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Friday, 22 August 2014
Reconstruction in the Kremlin to Surpass all the Project's Ever Coordinated With UNESCO
Topic: Kremlin


The Chudov Monastery was destroyed during the Soviet years
 
Reconstruction of the monastery on the territory of the Moscow Kremlin will considerably surpass all other projects that were coordinated with UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), reported Russia’s permanent representative at the organization Eleonora Mitrofanova.

Earlier president of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin proposed to restore within the Moscow Kremlin two monasteries and one church that until 1930 had been situated on the site of the Building 14 of the Kremlin. According to him, such a plan can be implemented only after approval by the public and by UNESCO, reports the Kommersant newspaper with the reference to RIA-Novosti.

“The proposed project, which, according to the Russian president Putin, is still ‘just an idea, a proposal’, is a large-scale one and it considerably surpasses the actions that were coordinated with UNESCO before. And the organization’s requirements are very, very strict,” said Mrs. Mitrofanova.

At the same time, she insists that we must not disregard “the deep symbolism of the proposed project for our country, which is standing in the new phase of its historical development, its perception of the world”. “Hence, the degree of responsibility for the final decision regarding the beginning of the reconstruction on the territory, I would say, of the central Russian cultural and historical monument is of major state importance,” Eleonora Mitrofanova added.

She earlier informed that Russia was to prepare a detailed experts’ report on the influence that the future construction would have on the universal value of the Kremlin. “Outstanding universal value” is the main criterion which is taken into account at the inclusion of one or another object into the UNESCO World Heritage list. The decision of UNESCO will depend on substantiation of these works, the permanent representative then stated. 
 
For more information on this topic, please refer to the following articles:

Restore Destroyed Orthodox Monasteries in Kremlin, says Putin

Archaeologists Believe Excavation of Kremlin Monasteries to Yield Great Discoveries

Putin Wants Monasteries, Church Rebuilt in Kremlin

© Pravoslavie.ru. 22 August, 2014

 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:41 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 August 2014 7:57 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Restore Destroyed Orthodox Monasteries in Kremlin, says Putin
Topic: Kremlin


The Presidium (Building 14) was built on the site of the Chudov Monastery, and the Ascension Convent during the Soviet years.
It is currently draped with a large linen poster depicting the Soviet structure hidden behind it. Photo © airpano.ru
 
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the August 18th, 2014 edition of the Russia Beyond the Headlines. The author Dmitriy Romendik, own the copyright of the work presented below.

President Vladimir Putin, in a conversation with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, has suggested demolishing a Kremlin administrative building and restoring two Orthodox monasteries. Would this demolition damage the Kremlin’s architectural synthesis and could the monasteries that were destroyed in 1930 be adequately recreated?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested pulling down a Kremlin administrative building due for renovation and restoring two ancient Orthodox monasteries that previously occupied the site. Putin made the comments in a recent conversation with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin about the fate of the Kremlin Presidium, also known as Building 14, located between the Spasskaya Gate and the Senate Palace.
 
Demolition order for recent history?
 
Building 14 is a relatively recent addition to the Kremlin ensemble. It was built by the architect Ivan Rerberg in 1934 on the site of two monasteries – the Chudov and the Ascension – that were demolished in 1929 and 1930. Many churches were blown up at that time all over Russia as the government sought to do away with Orthodox houses of worship and imagery, which were incompatible with the communist ideology of the new state. Originally, major repairs were planned for the building. However, the president is now convinced that demolition will be more expedient than renovation. The administrative building has a rather short, but rich, history. In the 1930s it housed a Military College; however, it soon moved to a more spacious location and the Secretariat of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was located there in the 1930s.

In 1958, part of the building was even rebuilt as part of the Kremlin Theater, but the building was not equipped for large events from the very beginning; moreover it was located in the Kremlin’s administrative zone, which made receiving large numbers of spectators more difficult. So in 1961 the idea was rejected. At the end of the Soviet period in 1991, then-president Mikhail Gorbachev allocated part of the building to Boris Yeltsin, who shortly thereafter was elected president of the Russian Federation (then within the framework of the Soviet Union). After the collapse of the USSR, Building 14 returned to the spotlight – Russian presidents’ press conferences were held there periodically through 2008.
 
Restoration or something new?
 
In itself, the demolition of the building does not arouse any particular objections (it is not an architectural monument). However, the overall appearance of the Kremlin – which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List – may suffer. “For now, only the decision to suspend the renovation has been made. But for a demolition an agreement will have made with UNESCO,” Spokesman for the Office of Presidential Affairs Viktor Khrekov told RBTH.

