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The State Historical Museum

1 / 2 Red Square
3.19
This "Old-Russian tower", one of the main symbols of Moscow is not so old-Russian: it appeared at the end of the XIX century at the place of the Land Management office building where  Moscow University was sprang from.
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This is a huge red brick building, concluding the Red Square ensemble, making it a truly "red". Two elongated towers are in harmony with the Kremlin and the GUM, and the abundance of corbel arches, architraves caissons and small marquises compose the look of an Old-Russian tower. Meanwhile, it is not as ancient as it seems.

Zemsky Prikaz (Land Management office) was placed in the northern part of the Red Square since the XVI century. Two-storey building with a tower and architraves Naryshkin Baroque style was constructed for Zemsky Prikaz in 1699. Later part of the premises was transferred to the Main Pharmacy, and in 1755 Moscow University was opened here. It moved to the new building on Mohovaya Street only in 1793.

Then urban governance offices were in the old building of Zemsky Prikaz. Moscow City Council allocated this area for the construction of the Museum of History in 1874. This idea came up in 1872 during the Polytechnic exhibition dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the Peter I’s birth. Historical exposition dedicated to Crimean War became the nucleus of the museum's collection.

Initially, there were plans for the conservation of the Zemsky Prikaz historical building in the courtyard of the Historical Museum, but, they were not implemented, and in 1875 it was demolished. The constructions of a large museum building designed by V.O. Sherwood and engineer A.A. Semenov started at its place. It was designed in pseudo-Russian style, which corresponded to the idea of ​​the Historical Museum as reflection of the Russia's past. Facades abound fine décor elements, the two main towers crowned by double-headed eagles, and small side marquees are crowned by figures of lions and unicorns. The project was not implemented in full: the idea to finish the entire building with polychrome tiles turned out to be too expensive. Interiors of the building are "Pseudo-Russian" as well; however each of the rooms has its own characteristics, matching the exhibits. V.M. Vasnetsov, G.I. Semiradsky, I.K. Aivazovsky were involved in the design of the halls.

The inauguration of the "Museum of His Imperial Highness Crown Prince" took place on May 27th, 1883. I.E. Zabelin, the prominent historian, specialist in the history of Moscow was the Museum’s long-term head and author of the first exibitions. The collection was formed by the whole country: the members of the royal family, nobles and merchants, churches and monasteries. The museum became a recognized historical scientific center. Funds of the museum increased significantly due to the nationalized private collections and values ​​of closed churches during the Soviet era. There were plans for the demolition of the building opening wide avenue from the north aisle and Red Square for demonstrations, but the plans have remained on paper. Museum interiors were changed, some of the exhibits were destroyed, but the building only lost some of the weathervanes which were restored in the 1990s during the extensive restoration of the museum. Today it is open again and has the status of Russia's largest museum. St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square, the House of boyars Romanovs on Varvarka Street, Museum of the Patriotic War of 1812 in the former building of the Moscow City Duma are branches of the Moscow Historical Museum.

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