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MUSEUMS

 

 

Tretyakov Gallery

The National Museum of Russian Fine Art, the State Tretyakov Gallery, is one of the largest museums in the world. Its collections embrace the period from the 10th to 20th century and all schools of Russian painting - from ancient icons to avant-guard.
Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov, a rich Moscow merchant and textile mill owner, started collecting Russian paintings in the 1850s. It was then he bought several works by Russian artists and it was then the Tretyakovs moved to their new estate in the Lavrushinsky Lane - the mansion that would become a world famous museum.
Tretyakov who conceived the creation of the public gallery comprehensively representing the history of Russian fine art bought pictures relying only on his taste. He was one of the first who highly appreciated old Russian icons, systematically bought the works of the old masters and was greatly interested in contemporary art. Quite often Tretyakov who became a prominent figure in the cultural life of Russia acquired paintings strongly criticized or banned by censorship. He was considered such an authority that if any work of an artist got in his collection, for the latter it was equal to public acknowledgement.
Since the early 1870s Tretyakov became a friend of the so-called Itinerant Artists. The founder of the picture gallery not only shared their principles and ideas but also supported the movement. He eagerly bought their works and gathered an unmatched collection that features paintings by Perov, Maksimov, Makovsky, Pryanishnikov, Kramskoy, Shishkin, Polenov, Repin, and Surikov. 

In August, 1892 Tretyakov presented the collection and the Gallery to the city of Moscow. Until his death Tretyakov supported the gallery and bought a number of masterpieces of Russian art. The number of paintings and graphics acquired during that period was 220. The last big purchase he made for the Gallery was The Bogatyrs by Vasnetsov. In 1898 Tretyakov died. After his death a new facade designed by Vasnetsov was attached to the old estate. This Russian styled facade became the symbol of the Gallery.
Already in the early 20th century the Tretyakov Gallery became the most popular and visited museum of that day. Soon after the revolution of 1917 the Gallery was nationalized and its collection was enriched with paintings from the expropriated private collections and abolished museums.
By the end of the 20th century the State Tretyakov Gallery became one of the world richest treasuries of Russian fine art. The Gallery treasures priceless collection of old Russian icons, paintings, sculptures and graphics of the 18th-20th centuries.

 

Historical Museum

The largest historic museum of Russia, the State Historical Museum, was established in 1872 on the initiative of the Russian scientific community.
For the construction of the Museum that was to become the treasury of the monuments and artifacts representing the outstanding events of the glorious history of the Russian State the ground in the very center of Moscow in the Red Square was chosen. The construction works lasted from 1875 till 1881 and were headed by architects Shervud and Semenov, who designed the building in Russian style. The new building perfectly fitted the ensemble of the Red Square. The walls of the Historical Museum like the Kremlin walls were laid from the red baked brick. The towers crowning the Museum also greatly remind of the Kremlin towers. And some elements of the Museum's exterior decor recreate the decor of St Basil Cathedral, which is located just nearby.

The Museum was conceived as a "vivid history of Russia". Articles and monuments representing the culture and the history of the multinational Russian State were brought to the new museum from all the regions of Russia. The collection was remarkably enriched by private donations. Thanks to the efforts of Russian scientists, historians and archaeologists more than 4 million exhibits were gathered. And in 1883 on the day of coronation of Tsar Alexander III first 11 museum halls representing the history of Russia from the days immemorial to the late 12s century were solemnly opened to the public.
Today the collection of the Museum that has considerably enlarged in the course of the 20th century treasures archeological finds, manuscripts and black-letter books, old Russian icons, Russian and foreign arming, works of smith craft, jewelry, glass and ceramics, national clothes, collection of old furniture from the private estates and many more. Private belongings of Russian monarchs Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great and the last members of the Romanov family are especially popular with the visitors.

Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

One of the richest world collections of fine arts from the time immemorial to nowadays is treasured in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts that is favorably situated in the very center of Moscow, close to the Kremlin and Red Square. Nowadays it is the second, after the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, largest museum of foreign art in Russia.
The Museum originates from the Cabinet of Fine Arts and Antiquities, established in the 1840s on the initiative of professors and scientists of the Moscow University. Wonderful collections of the Cabinet formed the basis of the exposition of the new Museum of Fine Arts. For the construction of the museum's building the territory of the former Carriage (Kolymazni) court that is in the very center of the city not far from the Kremlin was given by Moscow Duma to the University. The winner of the architectural contest and the author of the project was Roman Ivanovich Klein. He designed the building that reminds greatly of an ancient classical temple on the high podium with the Ionic colonnade along the facade. Its splendid interiors were decorated according to the styles of certain historical periods that were to be represented there.
The solemn opening of the Museum that at first was officially called the Museum of Fine Arts named after Alexander III took place on May 31, 1912.

