World War II finished more than 75 years ago, however, our country is still recovering from the destructions of that time. Trarskoe Selo (“Tsar’s village” in Russian), a complex of museums and parks (Catherine palace with the amber room is its part) has recently opened the Arsenal museum that was in ruins for more than 70 years.
The history of the Arsenal started at the time of Nicholas I (first half of the 19th century). As all emperors that possess knight qualities Nicholas I loved arms. His collection was one of the best in Europe and the best one if we speak about oriental weapons.
Nicholas I was charmed by medieval England. He visited Abbotsford, the castle of Walter Scott, there. His impressions came to life in the design and decoration of the Arsenal. The building combined the knights house (on the first floor were a bedroom, a dining-room, a study and a library) with the public museum.
When emperors visited Tsar’s village, the flag flew on top of the Arsenal. Alexander III gave the collection to the Hermitage museum. He thought the exhibits would preserve better there.
The Hermitage museum helped to prepare the exhibition and even gave back some of the exhibits that used to be kept in the Arsenal.
The museum is ready to present the unique collection of arms including emperors’ weapons, blades from the East, medieval swords.
The central part of the museum is the knight hall. In the 19th century guests had to buy tickets to see the collection. Therefore, the Arsenal became the first arms museum in Russia.
During World War II the building was destroyed. The façade remained intact but inside everything was charred. In December, 2012 the ministry of culture decided to finance the restoration works. All architecture and construction elements are restored in the way that keeps all the remaining parts.
There is a legend that the Arsenal pavilion has a tunnel that leads to Catherine palace with the amber room. This legend has not been proved to be true so far.
Each weapon can tell a story. You will find out how a biker helped the museum to get one of its most valuable objects of the Japanese collection, why warriors of a certain nation always have a big callus on the forefinger of the left hand and have equal rights with British officers in the army. Everybody knows the word “merry-go-round” or “carousel”. Do you have any idea why horses are used there? Come and check. The first arms museum in Russia is open for visitors again.