Heritage sites around the world preserve history and cultural heritage, and Russia is filled with iconic sites. The article will discuss an overview of Russia’s heritage in terms of historically and significantly man-made properties such as past monuments, cemeteries, and buildings of notable people and buildings that are landmarks altered by humans after being established in 1947 and are governed by a law of 2002 “On the objects of cultural heritage (monuments of culture and history)” (Law 73-FZ). Moscow has been famous for its historic red square and many significant historical sites since the 13th century, including the magnificent Kremlin, the official residence of the President, in the very center of Moscow, the 16th century St Basilica Cathedral, a colorful building whose shapes appear like rising flames in the sky, and the magnificent museum in Catherine the Great’s solid senior palace. The other great city in Russia is Petersburg, built by Peter the Great. The great historic center is full of fascinating buildings such as the winter palace, the marble palace, and the Hermitage, one of the world’s largest museums going back in time. Novgorod, Russia’s first capital, set on the Volkov River, has been used since the 9th century. Another relic of medieval times is the ethereal focal point of a monastery filled with orthodox wall paintings. The Ferapontov monastery dates back to the 15th century and includes some famous Leonids. Derbent Fortress is located near the Caspian Sea and is said to be Russia’s oldest city. The ancient fortress was once part of the Persian Empire in the 6th century.
Kremlin and Red square Moscow
The Kremlin and the Red Square are the sanctuaries of the Russian Orthodox Church and extremely important settings in Russian political history. They are considered sacred sites, with St. Basil’s Cathedral standing on the southeast side of the Square with onion-shaped domes known as the characteristics of Russian orthodox Christianity. Their architecture originated from the Byzantine Empire and spread across the country during the 10th century. The Kremlin is one of the most fortified complexes in the world, containing one billion dollars’ worth of cultural treasure surrounded by 1.5 miles of walls up to 21 feet thick. Since 1991, it has also been the official residence of Russia’s President. While having many places open to the public, it also houses some secret royal rooms. The Kremlin’s walls have been protected by twenty defensive towers, with public access from Trinity Tower and some secret tunnels beneath some of the towers that were once used as dungeons. The Arsenal Palace, to the left of the square, houses military trophies and weapons worth billions of dollars, while the State Kremlin Palace, across the street, has an event theater and 800 rooms. Built in 1961 the kremlin’s newest building to keep it short the structure is hidden 16m beneath the ground.
The heart of the square holds many chapels and cathedrals with historic relics such as the 16th century Czar bell and 40-ton Czar cannon; however, the most famous building in the square is the great bell tower, which is now a museum chronicling the Kremlin’s construction. The grand Kremlin’s palace is 124 m wide and 47 m high, with a total area of 25000 sq m. It houses the secret rooms of the past tsars. It is two storeys tall, but it appears to be three, with the upper set having two sets of windows. The Tarem palace, the home of the first Russian family, has an assembly hall as a tsar meeting with his throne room, the Romanov family who once lived here had unbelievable wealth, and it was also believed that the palace has a secret library beneath the ground in the basement, which belonged to Ivan the Terrible, but only caved-in passageways have been discovered so far. The fifth floor features a gilded roof and upper stone courtyard offering incredible views of the Kremlin. The Faceted chamber that has imperial throne with stairases that descent to throne having gold lion statues the palace is assumed to have been built with 11 million rubles and renovated with one billion in 1990’s the centre of the palace has the grand hall dedicated to the order of valdmir with central dome lit by skylight and bronze chandeliers in the evening it is considered as largest structure of kremlin built in 1838 with different halls dedicated to each to different order with grandest gold architecture one can imagine with opulent golden doors and 20 different types wood in the floors and the celings enriched with opulently decorated gold motifs and golden floor which is meant to resemble as woven carpet.
- BASIL’S CATHEDRAL
During its construction in 1555, the name of Saint Basil’s Cathedral was not yet known. After the victory of Kazan against the Tatars, Ivan the Terrible, the terrible first tsar of Russia, built this cathedral. It was made of several chapels to celebrate the triumph of orthodoxy against Islam and the unification of Russia as a huge empire. The colored domes crown each of the eight chapels, symbolizing the eight battles that led to victory against the Tatars. The complex is connected by galleries that surround the church, which is surrounded by an octagonal roof. At the top is the golden dome that echoes those of the other churches in Moscow, whose multiple domes shine like a flame, each one depicting a different belief in the faith, the resurrection of Christ, and the one that illuminates the churches. Throughout history, people have been surprised by the structure of bright colors and unique geometry of orthodox architecture. For heritage conservationists, it is a fantastic city with several chapels forming a circle between them; it creates an image of the holy city from the sky where incredible colors emerge and all other elements make it up for incredible and infinite ornamentation with the motifs on the façade elevation as gilded vine gave life to supernatural flowers; the structure spiritually elevates humans to realize a form of beauty that has never had an equal. At the heart of the cathedral are the motifs of the Garden of Eden in many passages that connect the shrines to each other. All the chapels of the cathedral were built in only six years, an incredible speed for that time.
