This is the oldest museum in Russia and one of the richest. Although the Armouryhas for centuries been a museum, it still retains its old name. Here, inthe time of the princes, grand princes and tsars, arm and armour were madeand stored. The collection dates from the time of Ivan the Great and Ivanthe Terrible.
The heyday of the Armoury was in the second half of the 17th century.In 1654, Bogdan Khitrov was appointed director, and under his managementthe most talented craftsmen and painters in the old Russian art centers(Yaroslavl, Ustyug, Uglich, etc.) were summoned to Moscow to the work inthe Armoury.
The present Armoury building, in pseudo-Russian style, with features borrowedfrom Naryshkin Baroque, was erected between 1844 and 1851. It is in architecturalharmony with the Great Kremlin Palace,also designed by Thon and Chichagov. Among the treasures of the Armouryare the crown jewels and coronation insignia of the tsars, historic armsand armour, costumes and furnishings, icons and manuscripts, coaches, sleighs,state carriages, object d'art and much else besides.
The collection includes not only Russian art, but also the arts andcrafts of Western and Northern Europe and the East as well.
Also on the ground floor is the diamond treasury, a unique treasure- house containing gold bars, precious stones, jewelry and other ornamentsof exquisite beauty.
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