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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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Thursday, 2 June 2011
Cathedral of the Annunciation Reopens
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 54 seconds
Topic: Kremlin

 The Cathedral of the Annunciation - 1860. Artist: Karl Petrovich Bodri

The Cathedral of the Annunciation, situated in the Moscow Kremlin has reopened to visitors after an extensive restoration that lasted more than 5 years.

Originally built in 1397, the cathedral was rebuilt by Tsar Ivan III in 1484. Generations of princes and tsars added to and altered the cathedral, including Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible). During his reign, Ivan was placed under church penance when he married for the fourth time (three was the maximum that the church would tolerate), and allowed to enter the cathedral. This led to the construction of a new porch for him to stand during services.

The cathedral is famous for its magnificent iconostasis, some being ascribed to the legendary Russian painter Andrei Rublev.

The cathedral was originally built as the domestic church of the grand dukes and tsars and was connected by passages to the private quarters of the royal family. The cathedral was used to celebrate name-days, weddings, baptisms, and so forth.

The Cathedral of the Annunciation was badly damaged during the Russian Revolution, when the Kremlin came under attack from artillery fire. In 1918, the cathedral was closed as a place of worship and to this day operates as a museum.

Since 1993, every year on 7 April (25 March Old Style), at the Holy Day of Annunciation to Virgin Mary, the Patriarch of Russia holds a service here.

© Royal Russia. 2 June, 2011

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 9:42 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 2 June 2011 11:00 AM EDT
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