RESURRECTION GATE AND MOSCOW STATE HISTORICAL MUSEUM
The history of red square is best explored by the starting gate known as Iberian Gate, also known as Manezhnaya Square, which once was the entry point to red square through the resurrection gate, which was constructed in the 16th century during the period of Ivan the Terrible. The gate is also known as “Lion Gate” because it was located next to a ditch where Ivan lions were kept. There were two ornate towers placed above the passage in the 17th century. In early times, the gate served as the main gate of Moscow, leading from Tverskaya Street, the city’s main artery, to Red Square. Foreign ambassadors and victorious troops were granted solemn access. They also built the Iberian chapel in 1781 to enshrine the icon of the Iviron Theotokos, also known as one of the most holy shrines in Russia. There is a state historical museum located to the right of the gate, built in the 1880s by the architect Vladimir Sherwood in an unusual pseudo-Russian style in order to match the properties of St. Basil’s Cathedral. The structure is large and decorated with spires and turrets. The museum is located on the northern edge of the square and displays ancient times archaeological finds, arts, and crafts in a permanent exhibition depicting an overview of Russia’s cultural heritage.
The dome in the image above is the start studded heavenly blue dome of the chapel which is sandwiched between the two arches of the gate.
White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal
The shape of the buildings that appear like a white swan on the water are located 200 km east of Moscow and are the foundation stone of Russia. The white monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal were at the heart of the principality, which forms the base of the Russian state. Built in Whitestone, the first dome-topped building in Russia, the golden gate stands at the entrance to Vladimir, which was an important bastion to protect the city from Mongolians. Suzdal, with its grand principality, became one of Russia’s most prosperous states, protected by the Golden Gate. Shown as a symbol of prosperity is the assumption that the cathedral that stands by the river with golden onion-shaped domes arose from Byzantine Christian church architecture. The Roman Empire introduced Christianity to govern the state. The icon painting of virgin Vladimir was brought from the Eastern Roman Empire, which is one of the reasons to build the cathedral to enshrine the painting, which was believed to be sacred and has brought miracles and warded off Mongolian attacks three times. The cathedral’s walls feature a one-of-a-kind decoration: half-length columns that end with heads between two columns. Carvings of virgin Vladimir and King David from the Old Testament adorned the walls as well. The prince constructed various white buildings in Vladimir city. These white buildings are like fine testaments to a time when Christianity was first introduced to Russia. The precious heritage in the form of architecture that has been present since the 12th century
The architectural characteristics of Vladimir Suzdal are defined by properly placed stone blocks of limestone with exact, refined proportions and beautiful stone carvings. The architects of ancient churches have magnificently blended the building with the surrounding natural landscape, harmonizing the balance. These monuments are authentic and unique forms of architecture due to their age and historical links with the founders of Russian statehood. Numerous public and religious magnificent buildings from the 12th and 13th centuries, including the masterpieces of the collegiate church of Saint Demetrius and the cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, still stand beautifully on Russian grounds as valuable architectural cultural heritage.
The Cathedral of Saint Demetrius in Vladimir
The cathedral of Saint Demetrius, built by Vsevolod III in 1193-97 and decorated with traditional Russian folklore carvings on the exteriors, is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. The church is made of white limestone blocks in cubic form, similar to many earlier churches, and has been renovated many times since it was first built, but it has kept its predominant features and iconographic program. The doors and windows are deeply recessed with extensive carved ornamentation. The magnificent feature of this cathedral is the exterior carvings, the work of artisans. The carvings are in shallow relief and cover the upper half of the walls above the arcade frieze and the drum below the cupola. The carvings are made of plants and animals based on pagan beliefs and traditions and Christian theological themes. The interior of the church contains a few new frescoes from the 12th century at the west entrance. The decoration of the exterior of the columns is similar to the decor of the Assumption Cathedral.
The legal frame The register’s work declares approximately 100,000 items of cultural heritage to Russia, some of which are of national significance and some of which are local and religious, while the ministry of culture admits that many of them have been destroyed. Between 1917 and 1941, different zones of heritage denial and restoration occurred, with Vladimir Lenin ordering the destruction of tsarist monuments and the removal of church properties in 1920 while also authorizing the maintenance of the heritage register and the conversion of all national landmarks into national museums. Later in the second half of 1920, the anti-religious campaign was launched, and the destruction of heritage was stopped until Stalinist architecture was introduced, which had dual consequences. On the one hand, the demand for gigantic reconstruction allowed destruction of any structure that became an obstacle in their way, and on the other side, the list of heritage items was reduced later, when the Academy of Architecture was established, when they compiled all the damages and assessed the landmarks, many of which were restored and marked as of national significance until World War II, and yet many other buildings of national heritage were not listed in the register until the German invasion. Today, Russia is still a hub of cultural heritage, with maximum monuments and natural landscapes in the form of beautiful man-made and natural architecture.
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