The Kremlin Armory (the Armoury Chamber) is one of the oldest museums in Moscow and an absolute must-visit! Founded in the mid-nineteenth century, it houses a magnificent collection of Russia tsars’ treasures and gives a true insight into the history of Russia.
The nine halls of the museum display (predictably) collections of arms, military uniforms, carriages, clothes, interior items, jewelry, dishware, etc. It is amazing how incredibly rich the objects are! Many of them are made of gold and silver and encrusted with gems. This gives you a good idea of the wealthy and lavish lives Russian tsars led!
By the way, many of the exhibits are gifts from foreign ambassadors.
Some of the museum’s highlights include Monomakh's Cap, the carriage of the empress Elizaveta Petrovna, and exquisite Faberge eggs.
Bear in mind that the Kremlin Armory is a very popular tourist target, so it makes a lot of sense to buy tickets online in advance — that may spare you from standing in long lines.
Do not miss!
The Kremlin Armory is not all about arms and weapons. There are a lot of other wonderful exhibits on display there.
Here are 5 of the Armoury Chamber highlights:
1. The Coronation Carriage of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna
Empress Elizaveta started the fashion for luxury, pretentious coaches that became much more than just vehicles. The enclosed horse-drawn carriage with huge rear wheels is a true masterpiece. Made of gilded carved wood and covered with intricate paintings, it is so elaborate, you can’t help wondering how much time and effort was put into its creation.
2. Monomakh's Cap
Also known as Golden Cap, Monomakh’s Cap is the oldest exhibit in the Kremlin Armory — it was created more than 700 years ago. Made of gold and encrusted with gems, it was used as a crown for Russian tsars and served as a symbol of their power.
3. Catherine the Great’s Wedding Dress
Made of silver silk brocade with a taffeta lining, Catherine the Great’s wedding dress is simply gorgeous. Its bustier top gives us a good idea of how thin the empress was at the time (contrary to her typical portrayal as a stout woman).
By the way, according to some historical evidence, Catherine the Great complained about her wedding dress. Can you guess what she didn’t like about it? Submit your guess in the comments section. (Answer: The dress was too heavy)
4. 10 Original Faberge Eggs
The Kremlin Armory boasts the largest collection of authentic Faberge eggs – there are 10 of them there! No doubt, the eggs look fantastic and unbelievably elaborate.
5. The Double Throne of Tsars Ivan Alexeevich and Peter Alexeevich
The unusual silver throne was made in 1682 for the sixteen-year-old Ivan and his 10-year-old brother Peter. The young tsars reigned together under the regency of their elder sister Sophia. The elaborately carved structure with columns and arches looks more like a mansion than a throne.
Obviously, there is a lot more to see in Kremlin Armory. Do not hesitate to add it to your must-visit list!