Armoury Museum - Discover Russian Opulence
Officially established in 1808, the Kremlin Armory (also known as the Armory Museum), is one of the oldest museums in Moscow. It started life as the royal arsenal in 1508, which was where weapons, jewelry and a variety of other articles belonging to the tsars were purchased and stored. It was once the workplace of the finest Muscovite gunsmiths, jewelers and painters. In the 1600s the Kremlin Armory was also used as a studio where lessons were given on painting and handicrafts. In the 1700s the existing stock was bolstered with the treasures of the tsars Golden and Silver Chambers. Today this vast armory now serves as a museum with an incredibly rich array of masterfully crafted items.
In 1711 Peter the Great decided to leave Moscow in favor of St Petersburg, which he had just declared his new capital. He had the majority of his master craftsmen transferred to his new capital and, some fifteen years later, he decided to merge the Armory with the Fiscal Yard, the Stables Treasury and the Master Chamber. He renamed the armory the "Arms and Master Chamber" and it now not only featured weapons and jewelry, but also the oldest royal treasures, antique harnesses and carriages as well as clothing and bedclothes that once belonged to the tsars. In 1806, Alexander I of Russia realized what a great treasure had amassed here and he decided to nominate the Armory as Moscow’s first public museum. The collections were only opened to the public seven years later but this did not hinder the museums progress and popularity.
In 1844 work commenced on a new armory building. This building, which is the current Armory building, was completed in 1851. It was much larger and better designed to cope with the demands of a museum. After the Bolshevik Revolution a number of treasures from the Patriarch sacristy as well as a number of Kremlin cathedrals, monasteries and private collections were sent to the Armory. Thus the Armory's enormous wealth of treasures continued to grow until today it is one of the richest and oldest museums in Russia. The Armory Museum currently displays items such as crown jewels, gems, icons, crosses, coronation robes, thrones, carriages, expensive clergy vestments, Byzantine cameos, Faberge Easter eggs, weaponry, armor, jewelry and a variety of household items. So why not immerse yourself in the opulence enjoyed by Russian royalty and visit the Armory Museum? You won't regret it!