Nowadays there are over 560,000 works of art exhibited in the halls of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. The museum treasures Egyptian mummies, antique amphorae and craters with images of Greek and Roman gods and heroes, old steles and sarcophagi, paintings by Rembrandt, Botichelli, Canaletto, Guardi, Tiepolo, impressive collection of Little Dutch Masters, impressionists, postimpressionists and modernists and many other works that form the gold collection of world art heritage. In the last few years the Museum got several new premises that render possible exhibiting of many private collections that for many years stayed inaccessible for the public.

Museum of Moscow History

The Museum of Moscow History that is one of the oldest Museums of the city was established on the initiative of Russian scientific community in 1896. The basis of the new Museum collection was formed with the exhibits of the pavilion "Moscow" at the All-Russian Artistic and Industrial exhibition, which was held in Nizhny Novgorod in 1896. With time the Museum acquired a great number of articles depicting life in the city throughout its history, from Moscow's ancient beginnings to the present day. Among them there were various maps, drawings, photos, documents, sculptural models of city buildings and districts as well as everyday objects. The Museum's exhibition was housed in one of the Krestovsky Towers.
 In the middle of the 1930s the General Plan of the Reconstruction of Moscow was issued and consequently the Museum moved into the building of the Church of John the Theologian "under the Elm", were it is located now. The Museum got its present name in 1987.

The Museum's rich collection of the archeological finds, ancient tools, jewelry, bronze and stone items tells about the most ancient period of Moscow history. The collection of maps and drafts shows how the city of Moscow changed from year to year. Numerous photos recreate the important occasions, celebrations and everyday life of Moscow since the middle of the 19th century. They show how the Muscovites lived, what they wore and how they spent free time.
The exhibition devoted to family and everyday life of the Muscovites is especially popular with the visitors. There original costumes, accessories, furniture and other everyday objects produced by talented Russian and European masters are exhibited.

Paleontology Museum

The Paleontology Museum named after Yuri Orlov is reckoned among the world largest natural-science museums. It originates from the Kunstkammer ("curiosity chamber") established by Peter the Great in Saint Petersburg. The Kunstkammer's collection was comprised of all kind of rarities including teeth and bones of ancient creatures found in different parts of the worlds. Later such exhibits were kept at the Academy of Science and then were given over to the Geological Museum.
The Museum's permanent exhibition dedicated to the process of evolution on the Earth is housed in the unique museum complex that has no analogs in the world. The project was developed specially for the museum: for more than twenty years leading architects, engineers, designers and animal painters worked on the building design. The red brick building reminds of the old fortress with central inner yard, around which there are four exposition zones with four adjoined towers.

The Paleontology Museum is loved by children who make the majority of the visitors. Young visitors with great interest examine giant skeletons of dinosaurs, fossil birds and large mammals. Wonderful decoration of the halls makes the exposition interesting and comprehensible even for small children. The Museum offers thematic excursions for the children of the school age and regularly holds exhibitions of kids' drawings.

Museum of the Great Patriotic War

The Museum of the Great Patriotic War is a history museum located in Moscow at Poklonnaya Gora. The building was designed by architect Anatoly Polyansky. Work on the museum began on March 3, 1986, and the museum was opened to the public on May 9, 1995. The museum features exhibits and memorials concerning World War II, known in Russia as "The Great Patriotic War".
The museum features 14,143 square meters of exhibit space for permanent collections and an additional 5,500 square meters for temporary exhibits. Near the entry to the museum is the Hall of Commanders, which features a decorative "Sword and Shield of Victory" and bronze busts of recipients of the Order of Victory, the highest military honor awarded by the Soviet Union.
In the center of the museum is the Hall of Glory, a white marble room which features the names of over 11,800 of the recipients of the Hero of the Soviet Union distinction. A large bronze sculpture, the "Soldier of Victory," stands in the center of this hall. Below lies the Hall of Remembrance and Sorrow, which honors Soviet people who died in the war. This room is dimly lit and strings of glass beads hang from the ceiling, symbolizing tears shed for the dead.
The upper floors feature numerous exhibits about the war, including dioramas depicting major battles, photographs of wartime activities, weapons and munitions, uniforms, awards, newsreels, letters from the battlefront, and model aircraft. In addition, the museum maintains an electronic "memory book" which attempts to record the name and fate of every Russian soldier who died in World War II.

