The Armory

September 27, 2005

The Armory is a museum — a big museum, located in the Kremlin.   There are two more things that Russia has a lot — churches and museums.   I am reminded that in Japan, as a tourist you see temples and shrines.   In Russia it is churches and museums.   I am sure that we only saw a small portion of the Armory.   We saw even a smaller portion of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.   From the booklets brought back from Russia, I believe that a year could be spent in Moscow alone if one is to see all.   In the Armory, it was wondrous to see all the silver, gold and elegant designs in ivory and mother-of-pearl.   That which is documented by me in the photos below are but a fraction of what we saw.   Impossible to photograph all — and really not knowing where to stop.

All except the gaudy carriages were in glass cases.   This presents a challenge to the photographer to reduce reflections.   Flash, often not permitted in museums, was not used.   Neither was a tripod used as I felt it would be too time consuming and difficult to setup.   I was constantly on the look for building columns, case frames, anything to hold the camera on to keep it steady.

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The first is a clock — beautiful gold work.   The armor on the horse weighs 400 pounds, poor horse.   Then gold and silver, the lion in silver about 5 feet tall.   Religious icons in gold and silver and tapestry of gold and silver threads.   And, lastly a chair of ivory.   Treasures!

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We tried to visualize the common people standing along the streets or roads and seeing their czar or the czar's family riding in such carriages as these.   Even if used only for ceremonial purposes, this is a horrible display of extravagance.   To smoothen the ride, the riding compartments are suspended by leather straps to the chassis.   A fellow traveler and I got corrected for touching one of these straps.   An interesting solution to what must have be a very real problem.

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From coaches to chairs to clothing.   There were some truly beautiful pieces here.   Wedding garb and gown for Peter the Great and Catherine.   And much more collected over 300 years ago.

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This last photo in this group, the outside of the Armory after a very quick tour through a very interesting museum.   I do not generally like museums because the pace is so slow and it becomes very tiring.   But the Armory is a must see for anyone visiting Moscow.

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The Armory is one of many building within the Kremlin.   There lies another misconception that I had.   During the Cold War, we heard Kremlin this, Kremlin that — all government stuff.   It is more than that and here if interested a Map of the Kremlin.

Next   —   The Kremlin