Armory Palace

The Armory Palace museum contains the personal possessions and treasures of the Czars. This includes armor, silverware, carriages, clothing, and some paintings. This is one of the places not to be missed when visiting Moscow.

Almazny Fond (Diamond Fund)

Though a bit pricey--I have a fuzzy recollection that I paid $50 in rubles for two tickets—this place was one of the real pleasant surprises of the trip. In two small rooms, it contains much of the best of the Czar’s jewelry collection. As one to whom the esthetic appeal of precious jewelry usually borders on indifference, this is an astonishingly beautiful collection, absolutely dazzling, far better than the Tower of London. The designs are consistently elegant, even graceful when you consider the number of jewels in most of the pieces. If this collection were to ever tour the US—almost unimaginable considering its monetary and sentimental value--it would cause a sensation.

In a somewhat bizarre juxtaposition, the ring of display cabinets in the center of the main room contains all raw nuggets of gold and platinum. Probably none weighs less than 30 pounds and the largest must be several hundred pounds. In contrast to the elegant jewelry, the thought of giant turds comes immediately to mind.

The Kremlin