Freeman’s blog
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RED SQUARE

March 6th, 2008 by admin

Red Square has witnessed many important events in the life of Russian people. Though time has changed the face of Red Square it has remained the main square and the heart of the city.
Visitors from home and abroad stream here to enjoy the beauty of the historic buildings and monuments of which the Kremlin comes First.(The Kremlin represents centuries of Russian history and one is usually struck by the austere and powerful appearance of its walls and towers. Like the Tower of London the Kremlin was used as a fortress and a sovereign’s residence. Now it houses the President’s office and a number of museums including the Armory Chamber and the Diamond Fund.ln the centre of the square by the Kremlin wall is the Lenin Mausoleum, erected in 1930 by A. Shchuse.The architect interpreted the traditions of the pyramids in a modern way and gave the monument a laconic architectural form which was popular in the twenties.Qiehind the Mausoleum there is a necropolis of some outstanding statesmen and political leaders.On the southern side of Red Square is St. Basil’s Cathedral (Vasily Blazheny), a masterpiece of ancient Russian architecture. It was built in 1555—61 in memory of the victory over Kazani(1552).The monument standing in front of the Cathedral tells us of the people’s victory over the Polish invaders in 1612. The inscription onithe monument reads: “To Citizen Minin and Prince Pozharsky from a grateful Russia. The monument is the work of I. Martos (1752— 1835). Not far from the. Cathedral is what is called the Lobnoye Mesto, a platform of white stone more than 400 years old. The tsar’s edicts were proclaimed there and public executions carried out.To the right of the Cathedral on the territory of the Kremlin we can see a tall tower, more like a column, over 80 metres high. It is the Bell Tower of Ivan the Great built in the 15th century.There are twenty-two large bells and over thirty small ones in iQ For centuries the eastern side of Red Square had been associated with trading. The first stone shops were built here in the 16th century, today on their site stands the State Department Store, better known as GUM;
If we walk up from St. Basil’s to the opposite end of the square we face a red brick building. (This is the History Museum. In the west Red Square is adjoining the Kremlin. Just on the other side of the Kremlin wall.We can see the building of the former Senate, an outstanding architectural monument built by Matvei Kasakov (1738—1813), now the seat of the Administration of the President. The main and tallest tower of the Kremlin is the Spasskaya tower. It has long since become one of the symbols of Moscow. People all over Russia listen to the Kremlin clock on the Spasskaya tower striking midnight and it seems to them that they are listening to the beating of the heart of our capital.

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The National Treasure of Russia

March 6th, 2008 by admin

1. The Depository’s collection of historical and artistic pieces began to take shape in 1922. It comprised articles of jewelry from the eighteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century and the Russian Crown Jewels, which were previously kept in the Diamond Room of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. These articles, known as the Russian Diamond Treasury, made up the nucleus of the future collection.
2. The Diamond Treasury is one of the world’s major collections of unique precious stones and rare pieces of jewelry. It is one of the “big three” (the other are the Tower of London and the Teheran Markazi Bank): depositories holding exceptional treasures.
3. Intended by Peter I to store Russia’s Crown Jewels, the Diamond Room held the tokens of Imperial power, of which the main were the crown, the orb and the sceptre.
4. The political significance and enormous value of the crown jewels, which were the symbol of power, necessitated special custody regulations. The list of officials responsible for their safe-keeping and their duties were specified in ukasy issues by Peter I in 1719; for example, each of the officials had to secure the treasury doors with its own lock. But in the years that followed the monarchs began to use pieces from the Diamond Room to bestow gifts of various kinds, including gifts to high-placed persons abroad; some of the articles were redesigned according to current fashions and some were sold.
5. After the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 the stock of the Diamond Room was taken to Moscow along with some of the other treasures so as to forestall the possible threat Petrograd. From 1914 to 1920 valuables from the palaces and country estates of the Russian Imperial family were also brought to Moscow. A large part of these was installed in the Armoury Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin.
6. But in 1927 and 1932, in keeping with the rulings of the USSR Council of People’s Commissars and the Board of the State Bank of the USSR, some of the treasures were sold abroad.
7. Along with the famous pieces Grafted in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this display includes unique selections of nuggets, magnificent specimens of uncut diamonds from Yakutia and gemstones from the Urals, East Siberia and other sites, which the Depository received from the 1930s to the 1990s. There is also a new line: jewelry Grafted in our own time; many of the pieces, specially designed for the display by masters from the Depository’s own workshop, the pieces are remarkable for their technical excellence.
8. In the 1980s and the following decade a full-fledged collection of art objects began to take shape on the basis of the Depository’s stock. It includes exhibits by Russian and foreign jewellers, gold and silver tableware, and decorative appointments from the mid-eighteenth century to the 1980s.

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