State Historical Museum

Moscow, Russia | C.1872

Photo Credit: Vasilmann

The State Historical Museum in Russia’s capital of Moscow is the largest museum in the nation, with a collection that has been steadily growing for the past century. It now houses over 4.5 million historical artifacts in its massive building overlooking Red Square.

The State Historical Museum’s grand opening coincided with the coronation of Emperor Alexander III in June 1883, at which point Russia’s empire stretched all the way to Finland. Designed by architect Vladimir Sherwood and engineer Anatoly Semenov, the interior was once elaborately decorated in an ornate Russian Revival style, but many of these decorations were too flashy for the Soviet Union, and were subsequently removed in the late 20th century.

As per its name, the State Historical Museum places a strong emphasis on the history of Russia and how it fits into the history of mankind. An ornate hallway marks the entrance of the building, and features an exhaustive genealogical record of every Russian ruler painted across the walls.

The rest of the museum is in chronological order, starting at the dawn of civilization and delving into Russian history as far back as it can be traced. Topics covered include the adoption of Christianity, Russia’s feudal period and wars against foreign invaders. The entire institution is centered on the theme of the centralization of the Russian state, and the expansion of that state through conquest.

For 500 rubles, visitors can participate in a guided tour of the museum in Russian. Chinese, English and French visitors must pay an extra 600 rubles.

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