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The Great Kremlin Palace

The Great Kremlin Palace in Moscow Kremlin The Moscow residence of the Russian Tsars was built in 1849 by the architect Konstantin Ton, who also designed the Armory and the Church of Christ the Saviour. The palace of Empress Elizaveta had previously stood on the same site, and that in turn had been built on the foundations of Ivan III's palace.

The Palace complex was made up of 19th Century structures erected for the family of Emperor Nikolai I and surviving buildings from previous eras - The Terem Palace, The Tsaritsina's Golden Chamber, The Faceted Palace and the palace churches. In the middle of the 19th Century, the Armory also became part of the complex, connected to the palace by a tunnel.

Ton's palace is quite unique for its time thanks to its wide-bayed brick arches. His contemporaries were not overly impressed by the fairly monotonous facades of the building, but the palace's interior, comprising more than seven hundred rooms, quickly became celebrated for the richness and refinement of its decor. It is no coincidence that the palace is considered a museum of Russian palatial interiors, where all styles from Renaissance to Byzantine can be found. The glorious main hall and staircase, and five ceremonial halls dedicated to the chivalric orders of the Russian empire - Georgievsky, Ekaterinsky, Andreevsky, Aleksandrovsky and Vladimirsky - were created as a memorial to Russian military glory. The living quarters of the palace, the residence of the Tsar's family, were known as the "Personal Half". The Georgievsky Hall, the largest of all, houses marble plaques on which are engraved the names of more than ten thousand Russian officers who have been awarded the highest honor of the Russian Army, the Order of St. George. The pink marble Andreevsky Hall, the throne room, is roofed with a spherical dome decorated with coats of arms and the symbols of the chivalric orders. The central Vladimirskiy Hall is in the form of an octahedron, and has a high dome to let light into the interior. The Ekaterinsky Hall, the throne room of the Russian Empresses, has an interior that is delightfully comfortable without losing any of its solemnity.

In the Soviet period, the Andreevsky and Aleksandrovsky Halls were combined to form the seat of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. In the nineties the two rooms were restored to their original appearance.

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