The exhibits in Moscow's Red Square History Museum, the most important museum of Russian history, range from prehistoric Russian artefacts to jewels, coins and priceless paintings.
The State Historical Museum is one of the most striking buildings on Moscow's Red Square and the largest and best-known museum on Russian history. The building that houses the Moscow History Museum is perched on the north-west side of the famous Red Square.
It may seem as if the venerable building is already 500 years old, but in fact it was built in 1883 by the Russian architect Vladimir Shervud. Its dark red brick façade with its pointed turrets and white ornamental elements is a deliberate testimony to old Russian architecture and is thus itself a testimony to Russian history.
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PICTURES: Historical Museum in Moscow
History of the Historical Museum in Moscow
The idea for a Russian history museum originated in the minds of some Russian nobles in 1872. Count Alexei Uvarov was in charge of setting up a committee to establish the first national history museum in the Tsarist Empire. The opening of the museum on 27 May 1883 took place on the same day as Alexander III's coronation as Tsar of Russia in the Cathedral of the Dormition in the neighbouring Moscow Kremlin.
Today, a total of 16 specialised departments cover the topics of archaeology, precious metals, coins, fine arts, wood art, Old Russian painting, cartography, books, metal art, weapons, documents, glass and ceramics, textiles, manuscripts, furniture and science. In these exhibitions, visitors will find 1.7 million historical coins, banknotes, medals and orders, 500,000 paintings, sculptures and photographs.
Visit to the History Museum in Moscow
The interior of the magnificent building alone is worth the three-hour tour of the museum, and the entrance fee of a few euros is almost ridiculous. The overwhelming rooms were modelled on Russian palaces and are bursting with magnificent décor by renowned artists.
All in all, Russian history can be traced in the Moscow History Museum with the help of almost 4.5 million exhibits - from the Palaeolithic Age to Kievan Rus and the Mongol invasion to the Soviet Union. In addition, special exhibitions are held time and again, some of which go beyond the topic of Russian history.
Among the most remarkable exhibits are a historic longboat found on the banks of the Volga, several golden artefacts of the Scythians, a nomadic horse-riding people from the Black Sea, ancient manuscripts on birch bark from Novgorod dating back to the 6th century and the largest coin collection in Russia.