Can the exact look of the ancient monasteries be recreated? Rustam Rakhmatullin, coordinator at architectural watchdog Arhnadzor, believes there is not enough information available (the architectural plans have not been preserved) and a modern copy of a historical building will be the result, i.e. it will be an inaccurate and historically unverified copy. The renowned architect Mikhail Leikin agrees with his colleagues, but provided an example of a successfully restored church – the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan on Red Square – in a conversation with an RBTH reporter. The church in question was demolished in 1936 and rebuilt in 1990-1993. The Chudov and Ascension monasteries were among Russia’s most ancient; they were founded in 1365 and 1386. However, they were destroyed and rebuilt many times, so they lost their original appearance. A number of architects have supported the idea of restoring the monasteries based on the many photographs which have been preserved. “This is absolutely realistic and there is nothing difficult about it – even if there won’t be a perfect resemblance,” said Vice President of the Union of Architects of Moscow, Alexei Bavykin. Viktor Khrekov provided assurances that even if UNESCO approves the demolition of the administrative building, the construction of monasteries will not begin immediately: "If an agreement is reached with UNESCO, we will initiate a broad-based discussion with the expert representatives from the Union of Architects, organizations for the protection of monuments, and museum staff," he said.
 
The Kremlin as public domain
 
No one knows yet how to react to the president’s words. The demolition of the building will either happen or it won’t (it depends on UNESCO), and the monasteries will either be restored or not (this question is still in the very early stages of discussion).

There is also the alternative option of creating an architectural park in the location of the demolished building (if it is indeed demolished), by cleaning up the remains of the ancient foundations of the two monasteries. Meanwhile, a section of the Kremlin that was previously accessible to the general public will now be removed from the list of sensitive sites. In late July the Kremlin took the decision to open the Spasskaya Tower gate to tourists; previously only presidential corteges and the Kremlin’s New Year tree were allowed through it. Kremlin Commandant Sergei Khlebnikov recently said that the section between the Borovitskaya and Tainitskaya towers will become open to visitors. The Kremlin “is releasing” a piece of territory and changing its status from that of sensitive location to tourist site.
 
For more information on this topic, please refer to the following article:

Archaeologists Believe Excavation of Kremlin Monasteries to Yield Great Discoveries

Putin Wants Monasteries, Church Rebuilt in Kremlin 

© Dmitriy Romendik / RBTH. 19 August, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:30 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 19 August 2014 1:55 PM EDT
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Thursday, 14 August 2014
Archaeologists Believe Excavation of Kremlin Monasteries to Yield Great Discoveries
Topic: Kremlin


Historic watercolour shows (from left to right): the Chudov Monastery, the Small Nikolaevsky  Palace, and the Ascension Convent
 
According to Sergei Devyatov, head of the department of 20th century National History at the Moscow Lomonosov State University, part of the site of the demolished Chudov (in honor of the miracle of Archangel Michael) and Ascension Monasteries of the Moscow Kremlin have survived, reports Interfax-Religion.

“Parts of the Chudov Monastery were simply paved over. Underground rooms have survived. And if the monastery is restored in its original proportion, this site will need to be excavated. I feel that certain, great discoveries await the archaeologists,” said S. Devyatov.

According to his information, some of the monastery’s premises were below ground level. They have survived and are subject to laws governing museums.

“Apart from the fragments of the Chudov Monastery, there are also ground floors of two churches, basements of the metropolitan’s apartment as well as the brothers’ quarters under the block pavement of Ivanovskaya Square (the largest square within the Kremlin. Its name comes from the John the Great bell tower). The vault of the Small Nikolaevsky Palace is also situated there, on the Ivanovskaya Square (today it is considerably larger than it was in the early 20th century). The previous excavations on this site in 1995 resulted in the discovery of the remains of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich,” reminded the historian.

Last week, the Russian president Vladimir Putin proposed thinking over the idea of restoring the two above-mentioned monasteries, which had been destroyed in 1929-1930. The Kremlin Presidium (also known as Building 14) now stands on their site. Vladimir Putin stressed that such a plan could be implemented only after its approval by the public and by UNESCO.

S. Devyatov noted that the question of demolition of administrative building 14 and restoration of two monasteries on its site had been raised as early as in 2002. Architects of the “Mosproekt 2” (“Moscow project 2”) state unitary enterprise were charged with the task of exploring this question.

