Palace of Facets

Palace of Facets

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The Palace of the Facets is a building in the Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, which contains what used to be the main banquet reception hall of the Muscovite Tsars. It is the oldest preserved secular building in Moscow. Located on Kremlin Cathedral Square
Cathedral Square
Cathedral Square may refer to:*Cathedral Square, Brisbane, Australia*Cathedral Square, Christchurch, New Zealand*Cathedral Square, Glasgow, Scotland*Cathedral Square, Moscow, Russia*Cathedral Square, Mobile, Alabama, United States...

, between the Cathedral of the Annunciation
Cathedral of the Annunciation
The Cathedral of the Annunciation is a Russian Orthodox church dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos. It is located on the southwest side of Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia, where it connects directly to the main building of the complex of the Grand Kremlin Palace,...

 and the Dormition Cathedral. Currently, it is an official ceremonial hall in the residence of the President of the Russian Federation
President of the Russian Federation
The President of the Russian Federation is the head of state, supreme commander-in-chief and holder of the highest office within the Russian Federation...

 and thus closed to the public. Only its eastern façade facing toward Cathedral Square can be viewed.

Building


Named after its distinctive stonework eastern façade with horizontal rows of sharp-edged stones, the Palace of Facets is all that is left of a larger royal palace made of white limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

. Although from the façade, it appears to be a three-story rectangular building from the outside, it is actually a one-story building with a semi-basement. On the west side the building is directly connected to the central building of the Grand Kremlin Palace
Grand Kremlin Palace
The Grand Kremlin Palace , also translated Great Kremlin Palace, was built from 1837 to 1849 in Moscow, Russia on the site of the estate of the Grand Princes, which had been established in the 14th century on Borovitsky Hill...

.

The first floor of the Palace of the Facets consists of the main hall and adjoining sacred vestibule. Both are decorated with rich fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es and gilded carvings. The splendid vaulted main hall has an area of about 500 m² (5,380 ft²). The entire vault and the walls are frescoed with elaborate several themes from the history of the Russian State and the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

. This was used as a throne room and banqueting hall for the 16th-century and 17th-century tsars and is still used for holding formal state receptions. The paintings were restored in the 1880s by icon painters from Palekh
Palekh
Palekh is an urban locality and the administrative center of Palekhsky District of Ivanovo Oblast, Russia. Its urban status is due to its economy not depending upon agriculture. Population:...

 by order of Tsar Alexander III
Alexander III of Russia
Alexander Alexandrovich Romanov , historically remembered as Alexander III or Alexander the Peacemaker reigned as Emperor of Russia from until his death on .-Disposition:...

.

On the palace's southern facade is the Red Porch, an external staircase decorated with stylized lion sculptures on the railings. The tsars passed down this staircase on their way to the Cathedral of the Dormition
Cathedral of the Dormition
The Cathedral of the Dormition is a Russian Orthodox church dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos. It is located on the north side of Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia, where a narrow alley separates the north from the Patriarch's Palace with the Twelve Apostles Church....

 for their coronations. The last such procession was at the coronation of Nicholas II
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

 in 1896. In the Streltsy Uprising in 1682
Moscow Uprising of 1682
Moscow Uprising of 1682, also known as Streltsy Uprising of 1682 , was an uprising of the Moscow Streltsy regiments which resulted in supreme power being devolved on Sophia Alekseyevna...

 several of Tsar Peter the Great's rebellious relatives were hurled down the staircase onto the pikes of the Streltsy
Streltsy
Streltsy were the units of Russian guardsmen in the 16th - early 18th centuries, armed with firearms. They are also collectively known as Marksman Troops .- Origins and organization :...

 guard. Demolished by Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 in the 1930s and replaced with a canteen for Kremlin workers, the staircase was rebuilt in 1994 at great expense.

History


In 1487, Grand Duke Ivan III
Ivan III of Russia
Ivan III Vasilyevich , also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Prince of Moscow and "Grand Prince of all Rus"...

 commissioned two Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 architects, Marco Ruffo
Marco Ruffo
Marco Ruffo as known as Marco Fryazin was an Italian architect active in Moscow in the 15th century....

 and Pietro Solario to build a stone palace after a series of fires that had ravaged by then predominantly wooden Kremlin. The new palace was completed in 1492 and served as the most important venue for formal receptions of the Tsar, coronation celebrations, feasts, and state ceremonies. Tsar Ivan the Terrible celebrated his conquest of the Kazan Khanate for three days in 1552. Likewise, Tsar Peter the Great celebrated his 1709 victory over Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 at the Battle of Poltava
Battle of Poltava
The Battle of Poltava on 27 June 1709 was the decisive victory of Peter I of Russia over the Swedish forces under Field Marshal Carl Gustav Rehnskiöld in one of the battles of the Great Northern War. It is widely believed to have been the beginning of Sweden's decline as a Great Power; the...

 and the end of the Great Northern War
Great Northern War
The Great Northern War was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in northern Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I the Great of Russia, Frederick IV of...

 in 1721. It was also within the Palace of Facets that the Zemsky Sobor
Zemsky Sobor
The zemsky sobor was the first Russian parliament of the feudal Estates type, in the 16th and 17th centuries. The term roughly means assembly of the land. It could be summoned either by tsar, or patriarch, or the Boyar Duma...

 which resulted in the Treaty of Pereyaslav
Treaty of Pereyaslav
The Treaty of Pereyaslav is known in history more as the Council of Pereiaslav.Council of Pereyalslav was a meeting between the representative of the Russian Tsar, Prince Vasili Baturlin who presented a royal decree, and Bohdan Khmelnytsky as the leader of Cossack Hetmanate. During the council...

 uniting the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 with the Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 was held in 1654.

Over the centuries, the Palace of Facets suffered repeatedly from major fires damage and was rebuilt several times in its history. However, it has continued to be used for state receptions even in modern times, including the 1994 state visit
State visit
A state visit is a formal visit by a foreign head of state to another nation, at the invitation of that nation's head of state. State visits are the highest form of diplomatic contact between two nations, and are marked by ceremonial pomp and diplomatic protocol. In parliamentary democracies, heads...

 of Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

.

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