victory, the Arch of Triumph symbolizes a great patriotic upswing in the consciousness of the Russian people, the prime minster said.

© Interfax and RIA Novosti. 05 September, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:34 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Conflict Over Historic Perlov Tea House in Moscow
Topic: Moscow

Another of Moscow's architectural gems dating from the 19th century is the subject of controversy.  

The Finam investment company is facing allegations from former Perlovy & Co. general director Zhanna Kirtbaya that it is illegitimately taking over a downtown landmark, Vedomosti reported Friday.

Kirtbaya, who is 80 years old and diabetic, has holed up in an office in the building, refusing to leave since Jan. 25, when she discovered unexpectedly that she was no longer an executive of the company, her lawyer Maxim Kosarev said. She is sleeping on a sofa and, after building managers blocked access to the outside world, has received food and supplies by lowering a plastic bag out of the window on a rope.

Kirtbaya is refusing to leave the building without documents that Kosarev claims have historical and archival value.

In the late 1990s, Perlovy & Co. took out a 49-year lease from the Moscow city government for 1,800 square meters of the ornate 2,400-square-meter Perlov House — named after a pre-revolutionary merchant — on Myasnitskaya Ulitsa, where a well-known tea and coffee store is located.

The Perlov Tea House was built in 1890. It is decorated in an unusual (for Moscow) Chinese fashion, with bronze dragons and pagoda-like flourishes. Inside, the first floor, which is still a teashop, has lacquered columns and Chinese vases. According to legend, in 1893, the wealthy tea merchant Perlov, wanting to impress a representative of the emperor of China during his visit to Russia, had his teashop decorated in a Chinese style. Unfortunately for him, the Chinese representative is said to have visited a rival tea merchant instead.

© The Moscow Times and Royal Russia. 14 February, 2012


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:47 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 19 February 2012 7:26 AM EST
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Monday, 5 December 2011
St. Andrew's: Moscow's Only Anglican Church
Topic: Moscow


 St. Andrew's Church in Moscow

Moscow's only Anglican church opened its doors 127 years ago to meet the needs of the city's growing British population.

Seeing as the Scots were the wealthiest members of the community at the time, the church was dedicated to the patron saint of Scotland.

The architect, Richard Knill Freeman, never came to Russia, sending the drawings of the building (a replica of hundreds of Victorian Anglican churches) and his recommendations by post.

St. Andrew's Church in 1884 

The first church service was held in 1884. During the October Revolution in 1917 the church tower was used as a machine gun post by the Bolsheviks. The church was confiscated in 1920 and the chaplain expelled from Russia.

For 70 years, the building was put to various uses: a warehouse; a hostel; it even housed a recording studio for the famed Melodiya label.

Church services resumed on July 15th 1991, and during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II on October 19th, 1994, the Russian government agreed to return the building to religious use. Melodiya vacated the premises in 2001. Today, St. Andrew's parish is once again the centre for Moscow's British community.

© Royal Russia. 5 December, 2011


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EST
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Monday, 11 July 2011
Celebrations Set for 450 Years of St. Basil's
Topic: Moscow


Russia will celebrate the 450th anniversary of St. Basil’s Cathedral by opening an exhibition dedicated to the so-called “holy fool” who gave his name to the soaring structure of bright-hued onion domes that is a quintessential image of Russia.

The eccentrically devout St. Basil wore no clothes even during the harsh Russian winters and was one of the very few Muscovites who dared to lambast tyrannical Tsar Ivan the Terrible.

Ivan, whose gory purges claimed tens of thousands of lives, feared St. Basil as “a seer of people’s hearts and minds,” according to one chronicle. He personally carried St. Basil’s coffin to a grave right outside the Kremlin.

The cathedral, constructed to commemorate Ivan’s victory over Mongol rulers, was built on the burial site.

Deputy Culture Minister Andrei Busygin said Friday that the exhibition is opening Tuesday as part of anniversary celebrations in the cathedral after a decade-long restoration that cost 390 million rubles ($14 million). The exhibition will display relics and icons of St. Basil and other religious eccentrics, who were known as “holy fools.”

The exhibition will be part of massive celebrations of St. Basil’s anniversary that will also include a service to be held by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill and a late-night church bell concert.

“This cathedral is a shrine and a symbol of Russia,” Busygin said. “It’s a miracle that it survived at all.”

The building was severely shelled during the 1917 Bolshevik takeover of the Kremlin and was patched up during the subsequent civil war and famine.

“Those gaping wounds were stuffed with whatever was at hand,” said Andrei Batalov, deputy director of the State Kremlin Museums.

Early Communist leaders — who persecuted countless clerics of all faiths and destroyed tens of thousands of religious buildings — wanted St. Basil’s dynamited because it blocked the way for military parades, and only the cathedral’s conversion into a museum saved it.

A century earlier, Napoleon Bonaparte also ordered St. Basil’s blown up during his army’s hasty retreat from Moscow in 1812, but a heavy rain put out the burning fuses.

Originally named the Holy Trinity Cathedral, over the centuries it became known as where St. Basil is buried.

The design of its nine onion-shaped, multicolored domes combines the traditions of Russian wooden architecture with Byzantine and Islamic influences into a unique structure.

Batalov said the restoration focused on recreating the way the building looked by the late 17th century, when the nine domes were united by a wraparound floor.

By that time, St. Basil’s became a symbolic New Jerusalem and the center of Palm Sunday walks, when the Moscow Patriarch approached it sitting on a donkey to recreate Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem.

© The Moscow Times. 11 July, 2011

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:24 AM EDT
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Monday, 23 May 2011
Palaces, Historical Buildings Open Their Doors in Moscow
Topic: Moscow


The Hunting Hall, Yusupov Palace, Moscow (Photo: 

Days of historical and cultural heritage are again underway in the capital. On May 18 a campaign aimed at promoting culture opened the doors of various cultural establishments for wide audiences.

The annual initiative is being held for the 11th time. The first day of historical and cultural heritage this year took place last month on April 18.

And this Wednesday some 344 museums and other establishments offering loads of interesting things to see, including the capital’s Mayoralty and buildings of foreign embassies are working free of charge all day long.

Several new places have opened their doors to the city’s residents for the first time. Among them the building of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry right next to Red Square, the 19th-century city manor in Lusinovskaya Street, hotel "Leningradskaya" in Kalanchevskaya Street and the Moscow palace of a noble Russian family, the Yusupovs, who are widely known for their immense wealth and philanthropy and Felix Yusupov's participation in the murder of Grigorii Rasputin.

The experiment of April 18 revealed great interest in embassy buildings among Muscovites. Access to them is usually strictly limited. To finally get to see the interiors of the intriguing buildings one should have to put in some effort. The rules require your name put on the list long beforehand to permit you join an excursion group of 20 people.

The embassies of Austria, Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Cyprus, the embassy-residence of Belgium and several others joined the initiative this time.

The department of cultural heritage of Moscow plans to hold similar actions in the city every month, meeting the increasing interest of city-dwellers.

© Russia Today. 23 May, 2011

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:26 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 23 May 2011 1:29 PM EDT
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