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Vladychnaya (Granovitaya) Palata

Vladychnaya (Granovitaya) chamber. 1433. Interior designThe Vladychnaya (Granovitaya) palata (1433) is practically all that remains of the once magnificent archbishops' residence. Its condition is typical to that of medieval buildings which have survived numerous reorganizations and repeated changes of the purpose of their use. Its ordinary and simple image hides a lot of interesting secrets. If we mentally remove the almost three-meter cultural layer, take away the vestibule, attached in the 19th century, return the pairs of conjoining pointed windows and elaborate conical portals to the facades, then something completely atypical for medieval Russian architecture will rise before our very eyes. These features, which are even more visible in the decor of the ceremonial hall with its combination of vaults and ribs, are quite obviously a consequence of the fact that by order of Euphemy II the Vladychnaya palata was designed jointly by Russian and German architects.

In the 15th century this chamber was intended for official receptions and sessions, but at the same time it was used for meetings of the Vladychny (Supreme) court of justice. Therefore, the fresco paintings decorating niches on the facades and walls of the hall itself, consist of both compositions on religious subjects ("Christ the Almighty"), and images of a purely decorative secular nature ("a plait," graceful flowers).

Vladychnaya (Granovitaya) chamber. Detail of the interiorThe importance of the Vladychnaya palata in the history of Russia can't be underestimated. It was here that on January 15, 1478 Ivan III made his famous statement: "We shall tolerate no veche bell in Novgorod, but shall rule our state as great princes ought to rule it."

One century later this chamber bore witness to the "grim feast," which the Novgorod prelate Pimen arranged for Ivan IV the Terrible in Novgorod and after which the city was subjected to a real massacre. Many generations of Novgorod citizens recollected it with horror. One legend claimed that so much hot blood had been spilled into the River Volkhov, that since then it would never freeze over even during the most severe frosts.

For a long time, from the 16th to the 19th centuries, the Vladychnaya palata served only as a church. Nowadays it houses the museum stocks and the Exposition of the Old Russian Decorative, Applied and Jeweller's Arts.

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