State History Museum


At the northern end of Red Square, the State History Museum has an enormous collection covering Russian history from the time of the Stone Age. The building, dating from the late 19th century and designed in the Russian revivalist style, is itself an attraction – each room is in the style of a different period or region, some with highly decorated walls echoing old Russian churches.

The exhibits about medieval Rus are excellent, with several rooms covering the Mongol invasions and the consolidation of the Russian state. The 2nd floor is dedicated to the Imperial period, with exhibits featuring personal items of the royals, furnishings and decoration from the palace interiors, and various artworks and documents from the era. Specific rooms are dedicated to the rules of various tsars. An unexpected highlight is an exhibit addressing the expansion of the Russian Empire by examining the growing network of roads and how people travelled.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Moscow attractions

1. Resurrection Gate

0.03 MILES

At the northwestern corner of Red Square, Resurrection Gate provides a great vantage point for your first glimpse of the square. With its twin red towers…

2. Kazan Cathedral

0.05 MILES

The little church occupying this site is a 1993 replica of the original 17th-century beauty, which was built in thanks for the 1612 expulsion of Polish…

3. Georgy Zhukov Statue

0.06 MILES

Georgy Zhukov was Chief of Staff of the Red Army during the Great Patriotic War. He oversaw the defence of both Leningrad and Stalingrad, as well as the…

4. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

0.07 MILES

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier contains the remains of one soldier who died in December 1941 at Km41 of Leningradskoe sh – the nearest the Nazis came to…

5. War of 1812 Museum

0.08 MILES

Part Russian Revival, part neo-Renaissance, this red-brick beauty was built in the 1890s as the Moscow City Hall and later served as the Central Lenin…

6. Archaeological Museum

0.08 MILES

An excavation of Voskresensky Bridge (which used to span the Neglinnaya River at the foot of Tverskaya ul) uncovered coins, clothing and other artefacts…

7. Arsenal

0.12 MILES

The 18th-century Arsenal was commissioned by Peter the Great to house workshops and depots for guns and weaponry. An unrealised plan at the end of the…

8. Lenin's Mausoleum

0.14 MILES

Although Vladimir Ilych requested that he be buried beside his mum in St Petersburg, he still lies in state at the foot of the Kremlin wall, receiving…