The Armoury began as the arsenal of the Moscow Kremlin as early as 1508, where were housed the finest of Muscovite gunsmiths, jewellers, and painters. Their resulting collection was later served as the Kremlin’s Great Treasury, and included many of the precious items that have been preserved for centuries. Later, in Soviet times, the treasures of the Patriarch’s vestry joined it, as did a large number of precious icons from across Russia. Despite the fall of the Communists, these historical church items remain housed among the state artifacts.
Some of the exhibits were made in the Kremlin’s workshops, others were accepted as ambassadorial gifts. The Armoury Chamber preserves ancient state regalia, ceremonial tsar’s vestments and coronation dress, vestments of the Russian Orthodox Church’s hierarchs, the largest collection of gold and silverware by Russian craftsmen, West European artistic silver, ceremonial weapons and arms, carriages, horse ceremonial harness.
In total, there are more than 4,000 pieces of applied art from Russia, Europe, and the Far East kept by the State Armory, from as early as the 4th century, and as late as the Russian Revolution. The high artistic level and the historical and cultural value of the exhibits have made the State Armory of the Moscow Kremlin a world renowned museum.