Building with a rich history: insightful facts about Hotel National

December 26, 2019

Experts have made a list of elements that form the unique appearance of National, one of the oldest hotels in Moscow. Among them are 3D compositions, roofing, architectural and artistic design of facades and much more. The document has been approved by the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department.

'The building saw its first restoration in the early 1930s. To retain the fashionable hotel status, the rooms had been furnished with items confiscated from palaces and mansions of noblemen a decade earlier. Later in 1960, the building was taken under state protection. In the mid-1990s, there was a big overhaul to reveal a plenty of its original decor and finishing details. These findings allowed to compile a detailed list of all specific elements of this cultural heritage site, a basis for the National's state protection,' said Head of the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department Alexei Yemelyanov.

Majolica panels with industrial scenes of the 1930s, as well as four 'Seasons' majolica panels are under state protection now. Supposedly, the last works were made between 1901 and 1903 in Abramtsevo workshops by ceramists Sergei Chekhonin and Alexander Golovin after Pavel Kuznetsov's drawings.

Besides, the entrance arch openwork gates, the front entrance's canopy with a medallion, the side figured consoles with griffin heads, the second floor window bar framing over the canopy, the balconies and the roof fencing are listed as protected now, too. The list also includes the front surface finishing materials of 1903. Among them are the base's facing with granite plates, the front entrance's decor, coloured plaster, facing brick, pylons, columns, stairs and inter-level steps.

The main entrance lobby, the grand staircase's stairwells and individual elements of the historical hotel rooms have been given a special status. Besides, decorative finishing, ceiling and wall paintings of Suzdal and Kostroma banquet halls (made in the 1970s), stained glass windows, fireplaces and lighting fixtures of the early 20th century have been listed, too. Moreover, an inventory of antiques is added as a separate annex to the list. They are publicly registered and managed by the building's owner.

From the moment of the protected list's approval, any repair or restoration activities must take into account all the valuable elements.

Cultural heritage site

Hotel National was built to replace a revenue house upon the initiative of the Board of Varvarinsky Joint-Stock Company of houseowners. Architect Alexander Ivanov had designed and supervised construction of this six-storey building. The grand opening took place in 1902. In 1903, the building welcomed its first guests.

Initially, the hotel was called Natsionalnaya. There were a plenty of mouldings with Art Nouveau elements on the facades with luxurious furniture and decor in 160 rooms. Rich merchants, major industrialists and foreign diplomats were among the hotel's guests. Feodor Chaliapin, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Ivan Bunin resided at the hotel at various times.

In 1918, the hotel was nationalised and transformed into the 1st House of Soviets. After Moscow became the Russian capital once again, members of the Soviet government settled in the hotel rooms, with Felix Dzerzhinsky, Yakov Sverdlov, Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin among them.

Today, the Hotel National building is a cultural heritage site of federal significance. Since 1960, it has been under state protection.

Building with a rich history: items included in the Hotel National's protected list


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