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The Armory

The Armory in Moscow Kremlin Like the Faceted Chamber, the Armory forms part of Great Kremlin Palace complex. The building was erected as part of Konstantin Ton's project between 1844 and 1851. From the start the space was intended as a museum to house the treasures of the Tsars. Before this the collection had been housed in the much smaller Armory Chamber on the same site. The new structure fitted comfortably into the Palace complex as a whole, being stylistically similar to the Great Kremlin Palace itself. The two-tiered chamber of the ground floor is particularly impressive and the fasade is decorated with sculpted and ornamented columns. The building houses a suite of apartments with high-vaulted ceilings, and the central hall is round.

The museum's collection fills nine halls and includes exquisite jewelry, men's and women's clothing, carriages, armor, weaponry and many other fascinating artifacts from the cultural and domestic life of different eras. A good example is the legendary Crown of Monomakh, supposedly a gift to Prince Vladimir of Kiev, in the 11th century, from the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus, and thus a symbol of Russia's claim to the spiritual and imperial heritage of Byzantium. It was used in the coronation ceremony of all the Tsars until 1682. The museum brings the past to life for visitors, conjuring up images of splendid balls, bleak military campaigns and the everyday lives of the Russian people. The ground floor also houses the celebrated State Diamond Fund.

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