One of the fundamental collections of the Armoury Chamber - the collection of the carriages of the 16th-18th cc – was formed on the base of sovereigns’ treasury. Closely linked with the Moscow Kremlin, the collection began to be formed in the early 16th century, and currently amounts to 17 carriages. They were fashioned between the 16th and 18th centuries by the finest masters of Russia and Western Europe, including such famous names as Johan Buckendal, Johann Hoppenhaupt, François Boucher, Nicholas Pineau and Philippe Caffieri. The earliest equipages preserved in the world’s collections are also to be found among the exhibits of the Armoury Chamber.

In contrast to the majority of other collections, the Kremlin one has a typological diversity and, in regards to the functional side, it demonstrates the most recent advances in equipage techniques. It possesses almost all types and constructions of the carriages, spread in Russia and Western Europe in the 16th-18th cc.: heavy carriages, covered sledges (vozok), coupé, Berlin carriages, sedans, barouches and carriages with very large carcass. Such styles as late Renaissance, baroque, Regency, rococo and classicism found reflections in their artistic and graphic structure. Many of these items are directly linked with important historical events or distinguished Russian and foreign statesmen.

Until the beginning of the 18th century, the Kremlin was the residence of the Russian grand princes, tsars, metropolitans and patriarchs. It was here that the state treasury was kept, skilled craftsmen worked for the royal court, and rich horse harness and splendid carriages were fashioned in the workshops of the Stables Ministry. The royal stables also contained carriages brought to Russia as ambassadorial gifts or purchased in foreign countries. All these conveyances were of great material and artistic value from the very start. They were used exclusively for solemn state processions, in which they not only provided a comfortable journey, but also served a worthy symbols of the power of the Russian state. Consequently, they were cherished and preserved with special care and with the passage of time, like other items associated with the royal family in bygone days, acquired an increasingly memorial significance.

From 1834 till 1851 the carriages were kept in the Armoury building erected by the architect I.V. Yegotov in 1806-1809. When the new building was constructed in 1851 after the design by Konstantin Ton, the carriages were given the beautiful Oval Room on the ground floor. They were exhibited together with other valuable items from the royal Stables treasury.

In the second half of the 1940s, the collection of horse harness was moved to the two neighbouring rooms, leaving the Oval Room exclusively for the carriages. The post-war exposition was based on the chronological principle and also aimed at giving visitors a clear idea of the carriages’ functioning. For this purpose, the horse mannequins were used.

In 1986, the modern exposition of the carriages’ hall was opened, basing on the best from the previous experience of display and in the light of most recent studies and attributions. The museum carries out systematic work to preserve and restore the carriages, many of which have reacquired their original appearance.