State Historical Museum - Venturing into Russia's Past

Wedged between the infamous Red Square and Manege Square in Moscow, you’ll find a pretty, red-bricked building known as the State Historical Museum of Russia. The museum’s core focus is the history of Russia and you can find information and displays here which date back to the prehistoric tribes who once inhabited the area. The museum features a number of relics and artworks which have been painstakingly acquired over the years by members of the Romanov dynasty. The efforts of these dedicated individuals have certainly paid off, since today the State Historical Museum’s collection numbers well into the millions.

Interestingly enough, the place where the museum is located was once the location of the Principal Medicine Store. The store was built in the Moscow Baroque style under the order of Peter the Great. It started to gain historical significance when several of its rooms where chosen to house royal collections of antiquities. A number of other rooms later became occupied by the Moscow University lending the building a certain amount of educational value.

The idea of the museum was to promote Russian history and to create a sense of national self-awareness amongst the people of the country. The building itself was built on a neo-Russian design and it was officially opened by Tsar Alexander III in 1894. In keeping with the historical theme, the building's interiors were decorated in the intricate Russian Revival style by a number of notable Russian artists. The overall effect was likely breath-taking, but unfortunately it didn’t last as during the Soviet period the murals were plastered over, only to be painstakingly restoring between 1986 and 1997. Today the interiors of this beautiful building are still enchanting, but they are likely not as captivating as they originally were.

Today the museum holds a number of interesting items which visitors will find intriguing. One such item is a longboat which was removed from Volga River. You will also find birch-bark scrolls of Novgorod, Russian folk ceramics and ancient Scythian gold artifacts. The museum’s library has manuscripts dating back to the 860s, while the coin collection boasts about 1.7 million coins. The museum has grown so much that it now also extends to the Moscow City Hall, the Novodevichy Convent and Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Make sure that you don’t miss out on this fabulous museum.


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