The Chambers of the Romanov BoyarsRussian: Palaty Boyar Romanovykh, or Палаты бояр Романовых museum is situated in an historic building comprising of 15-17th century chambers near the Kremlin. It is part of a unique medieval architectural ensemble in Varvarka streetRussian: улицa Варваркa. The chambers are thought to be the birthplace of the first tsar of the Romanov dynastyrulers of Russia from 1613 until the Russian Revolution of February 1917 Mikhail Fyodorovich. The museum halls house themed displays and reconstructed interiors dedicated to the former estate residents’ life. Entering the museum feels like a trip to the 16th century, and it is worth a visit for all Russian history lovers.
The family estate of the Romanov boyarsmembers of the highest rank of the feudal society in Russia was reconstructed in the 19th century on Emperor Alexander Ireigned as Emperor of Russia from 1801 to 1825’s orders. Following this, all the emperors from Alexander IIthe Emperor of Russia from 1855 until 1881 to Nicholas IIthe last Emperor of Russia visited the chambers to pay tribute to their ancestry. The restoration work conducted under architect F. Richter’s supervision brought back the chambers’ original look of an affluent boyar house of the 16-17th centuries. The museum was opened here in 1859. Both the lost architectural elements and the interiors of the building were reconstructed: glazed tile stoves, a wooden additional storey called gornitsa, the “boyar’s study”, the “dining chamber”, and others. The work conducted by F. Richter pioneered scientific building restoration in Moscow.
Nowadays of the estate
At present, the Romanovs’ chambers are decorated with dynasty symbols: the Romanovs’ family coat of arms – a griffin – was restored on the northern and the eastern facades by architect A. Chernousov. The genuinely historic exhibits impart a unique character to the museum. Here you can see authentic 16-17th century weapons (harquebuses, spikes, and cavalry swords), trunks, books and engravings, stationery and household objects such as furniture, clothes, fabric, trinkets, children’s toys, and silverware.
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Dedicated to different aspects of life
There are themed displays dedicated to different aspects of the estate residents’ life. Thus, the boyar’s study features objects reflecting his educational background, hobbies, and ongoing work. The objects in the maidens’ room reflect how women spent their days in the 16-17th centuries: weaving, embroidery, and raising children. The dining chamber will acquaint you with the traditions of hospitality and feasts in medieval Rus’. There is also authentic silverware from the collection of the State Historical Museum on display. The walls of the dining chamber are lined with a brocade restored according to the remaining 19th century samples. The coats of arms and cyphers of the boyar family are placed on the walls of the chambers lined with brocade and leather wall paper.
In the ‘podklet’ (cellar), you can see a reconstructed traditional Russian stove and household utensils of the 16-17th centuries. An authentic 16th century oven, found during the archaeological excavations of Zaryadyea historical district in Moscow established in 12th or 13th century within Kitai-gorod, can be seen in the underground part of the museum complex. There are also archaeological artifacts of the 12 – 16th centuries which speak volumes about the ZaryadieRussian: Зарядье region in Moscow and the Romanov boyars’ estate in different historical periods.
THE HISTORY OF THE CHAMBERS
The main chambers ‘on the upper cellars’ dating back to the 15-17th centuries have survived to this day. They frequently suffered from fires and were rebuilt more than once. These chambers are considered to be the birthplace of the first tsar of the Romanov dynasty Mikhail Fyodorovich. He was crowned at 16, thus laying the foundation of the 300-year dynasty. It was in these chambers that Tsarina Anastasiya Zakharjina-Yurieva, the first wife of Ivan the Terriblereigned from 1533 to 1584 and the mother of Fyodor Ioannovich, the last tsar of the Rurik dynastya dynasty founded by the Varangian prince Rurik, was born.
Originally, in the 15th century, the merchant Khovrins’ farmstead stood in this place. They built the white-stone podklet to store expensive goods and the first buildings. Later the Yuriev-Romanov boyars purchased the farmstead and turned it into a vast estate where stone chambers with numerous backyard buildings, ice cellars, and barns appeared. The boyars were keen on western culture, maintained relations with the English people who lived in the neighbouring Old English Estate, and collected books by western authors. The link to western culture and the good educational background of this family are reflected in the museum display too. In the 17th century Tsar Mikhail Ithe first Russian Tsar of the house of Romanov ordered the laying of the foundations of a convent on the site of the estate in honour of the family relic – the icon of Our Lady of the SignRussian: ikona Znameniya Presvyatoy Bogoroditsyi or икона Знамения Пресвятой Богородицы. The rector of the convent was also accommodated in the chambers.
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