Varvarka street – home to Romanov family

Join RT on an intriguing tour that offers a rare glimpse at how Russia’s nobles lived centuries ago.

There is a street in Moscow where time seems to have stopped. It may be located in the bustling city centre, but it takes you right back to the Middle Ages.

Varvarka Street is located just a stone’s throw away from the Kremlin. Minus the cars and some modern constructions, it looks ancient enough, filled with churches and medieval houses.

It is there that stands the family home of the Romanov Dynasty, who occupied the Russian throne from the early 17th century until the Revolution put an end to monarchy in 1917.

Before they became Tsars, the Romanovs were part of the rich nobility called the boyars. They rose to tsardom during the political upheavals known as the Time of Troubles, when Mikhail Romanov was crowned in 1613.

Mikhail is believed to have been born in this house but after he was crowned, the family moved to the Kremlin and presented the estate to a newly-founded monastery nearby.

In the 19th century though, the building was restored and opened as a museum decicated to the Romanovs.

Quite surprisingly, it survived through the Soviet era and is now known as the Chambers of the Romanov Boyars.

The 17th-century interiors having been meticulously restored, with plenty of original items and furniture, the museum offers a unique insight into what daily life was like for Moscow’s medieval nobility.

On the ground floor are the men’s quarters – dark and imposing. This is where the family gathered for meals and entertained guests, and where the men worked and studied.

The second floor houses the women’s chambers – isolated from the house’s public spaces but bright and airy. The numerous windows were no accident – at the time, needlework was far more than a woman’s key pastime, so light was an absolute must.

A woman was considered unfit to marry if she was not good with lace frames and spinning wheels, so noblemen’s daughters were expected to embroider just like any of their housemaids.

It may be quite small but this museum draws you into a world exotic enough to take you on a trip back in time. Come on over and experience life as a would-be royal for a day.

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