November, 10, 2009 – March, 10, 2010

the Assumption Belfry and One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace

Organized by:
   the Moscow Kremlin Museums 

01# Conclusion of the Battle of PoltavaThe exhibition, placed in the Assumption Belfry and One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace, is dedicated to the 300th Anniversary of the greatest event in the Russian history of the XVIIIth century - the Battle of Poltava. About 160 unique items from the Kremlin collections, relating to themes of the battle and Russian glory, are on display. The project participants are the world-known museums, among which are the State Hermitage Museum, State Tretyakov Gallery, State Russian Museum, Swedish Nationalmuseum and the Royal Armoury collection in Stockholm, Dresden State Art Collections.

The Great Northern War, in which the so-called Northern Alliance composed of Russia, Denmark, Poland-Lithuania and Saxony fought against Sweden for the supremacy in the Baltic Sea, continued for 21 years and ended with a victory over the Swedish army, which finally gave Russia an access to the Baltic Sea therefore contributed to the rise of Imperial Russia.

In 1709 Emperor Peter I ordered to transfer the Swedish arms and other trophies (banners, kettledrums, interior utensils) to the Armoury Chamber, where a unique collection, dedicated to history of the Northern War and Battle of Poltava, had to be formed.

At the exhibition, which is divided into two sections, you will see items from various expositions of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, i.e. the portraits of persons involved in the Great Northern War, officer decorations, gold commemorative medals, pieces of Russian and Swedish arms of the early XVIIIth century, personal equipment belonged to Charles XII, Peter I and his companions, precious pieces by Russian silversmiths and enamelled artworks, dedicated to themes of Poltava. The exposition covers the period from 1699 - the time of the last pre-war visit of the Swedish embassy to Moscow - to 1710, the year of great celebrations and gala festivals on the occasion of the victory at Poltava.

The first section in the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace explores the early period of the Northern War, which has involved first victories and defeats of the Russia, and reveals peculiarities of the very Decisive Battle. It introduces pieces of armament and ammunition of the two armies and presents the chronology of military campaigns as well as events which led to political perturbations in the world. The exposition incorporates personal items of Augustus II the Strong from the Dresden State Art Collections, including a marvelous present made by Peter I - a large-sized sapphire, kept in the Dresden Royal treasury.

The second section in the Assumption Belfry is dedicated to solemn ceremonies and celebrations, arranged in Moscow on the occasion of the victory of Poltava. It comprises a full complex of pieces, representing merits and feats of the Russian army and navy. The same exposition presents artworks glorifying the genius of Peter I as a victor that has defeated an adversary in war. Commemorative medals and engravings depicting the gala entrance of the army in Moscow and the Arch of Triumph erected for the occasion are displayed here. The exhibits, worthy of particular attention, are the trophies, captured by the Russian troops during the Battle: flags, kettledrums, drums, banners' peaks, arms and Swedish officer decorations. Among them you can see personal items of Charles XII, including his battle staff and a Bible, expropriated as trophies during the battle.

The highlight of the exhibition is the Triumphal pillar from the State Hermitage Museum, which is more than 4 metres high. Its copper plates bear engravings with scenes of history of the Northern War.

The exhibition in the Kremlin museums, having become an important project to Russian as well as European audience, is interesting and worthy of visiting for everyone, who is keen on Russian history and culture.