“But the work did not proceed. By all appearances, the idea was forgotten. However, several years ago, on the wall of the Kremlin Building 14 a commemorative plaque appeared with indication that the Chudov Monastery was located on this site until 1929,” he added.
 
For more information on this topic, please refer to the following article:

Putin Wants Monasteries, Church Rebuilt in Kremlin

© Interfax, Pravoslavie.ru and Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 August, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:50 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 14 August 2014 4:17 PM EDT
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Friday, 1 August 2014
Putin Wants Monasteries, Church Rebuilt in Kremlin
Topic: Kremlin


The Chudov Monastery during the coronation ceremonies, 1896
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested rebuilding inside the Kremlin the Chudov Monastery and Voznesensky (Ascension) Convent that were torn down during the Soviet era.

At a meeting Thursday with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Kremlin curator Sergei Khlebnikov, Putin said the plan would only be realized if it receives support from both the public and UNESCO.

"We need to discuss this issue with Moscow's architectural community and get it approved by UNESCO," Interfax cited Putin as saying. The Kremlin, built between the 14th and 17th centuries, is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The plan would involve tearing down a Soviet building currently used for administrative purposes, the 14th corpus, to make room for the monasteries and church. The 14th corpus has been under restoration since 2011, and developers missed their expected completion time after encountering difficulties. The delays have prompted the city government to consider whether or not it would be more expedient to change the development plan altogether and tear the corpus down.

The 1930s saw the destruction of many monuments and symbols of Russia’s spiritual heritage, including the Chudov Monastery and Voznesensky (Ascension) Convent in the Kremlin, the Maly Nikolayevsky Palace, the Cathedral of the Savior on Bor and the Red Porch (Krasnoye Kryltso).

The Chudov Monastery had particular significance for Russian Orthodox traditions over the centuries. It was founded in 1365 when the Metropolitan of All Russia Alexy gave his blessing for the construction of a stone church dedicated to the Miracle of the Holy Archangel Michael. The church remained standing for only half a century before its ceiling collapsed in 1431. The church was immediately rebuilt, but at the beginning of the 16th century, Grand Prince Ivan III ordered it pulled down, redesigned and rebuilt, which was done in 1503.

The resulting church was extremely beautiful, a marvel of harmony and proportion, drawing on classical Russian architectural traditions and rightly considered one of the finest examples of early Moscow architecture. The church’s interior was also a work of art, with a carved wooden iconostasis over the wall separating the sanctuary from the rest of the church. Part of the sanctuary itself was topped with a gilded carved wooden canopy, which, according to the inscription it bore, was the work of the “slave of God, Pyotr Remizov.”

A century after Metropolitan Alexy died, the Church of St. Alexy was built on the monastery’s territory and dedicated to his memory. Another church, the Church of the Annunciation, was built nearby. Changes and additions to the churches’ interiors continued right up until the early 20th century.
 


The Voznesensky (Ascension) Convent
 
The Voznesensky (Ascension) Convent was founded at the beginning of the 15th century very near the Kremlin’s Spassky (Savior’s) Gate. The foundation of its main cathedral was laid in 1407 by the widow of Dmitry Donskoy, who took the name of Yefrosinya when she took her vows as a nun. In 1518, Grand Prince Vasily III decreed the construction of a new cathedral, the Cathedral of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. The cathedral was completed in 1521 and was reconstructed at the end of the 16th century on the orders of Boris Godunov.

Over the centuries, many of the wives and sisters of the Moscow grand princes found peace in the Voznesensky Convent, which was one of the most famous and respected convents in Russia. Aside from the main cathedral, another church, the Church of St. Michael, was built there in 1634. The Chudov Monastery and Voznesensky Convent were both closed after the Soviet government moved into the Kremlin in 1918. The buildings remained standing until 1929, when the authorities decided to raze them to make way for a military training facility.

On February 17, 1905, the carriage of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich (Governor General of Moscow and husband to Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna) passed through the gate of Nikolskaya Tower of the Kremlin and turned the corner of the Chudov Monastery into Senatskaya Square. It was here that the grand duke was assassinated by a bomb thrown by a waiting revolutionary. Grand Duke Sergei’s body was later buried in a crypt of the Chudov Monastery. A memorial cross was erected on the spot where he was killed. After the Revolution, the cross was destroyed.

Putin also expressed support for Sobyanin's idea to allow tourists to walk through the Kremlin from the Spassky Gate, which is currently closed off.

