Decembrists lived here: what is unique about the house of the Muravyev-Apostols

August 8

The Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow has approved the site of protection for the house of the Muravyev-Apostols. This is the main building of the manor of the nobility, built in the classicism style. The house in the Staraya Basmannaya Street (house 23/9, building 1) is a cultural heritage site of federal significance.

On its facade, you can see a portico with six majestic columns, an elegant semi-rotunda and bas-reliefs. Now any work in the house can only be carried out in accordance with the approved site of protection.

“The house of the Muravyev-Apostol is an elegant monument that adorns the Staraya Basmannaya Street. Built in the middle of the 18th century in the classicism style, it survived the fire of 1812. And this is despite the fact that its walls and ceilings are wooden. In 2012, a comprehensive restoration was completed here and the building opened its doors to residents and guests of the capital. The Department of Cultural Heritage of Moscow has approved the site of protection for this ancient house. Experts included in it the most valuable and unique decoration details and elements, in particular marble columns, stucco bas-reliefs, ceiling cornices and rosettes, glazed tiled stoves,” told Alexei Yemelyanov, Head of the Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage. 

The site of protection included the location and urban planning characteristics of the building, its role in the compositional and planning structure of the quarter and the premises. The layout and composition were recognized as valuable: two floors with a mezzanine, the portico on the main facade, the semi-rotunda at the western end, the entrance in the semicircular niche from the side facade, as well as the cornices and the roof of the 19th century with the chimneys and dormer windows. The specialists included the architectural and artistic appearance of the facades into the site of protection and specifically the color and the shape of the facades, arrangement of windows and doors, stucco decoration and cornices.

Besides, the list of especially valuable elements was completed with the interior decoration of the house: inlaid plated parquet, wall decoration, marble columns, stucco bas-reliefs and dessus de porte (decorative compositions above the doors), stucco ceiling cornices and rosettes of the 19th century.

The structure of the building with its solid walls and ceilings, including vaulted ones, and with the stairs, was recognized as especially valuable.

The house has an interesting history. By the time Moscow was recovering from the French invasion, the manor house had changed several owners. In 1815, the family of Senator Ivan Matveevich Muravyev-Apostol purchased it. The senator's three sons — Ippolit, Sergey, and Matvey — were the key participants in the Decembrist uprising on the Senate Square in 1825. Their fates were tragic.

Since 1844, the manor house was used for a children's shelter, after the revolution of 1917 — for a school, communal apartments and a hostel, and in 1986, the Museum of the Decembrists was opened here.

In 1991, the exposition stopped its activity because the manor house was in disrepair. No trace of the former magnificence remained. Muscovites walking past saw the facade with peeling paint, sagging window frames, holes and cracks on the roof and walls.

The encourager for the restoration of the former splendor of the house became a descendant of one of the manor house former owners — Christopher Muravyev-Apostol. In 1991, he came to Russia from Switzerland and, seeing the deplorable state of the house of his ancestors, decided to restore the mansion. For this, Christopher Muravyev-Apostol rented the building from the city and began works at his own expense.

The restoration which began in 2001 was based on the historical appearance of the manor house of the early 19th century. Gradually, the facades and interiors of the house regained their former luster, and by 2012, the work was completed. A year later, the building became a laureate of the “Moscow Restoration” competition.

Today, the manor house hosts guided tours, exhibitions, and newlyweds play weddings here.



If you continue to use our website, you are agreeing to accept the use of cookies on your device. Cookie files ensure the website’s efficiency and help us provide you with the most interesting and relevant information. Read more about cookie files.
Accept ccokies