Spaso House- Residence of teh US Ambassador to Russia prt1 (9 photos)

Started Mar 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
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GAREB Veteran Member • Posts: 3,662
Spaso House- Residence of teh US Ambassador to Russia prt1 (9 photos)

I went to a town-hall meeting of US citizens at the US ambassador's residence in Moscow. Very nice, after paying taxes for so many years, it was nice to have a free snack and a couple of beers on Uncle Sam. But I can not figure out what settings to use to keep bright lights from blowing out. On my Panasonic FZ-50 and Fuji S5500, I could focus one a certain area and recompose and get perfect exposure, but the SX220 HS will not let me do that, kind of a pain in the backside.

Spaso House has been the residence of American ambassadors in Moscow since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the former Soviet Union in 1933.

The area surrounding Spaso House was inhabited in the 17th century by the Tsar's dog-keepers and falconers. Spaso House and the square on which it is located are named for the handsome Russian Orthodox Church situated on one side. Erected in 1711, the Church of Salvation on the Sands (Tserkov' Spasa-na-Peskakh) was depicted in the 1870s by the artist V.D. Polenov in a painting entitled "A Small Moscow Courtyard" (Moskovskiy Dvorik), which now hangs in Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery. This is one of Moscow's most loveliest churches in my opinion.

Designed by architects Adamovich and Mayat, Spaso House was completed in 1914 for Nikolay Aleksandrovich Vtorov, a wealthy merchant and manufacturer. It was built in the New Empire Style during a period that favored ostentation. The interior is built on an astonishing scale, with a main hall 82 feet long crowned by a soaring domed ceiling, from which an enormous chandelier hangs. This chandelier of Russian crystal is believed to be the work of the famous silversmith Mishakov and to be the largest house chandelier in Moscow.

Although not as vast as the ground floor, the living quarters are impressive for their spaciousness and attention to detail, such as beautifully molded ceilings, carved doors and handsome chandeliers. Other than the addition of a one-story ballroom wing in the 1930s, the mansion has not changed much in appearance.

The construction of Spaso House coincided with the end of one era and the beginning of another. Russia's involvement in World War I resulted in political and civil unrest that directly affected the life of Spaso House's master. There are many rumors surrounding Vtorov's fate. One account claims that he was shot in his office by a revolutionary in 1917. Another version states that Vtorov struck a deal with Kerensky's Provisional Government, ceding his mansion in return for permission to leave Russia. A third version claims that Vtorov was murdered by his own son in the front vestibule of Spaso House. Only the facts that Vtorov died in 1917 and that one of his two daughters was living in Paris in the early 1950s are certain.

Following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the newly formed Soviet government expropriated all of Moscow's mansions, including Spaso House, for official use. Soviet Foreign Minister Vyshinskiy mentioned during a Spaso House reception that his predecessor, Georgiy Vasiliyevich Chicherin, the Commissar for Foreign Affairs from 1918 to 1930, had lived at Spaso House for some time during the 1920s.

In recent years steps have been taken to restore Spaso House to its original 1914 splendor. Ambassador Thomas J. Watson arranged for the restoration of the exterior fanlight windows, destroyed during World War II, to glass of its original bright ultramarine blue color. In 1983, during Ambassador Arthur A. Hartman's tenure, an ambitious program to repaint the residence was undertaken to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and the Soviet Union. A recent redecoration in 1995 of the representational rooms and the ballroom has restored the interior to the New Empire Style.

A variety of distinguished American art has been exhibited in Spaso House over the years, a tradition now continued through the State Department's Art in Embassies Program. Under this program, paintings and sculptures are loaned to embassies around the world by museums and galleries, offering visitors to Spaso House an opportunity to become acquainted with the richness and variety of American art. The Art in Embassies Program was originated and developed by Mrs. Llewellyn E. Thompson (Jane) who was an amateur artist and lived at Spaso House. She founded the program knowing Spaso's vast white walls would always be friendlier hung with fine American art.

The Spaso House really is a nice place and I was glad to be able to go inside, have some good food and a couple of cold brews and listen to a bluegrass band. It really was a nice time.

walking up to the house after being checked by Russian and US security.

entrance hallway

main room of the palace

fruit juice, wine and beer, the choice was yours, butlers brought everything in on silver trays of you could go to the table and help yourself.

pretty good eating all around

more food

still more food

I'll have a Pivo please


Canon SX220 HS Nikon Coolpix S550
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