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Terem Palace, a hidden gem of the Moscow Kremlin

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The Moscow Kremlin is the most beautiful, the most important and the most ancient place of the city and a symbol of Moscow. From the ancient times, it has been and still remains a political, spiritual and cultural centre of Russia and the official residence of Russia’s rulers. Except for well-known places of the Kremlin, there are some hidden gems, and the Terem Palace is one of them. The building of the Terem Palace can’t be seen from outside, only its golden domes.

Photo © credits to Jorge Láscar

Uzorochye, a traditional Russian architectural style

There is a saying that the first Russian emperor Peter I ‘cut a window to Europe’, so at the beginning of the 18th century, the European architecture, fashion and lifestyle invaded Russia, which before that was an inimitable country. The Terem Palace was built in 1636 for Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich, the gradfather of Peter I, in uzorochye - a traditional Russian architectural style, defined by complex forms, rich fancy decorations, and picturesque skylines. ‘Uzor’ could be translated as an ornament or a pattern. The Terem Palace reminds of a precious jewelry-box. If you look inside it, you will find a set of beautifully decorated rooms. The first room is a low-vaulted Antechamber with the lancet windows. In the morning, the boyars were sitting here and waiting for the tsar.

Photo © credits to mamchester

Where the tsar read the European newspapers

The tsar met the boyars council for discussing the affairs of the country in the Assembly Hall. Here, Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich read aloud the most interesting articles from the European newspapers, specially delivered for him every day, that came as a shock to the boyars – according to the tradition the tsar never read himself, there was a special reader who read for the tsar. The Throne Room formerly was called simply ‘the Chamber’, and today we would call it ‘Study’. It has the Tsar's armchair in the ‘red’ corner and the emblems of the provinces on the pillars and vaults.

Photo © credits to Tourister.ru

Photo © credits to polikliet

The tsar woke up at 4 am

Every room has a remarkable pottery tiled stove, mural paintings representing the Saints, and multi-coloured mica windows. You can also imagine that the cupboards were filled with golden and silver vessels and the birds were singing in their golden cages. Near the bedroom called ‘opotchivalnya’, there is a small Oratory. The tsar woke up at 4 am and went there to pray for his people. The tsar was considered an agent between God and people and bowed 1000 times every day. The long passage connected the residence of the tsar with the residence of the tsarina, that didn’t survive.

Photo © credits to iog2

Admire the official ceremonial hall of the Russian President

Seeing the simple white building of the Granovitaya Chamber (Palace of Facets), we can’t imagine that these walls hide the beautiful hall decorated with rich frescoes and gilded carvings. Built in the 15th century, it used to be the main banquet reception hall of the tsars. Currently, it is the official ceremonial hall in the residence of the President of the Russian Federation, used for holding formal state receptions. The entire vault and the walls are frescoed with several themes from the history of the Russian State and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Photo © credits to iog2

A hidden gem of the Moscow Kremlin - the Terem Palace, together with the Granovitaya Chamber, is a precious monument of ancient Russian architecture and reminds us of a distant but bright and dignified past. Both of these places are a part of the Great Kremlin Palace complex and are not open to the public. However, you can visit them joining a group tour.

Photo © credits to iog2

Terem Palace
Terem Palace

Title photo © credits to iog2


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The author

Victoria Derzhavina

Victoria Derzhavina

I live in Moscow. I am passionate about travelling, history, nature and architecture. I worked as a tourist guide in Moscow and other Russian cities for several years. I get inspiration visiting new places and like sharing it with others.

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