Parts of ancient Moscow with its golden-domed churches, gingerbread cottages and magnificent palaces can still be found in the noisy and vain streets of the megalopolis.
Between the Garden and the Boulevard Ring (Sadovoye and Bulvarnoye Koltso) there is a place greatly favored by Russian noblemen of the 17th century. In spite of its major reconstructions done in modern times the Volkov-Yusupov Chambers still decorate this quiet part of Moscow city. According to a legend, a famous palace of Ivan the Terrible used to be located here. Once the Tsar was enjoying the falconry hunting in the nearby forests and his hat fell on the ground suddenly. He got very angry and ordered to build a palace at the place.
A special tunnel connecting the palace with the Kremlin was found during the reconstruction of the Yusupov Chambers and walled up.
After the death of Ivan the Terrible the Chambers were left empty for quite a long time. The place belonged to baron Shafirov, earl Tolstoy and Secretary of the military division Volkov. Nobody knows why the Chambers got the name of the latter as he owned them for the least amount of time. In 1727 the Chambers were presented to prince Yusupov who had been owning them till 1917.
The Chambers were developed by the best representatives of the illustrious name. Prince Nikolay Yusupov, a favorite of Ekaterina II, decorated it with rare and beautiful things from his collection.
Rooms of the ground floor are decorated following the Russian traditions. The ceiling and some walls tell us about the life of Ivan the Terrible.
One portrait of the Tsar has a strange visual effect. No matter in what part of the room you are standing, the eyes of Ivan the Terrible will always be focusing on you.
In 1802-1803 the left part of the Chambers was rented by a family of A. Pushkin,the famous Russian poet, who liked walking in the magnificent garden around the Chambers. Unfortunately,the garden was destroyed in the fire of 1812.
The angry lion holds Yusupov’s arms. It symbolizes strength and power and consists of 6 parts that show a horseman, the star of Biblical David, a Tartar, a bow, an arrow, a lion, a two-headed eagle, crosses swords, a crescent with four stars and the crown of the Russian Empire.
The Chinese room.
The Chinese room contains a rare collection of Chinese pieces of art. The huge bears were killed by Prince P. Yususpov.
A wide ward with the dome-like ceiling where Ivan the Terrible held feasts with his life-guardsmen. It can be entered through three forged gold-plate tracery doors of superb artistry. The walls are decorated with portraits of Peter the Great and Peter II.
Images of a grape-vine can be found everywhere. As khan Yusuf used to be a Muslim but decided to become a Christian later, it is no wonder that the grape-vine that symbolizes Christ is widely used in decoration alongside with eastern ornament.
Portraits of all members of the family can be found in the room.
The cabinet of Prince.
Sokolnichiy Palace of Ivan the Terrible in Moscow. The cabinet of the owner of the palace, prince P.Yusupov. Movement of planets is shown on the ceiling. The portrait of princess Yusupova is on the wall. A fireplace made of Dutchware of superb artistry related to the beginning of the 17th century is located in the corner.
Chapel of Saint Tatiana was named after the daughter of Nikolai Yusupov who died at the age of 22.
By 2000 the Chambers were in a terrible condition but soon an investor was found who sponsored restorative works and repairs in 2009.