The Palace of the Facets | 4Walks
The Palace of the Facets
Moscow, The Kremlin
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The Palace of the Facets is a building in the Moscow Kremlin,Russia, 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, between the Cathedral of the Annunciation and the Dormition Cathedral. Currently, it is an official ceremonial hall in the residence of the President of the Russian Federation and thus admission is limited to prearranged tours only.

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. 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.

The first floor of the Palace of the Facets consists of the main hall and adjoining sacred vestibule. Both are decorated with rich frescoes 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. 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 by order of Tsar Alexander III.

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 for their coronations. The last such procession was at the coronation of Nicholas II in 1896. In the Streltsy Uprising in 1682 several of Tsar Peter the Great's rebellious relatives were hurled down the staircase onto the pikes of the Streltsy guard. Demolished by Joseph Stalin in the 1930s and replaced with a canteen for Kremlin workers, the staircase was rebuilt in 1994 at great expense.

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