Central Armed Forces Museum

Over its history the museum has managed to accumulate the most prominent and important military relics during the whole Soviet period, creating a record of its military past. In total more than seven hundred thousand individual exhibits are now stored at the museum. The most valuable are displayed in the 25 halls of the main building.
The period of the Russian Civil War includes a photocopy of the original decree outlining the creation of the RKKA which includes Lenin's corrections; a banner of the 195th infantry regiment into which Lenin was officially conscripted; weapons, documents, awards and personal belongings of famous Red Army men such as Mikhail Frunze, Grigory Kotovsky, Vasily Chapayev and Vasily Blücher as well as others, all help to re-create the post-revolutionary atmosphere.
The most prized display is that dedicated to the Great Patriotic War, which includes the Victory Banner as well as all of the front banners and the captured Nazi ones that were used during the Victory Parade in 1945. The Great Patriotic War differs from World War II in that it began on 22 July 1941 with the German invasion of the Soviet Union. World War II (in Europe), started on 1 September 1939 with the co-ordinated attacks of Germany and the Soviet Union on Poland.
Outside the museum, there is an extended collection of military equipment and technology, including armour, artillery, railway cars, aircraft and missiles.


Kremlin Armoury
 

The Kremlin Armoury is one of the oldest museums of Moscow, established in 1808 and located in the Moscow Kremlin.
The Kremlin Armoury originated as the royal arsenal in 1508. Until the transfer of the court to St Petersburg, the Armoury was in charge of producing, purchasing and storing weapons, jewellery and various household articles of the tsars. The finest Muscovite gunsmiths (the Vyatkin brothers), jewellers (Gavrila Ovdokimov), and painters (Simon Ushakov) used to work there. In 1640 and 1683, they opened the iconography and pictorial studios, where the lessons on painting and handicrafts could be given. In 1700, the Armoury was enriched with the treasures of the Golden and Silver chambers of the Russian tsars.
Nowadays, the Kremlin Armoury is home to the Russian Diamond Fund. It boasts unique collections of the Russian, Western European and Eastern applied arts spanning the period from the 5th to the 20th centuries. Some of the highlights include the Imperial Crown of Russia, Monomakh's Cap, the ivory throne of Ivan the Terrible, and other regal thrones and regalia; the Orloff Diamond; the helmet of Yaroslav II; the sabres of Kuzma Minin and Dmitri Pozharski; the 12-century necklaces from Ryazan; golden and silver tableware; articles, decorated with enamel, niello and engravings; embroidery with gold and pearls; imperial carriages, weapons, armour, and the Memory of Azov, Bouquet of Lilies Clock, Trans-Siberian Railway, Clover Leaf, Moscow Kremlin, Alexander Palace, Standart Yacht, Alexander III Equestrian, Romanov Tercentenary, Steel Military Fabergé eggs. The 10 Fabergé eggs in the Armoury collection (all Imperial eggs) are the most Imperial eggs, and the second-most overall Fabergé eggs, owned by a single owner.

Polytechnical Museum

Polytechnical Museum is a science museum in Moscow that emphasizes the progress of Russian and Soviet technology and science, as well as modern inventions and developments. It was founded in 1872 after the first All-Russian Technical Exhibition on the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of Peter the Great. The museum was designed by Ippolit Monighetti and completed in 1877. Almost from the beginning the collection was too big for the space. The north wing was added in 1896 and the south in 1907.
It is the largest technical museum in Russia, offering a wide array of historical inventions and technological achievements, including humanoid automata of the 18th century and the first Soviet computers. Its collection contains more than 160,000 items in 65 halls including, Chemistry, Mining, Metallurgy, Transport, Energy, Optics, Automation, Computer Engineering, Radio electronics, Communications, and Space exploration.

Memorial Museum of Astronautics

The Memorial Museum of Astronautics (also known as the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics or Memorial Museum of Space Exploration) is a museum in Moscow, Russia, dedicated to space exploration. It is located within the base of the soaring Monument to the Conquerors of Space in the northeast of the city. The museum contains a wide variety of space-related exhibits and models which explore the history of flight; astronomy; space exploration; space technology; and space in the arts. According to the Russian tourist board, the museum's collection holds approximately 85,000 different items, and receives approximately 300,000 visitors yearly.