Dmitry Shvidkovsky, rector of the Moscow Architectural Institute, was quoted by Interfax as saying it would take up to two years to devise a development plan for the project suggested by Putin and get it approved with UNESCO. 
 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 01 August, 2014
 

 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 4:17 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 1 August 2014 4:27 AM EDT
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Friday, 21 December 2012
Kremlin Visitors Can See the Restored Kutafya Tower Again
Topic: Kremlin

 

Kremlin visitors will see the restored Kutafya Tower, which is almost 500 years old. After the completion of the year-long renovation work, the passage through the tower to the Kremlin will be opened, ITAR-TASS reports.
 
The site, one of the main entrances to the Kremlin, was renovated "at repeated requests" of visitors, the chief Kremlin manager's press secretary Viktor Khrekov told ITAR-TASS. Visitors complained that they had to wait sometimes for hours in any weather to pass through checkpoints to go on an excursion or for a Kremlin Palace concert. Now, it will take less time and will be more comfortable, Khrekov assured.
 
The major repair with the modernization of the checkpoint at the Kutafya Tower was carried out by the Kremlin management and the Federal Guard Service. Before the repair, seven check points were opened to enter the Moscow Kremlin. There are 16 now, and all are in buildings with heating, ventilation and other appropriate systems.
 
According to specialists, up to 6,000 people can pass through the new check points in an hour and a half, for example to go to the State Kremlin Palace. The Federal Guard Service says that the examination procedure is improved. There is everything necessary for people with disabilities for comfortable visits to the Kremlin, Khrekov noted.
 
The Kutafya Tower was built by Milan architect Aleviz (Aliosio) Fryazin in 1516. Its height is 13.5 m at present. It was surrounded by a ditch and the Neglinka River with one gate, which was closed tightly with a drawbridge. The tower prevented intruders from entering. In 1685, the tower was decorated with the white stone openwork "crown".

© Russkiy Mir. 21 December, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:15 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 21 December 2012 11:18 AM EST
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Sunday, 25 November 2012
1812 War Anniversary Ball Held in Grand Kremlin Palace
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 29 seconds
Topic: Kremlin

On Sunday the Grand Kremlin Palace hosted a glamorous ball inspired by Napoleon’s 1812 defeat at the hands of the Russian army and dedicated to the traditions of military valor, in its St. Andrew Hall, St. Alexander Hall and St. George Hall, RIA Novosti reports.

It is the first ball to be held at the palace since 1903. Young couples demonstrated historic dances such as the polonaise, minuet and quadrille. The couples had a chance to dance a waltz to the live music of the Presidential Orchestra. Costumes for the guests as well as their hairstyles were based on the designs from the early 19th century.

The ball is the last in a series of events celebrating the 200th anniversary of Russia’s victory in the 1812 war. The ball organizers hope the event will become a tradition.

© Russkiy Mir. 25 November, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:50 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 27 November 2012 5:54 AM EST
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Saturday, 27 October 2012
Tour of the State Halls and Private Rooms of the Grand Kremlin Palace
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 23 minutes, 50 seconds.
Topic: Kremlin

Aside from visiting heads of state, few foreigners ever get to see the beautiful interiors of the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow. Today it serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation.

Before the Russian Revolution, the palace served as the official residence of the reigning sovereign and family while they were visiting the city. The palace is rich in Romanov history and was the venue for magnificent balls, sumptuous state dinners, and more.

Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia standing in St. Andrew's Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, 27th October, 2000 

I was very fortunate to visit this historic palace on my 44th birthday on October 27th, 2000. I had organized a tour that year to Moscow and the Crimea, in which a group of 15 people from Canada and the United States took part. I had been negotiating with the Kremlin administration for several years prior to allow me to include the Grand Kremlin Palace as part of one of my group tours. Permission was finally granted that year and it was well worth all the red tape that went with it. 

This video comes from a Russian media source and offers views of the State Halls which were restored to their original during the Yeltsin years, as well as the former private apartments of the Romanovs.

© Paul Gilbert. 27 October, 2012


 

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:01 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 27 October 2012 1:40 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Faceted Chamber Reopens to Visitors in Moscow Kremlin
Topic: Kremlin

 

The Faceted Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin has reopened for visiting after restoration. For many centuries, the palace played a significant role in the country’s life: sessions of the Zemsky Sobor, which was the 16th and 17th century Russian parliament, were convened there and Russian noblemen met there to take crucial decisions. At present, the Faceted Chamber is one of the Russian president’s reception rooms. The building has survived numerous fires and reconstructions. The architects’ goal was to restore the 17th century interiors when the frescoes were painted by icon painter Simon Ushakov.

