Armoury Chamber

Moscow / Russia
The WOW effect concentrate – that’s what you experience when visiting the Armoury Chamber, an amazing, oldest and most important Moscow museum located on the territory of Kremlin.

At the mention of the Armoury, men, as a rule, get excited, because of their genetically inherent interest for arms. However, this is not an arsenal at all, but a stunning state treasure house. Jaw-dropping repository of artistic masterpieces provides for an immersive look into the cultural heritage and luxury of Imperial Russia.

The museum’s collection includes precious articles made in the Kremlin workshops by highly skilled Russian craftsmen or received as valuable gifts from foreign embassies and preserved for centuries in the royal treasury and Patriarch’s vestry.

The first record of the Armoury dates back to 1508. In the XVI-XVIII centuries it managed manufacturing, purchase and storage of weapons, jewelry and Tsar's household items. In 1806 the workshops were transformed into a museum housed in the gorgeous halls of the Grand Kremlin Palace. The present Armoury building was constructed in 1851 by famous architect Konstantin Ton, creator of the gorgeous Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The building was designed specifically to be the Emperor’s museum.

The Armoury features 9 thematic halls on two floors. All in all, the collection displays over 4000 art objects of different epochs and nations. Among this vast treasure trove, you will marvel at

–     personal belongings of Russian Tsars, in particular of Peter the Great;

–     authentic royal regalia: the Scepter, the Orb and the so-called Monomakh’s Cap lavishly decorated with sable fur and precious stones, the Imperial crown of Russia, which was, on a legend, a present from the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Monomachos. Since 1547 this chief relic of Russian sovereigns has been used during all coronations of the Tsars, yet for each event a new one was made!

–     ceremonial dresses and coronation robes of the Tsars and their wives, made of luxury fabrics and encrusted with precious stones, as well as the ecclesiastical vestments of the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchs;

–     spectacular royal carriages and ceremonial horse harness;

–     impressive collection of thrones made from amazingly carved wood, ivory, other precious materials and encrusted with diamonds; among these stands out a double throne made for the adolescent Princes Peter (future the Great) and his brother Ivan: the young rulers were prompted with the correct answers through a small door in the back;

–     antique European and Oriental weapons;

–     jewelry dating from the 12th to early 20th centuries, including the famous Fabergé eggs;

–     tableware, gold and silver articles made both by Russian craftsmen and West European silversmiths;

and much more.

The supreme artistry and special historical value have brought the Armoury museum world renown.

And there’s one more can't-miss place in Kremlin. “Countless fairy diamonds sparkle in the stone caves, countless pearls lurk in warm southern seas...”, hero of the Russian famous Sadko opera sings. Have you ever seen a thousand carats at once? Impossible? Then come this way! On a visit to the Diamond Hall it will take you breath away!

The Diamond Fund of the Russian Federation is one-of-a-kind treasure trove whose story is a sparkling reflection of the history of our state. The exceptional collection is stored within the Kremlin yet managed by the Finance Ministry, department having a monopoly on mining and selling precious stones in Russia. You can see awesome diamonds from Yakutia which proudly compete with those of De Beers next to unique nuggets of precious metals from Siberia and other regions.

The collection boasts Russian state insignia and chief symbols of monarchical power - the Great and Small imperial crowns, the Scepter and the Orb with the cross. You will get stunned at unique precious stones and goldsmith masterpieces of the 18th-20th centuries, seven gems of great artistic and historical value: the world’s biggest sapphire, spectacular emeralds from Columbia and Catherine the Great’s crown jewels among them. The sensational pieces are the Orlov (189.62 carats) and the Shah (88,7 carats) diamonds, each having its thrilling story. The Orlov comes from India, discovered in mid 18th century. A French soldier stole it and sold to merchants at a huge profit. Later, its owner Khojeh, Persian trader, couldn't resell it for a long time because of an exorbitant price, which made him desperate. In 1773 in Amsterdam he met Russian Prince Grigori Orlov, Catherine II’s courtier who just lost her favor. The noble bought the diamond in order to regain the Empress's love. She accepted the gift and ordered to incrust it into the Imperial Scepter. The Orlov is a rarity among historical diamonds because of its exceptional purity and some light-blue and green tints.

The Shah diamond’s story is yet more dramatic. In 1829, it was presented to Tsar Nicholas I by Iranian crown prince Abbas Mirza as a ransom for spilled blood - an apology for brutal killing of the 30 y.o. Russian ambassador Alexander Griboyedov, diplomat and poet, in the assault on the Russian diplomatic mission in Tehran by religious fanatics.

It was Peter the Great who founded the collection. Later, at the whim of different sovereigns, some jewels were sold, others were remodeled following fashion trends. However, throughout centuries the treasury continued accumulating unique and splendid items. The Diamond Fund collection has enormous historical, artistic, scientific and monetary value.
Moscow / Russia