Exquisite Palace of the Facets in Moscow Kremlin
The Palace of the Facets is the oldest secular building, as well as the smallest palace of all the palaces in the Moscow Kremlin, which has almost completely been preserved from its initial form, as opposed to the Great Kremlin Palace and the Terem Palace. This was the palace that contained the main banquet reception hall for the Muscovite Tsars and is also the place where Ivan the Terrible, Russia's first Tsar, ruled from. The palace is so named the Palace of the Facets due to the unusual and distinctive prismatic cuts that are on the limestone exterior, which originates from the Italian renaissance design. In 1485 the larger royal palace was commissioned to be built by Ivan the III, but all that is left of the beautiful building is the Palace of Facets.
The striking palace was built by Marco Ruffo and Peitro Antonio Solari, two Italian Renaissance architects from 1487 through to 1491. The Palace of Facets' first floor is made up of the main hall and next to it the sacred vestibule. Both rooms are decorated with beautiful and rich frescoes, or paintings done on wet plaster, with scenes hand painted from the Bible, and gilded carvings. The main hall is a beautiful vaulted room and takes up an area of around about 500 meters square. This room used to be the banqueting hall and throne room during the 16th and 17th century tsars, but now it is where any receptions taking place are held.
On the southern side of the palace is the Red Porch and this is the staircase where the Tsars would pass down to get to the Cathedral of the Dormition for their coronations. The last coronation to take place at the Palace of the Facets was in 1896 when Nicholas the II was coronated. In 1682, during the Streltsy Rebellion, many of Peter the Great's relatives were thrown down the staircase onto the spikes of the Streltsy guards and killed. Later Stalin destroyed the staircase in the 1930s and it was only rebuilt in 1994 at great expense.
The waiting room of Ivan the Terrible has a golden seal above the door way with its name. It is from this room that people were summoned into and would slowly approach Ivan. His members of court and advisers would stand against the wall, dwarfed by the incredibly large ceiling above them. The ceiling was covered with scenes from the Bible, which were lighted by four bronze chandeliers. The only woman allowed into court was the Tsars' wife, other women could only watch from a window above the arch. Over the centuries many receptions and official ceremonies have taken place during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, Empress Catherine the Great who ruled during the 18th century and banquets held by Mikhail Gorbachev in the 19th century.