The Faceted Chamber was laid down by Italian architect Marco Fryazin as a throne room for ceremonial receptions in the new palace of Grand Prince Ivan III. The construction was completed by Lombardy architect Pietro Antonio Solari in 1491. The palace is built of bricks and the reception room is located on a high basement level. The Holy Vestibule adjoins the reception room from the west and the Red Porch is on the southern side of the Holy Vestibule.

The name of the palace comes from the design of the main eastern façade facing Cathedral Square in the Kremlin. The facade is covered with white stone blocks each of which has four facets. This stone dressing was typical of Italian architecture of the Renaissance period.

Restoration lasted for a year. The previous restoration was carried out in the 1960s, representative of the Federal Security Service Sergey Deviatov said.

“It was necessary to examine the foundation on which the palace rests and to prevent possible deformation and destruction. Certainly, it was important to preserve the unique appearance of the palace,” Sergey Deviatov said

All the vaults, ceilings, interiors and the inner volume of the palace have been restored according to the 15th century descriptions. The building has suffered from fire and has been reconstructed many times. Now it has assumed its original appearance, we can see it as the Italian architects built it.

In the 16th century the walls and arches of the palace were covered with frescoes which were painted over later on. Before painting his icons over the old patterns, painter Simon Ushakov made a detailed description of these patterns which was used by today’s restorers. As for the restoration of unique carpets and parquet floors, it required the effort of a large team of researchers. The parquet was made of over 10 kinds of wood according to samples which experts found in pictures and photographs. Experts from the UK were employed for the restoration of furniture fabrics.

The restorers have also reconstructed the secret room from which members of the royal family watched solemn events held in the Faceted Palace, Sergey Deviatov said.

“A window was cut in the wall for the children to be able to watch all ceremonies and acquire experience,” Sergey Deviatov said.

While the restorers painstakingly refurbished the interior décor, construction workers fortified the supporting frames and installed climate-control equipment.

During the restoration, architects discovered over 3,000 unique artifacts which are now at the disposal of Kremlin researchers.

© The Voice of Russia. 31 July, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:22 PM EDT
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Sunday, 8 July 2012
Moscow's Armoury Museum to be Expanded
Topic: Kremlin

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently visited the Armoury Museum, now recognized as the oldest museum in Moscow. Putin was given a tour of the museum and its store rooms by Yelena Gagarina, the Director of the Armoury. After the tour Putin met with Gagarina and announced that the museum will be expanded to accommodate its enormous collection.

The Armoury Museum was created in 1806. At that time the collection consisted of 5,000 items, today it exceeds 160,000 items. Gagarina noted that only a mere 20% of the Armoury’s vast collection is on display at any one time. She also noted that much of the collection in storage has never been put on public display, including a collection of banners, porcelain services and glassware, and other treasures from the Tsarist period.

Nearly 2 million people visit the Moscow Kremlin Museums each year. The Armoury Museum currently occupies an area of little more than 2,000 square meters. The expansion of the museum will increase the exhibition space to 40,000 square meters.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 08 July, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:18 PM EDT
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Saturday, 23 June 2012
Restoration of the Facets Palace in the Moscow Kremlin
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 3 minutes, 8 seconds
Topic: Kremlin

The Facets Palace, considered to be one of the major buildings in the Moscow Kremlin ensemble has undergone a large-scale restoration and is once again open to the public. The restoration which began in 2007 involved master craftsmen from Moscow and St. Petersburg who have painstakingly returned the unique architectural building to its original appearance.

The Facets Palace is famous for its throne hall which served the Russian monarchs from the end of the 15th century. Many historic events and ceremonies took place here. It was here that the future heirs to the throne were solemnly proclaimed. Tsar Ivan IV celebrated the capture of Kazan, and a century and a half later Peter the Great celebrated the victory of the Battle of Poltava. The famed Red Gate was used during the coronation ceremonies of later Russian tsars up to and including Nicholas II.

The last time the Facets Palace was restored was in 1968. Carpets from the Byzantine era took eight months to restore. Paintings and frescoes have been restored, as well as the elaborate floors made from no less than 16 types of the finest woods.

During the recent restorations, excavations were carried out in the basement which yielded yet another treasure trove of more than 3,000 items, among them valuable jewels and items made of gold. These have all been transferred to the Armoury Museum where they will eventually be put on display.

While the Facets Palace is now open to the public, admission can only be made through special arrangement with museum officials.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 23 June, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 10:53 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 June 2012 11:43 AM EDT
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