Ceremonial building

The Embassy of the Russian Federation is rightfully considered to be one of the biggest and the most beautiful in Washington DC. Land area “Mount Alto” on Wisconsin avenue, where the Embassy complex is located, was leased to the Soviet government for 85 years on the basis of the agreement between the USSR and the US, concluded in 1969. Under the agreement of 1972 the territory in Moscow of the same area as well as on the same conditions was conveyed for the building of a new Embassy. The second agreement also provided that the sides should simultaneously put both buildings into use.

“Mount alto” is among the three tallest hills in Washington (107 meters above the sea level) with the view on the Capitol, the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department. Earlier hospital for the veterans was located in this place.

The complex of the Embassy was designed by a well-known Soviet architect M.Posokhin, the developer of the State Kremlin palace and a number of other monumental constructions in the capital. The building of the apartment house, school, kindergarten and sport units was completed in 1979. Administrative and ceremonial buildings were finished in 1985. The total cost of construction work reached 62 million dollars. However, due to the mutual recriminations in the eavesdropping equipment installation in the buildings neither Russia nor the US could begin the operation of the new embassies for several years.

In September 1994 during his US visit Russian president B.Eltsin together with B. Clinton held a ceremony of the inauguration of the new representative building of the Russian Embassy (its total area is 6,3 thousand square meters). Accommodations serve for holding protocol events, receptions, conferences and press conferences, seminars, concerts and working meetings. All basic materials, used in the building, have Russian origin. Only some furniture articles and lighting fixtures is the work of foreign masters. White Russian marble, which prevails in the finishing, shade dark Italian and Greek types, which imparts special solemnity to the building.

In the vestibule guests can get acquainted with the list of the ambassadors of the Russian Empire to the US since 1807 through 1917, and also see the portraits of the diplomatic mission chiefs of the USSR and the Russian Federation to the US since 1933 through 1998. To the right of the entrance there is a portrait of the President of the Russian Federation V.Putin.

Two small rooms on the first floor serve for the working meetings of diplomats. Northern hall pays tribute to history and cultural heritage of Belorussia. The basic decorative element of the room is the gobelin by V.Tkachev (1988), on which a girl in the national suit holds bread and salt in the hands - symbols of the hospitality of the Slavic peoples. Interior is decorated in a restrained and refined manner at a time. It is organically supplemented with the graphics which show the variety and beauty of nature of the two countries.

More spacious adjacent southern hall is dedicated to Ukraine. Therefore there prevail yellow and blue colors. There are gobelins - image of fairy tales character of Russian and Ukraine about the firebird and the grey-chestnut horse on the wall.

The corridor leading to the vestibule, which face the doors of both rooms, is decorated with the work of the artist of Dmitriy V.Merinov (1896-1971) - one of the founders of the Russian advance guard, who emigrated to France in 1920, and in 1947 - to the US.

Splendid marble stairs leads guests to the second floor - into the most beautiful and most elegant part of the building. The pediment of the vestibule is decorated with anel-triptych by the honored Russian artist S.Aleksandrov (2005). Its center section “The symbols of the Russian State” unites four main elements, which is linked in the mind of any Russian with the notion of Motherland: the state emblem, the national flag, the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation - Senate palace of the Moscow Kremlin and Spaskaya tower.

The side elements of the triptych tell the history of Russia in orders and banners. Panel “Banners and flags of Russia” are adorned according to the principle of chronology. The spectator can trace the evolution of Russian heraldic tradition - from the earliest copies (banner of the times of Kulikovo battle, 1380) through the contemporary standards of the Russian President and Defense Minister.

The panel “Orders and medals of Russia illustrates the development of Russian rewards system - from the oldest order of Andrey Pervozvanny (Andrew the First Called) founded by Peter the Great in 1699 and restored in 1998 by President's Decree, to the modern Russia new rewards (the order “For the services to the Fatherland”, the order “For the military services”, the order of Honor and others).

The big ballroom, also known as “The golden hall”, logically occupies the central place in the architectural ensemble. It is used for big receptions and concerts. Two lateral walls are covered with the enamel painting, technology is very labor-consuming - the cost of operation on each square centimeter is evaluated at several hundred dollars. Enamel panels are decorated in the middle eighties by a group of artists headed a widely well-known Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli.

Composition on the left wall includes the images of the ancient Russian cities, many of which are located on the tourist route “Golden ring”. On the opposite wall there are contemporary sights of 15 former Soviet republic capitals. Moscow takes central place on both panels.

The perimeter of ceiling is adorned with the emblems of different subjects of the Russian Federation; the ornament in the form of traditional for Russia field grasses, cereals, fruits and berries. The personified images of four different professions - worker, peasant, artist and cosmonaut act as an echo of the Soviet tradition. It is remarkable, that Moscow and Saint Petersburg are located on the opposite edges of the ceiling. This symbolizes age-long rivalry between the historical and “northern” capitals.

Bohemian cut glass is used in the chandeliers and the numerous wall sconce, that imparts luxury and sublimity to the hall. General artistic ensemble supplements parquet floor with the incrustations from different types of tree.

In the distant by right to corner there is one of the most valuable exhibits of the Embassy - a gold decorated icon, the image of the holiest Mother of God of Kazan, blessed and given as a gift to the Embassy by His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Aleksy II.

Four small adjacent symmetrically located along the sides from the Golden hall are used in holding receptions as well. All together they may simultaneously host up to 2000 guests.

The Petrovskiy (Blue) hall is dedicated to the best-known Russian emperor - Peter I. One of his services consists of the creation of Russian fleet, of which symbolically reminds the marine color in the walls upholstery. It is remarkable, that the blue range is repeated in carpets and elements of chandeliers as well, which imparts perfection to interior.

The portrait of Peter, placed in the center of the opposite wall from the entrance, is a replica of an engraving by Dutch artist Jakob Houbraken 1718, who in turn copied the drawing, painted from nature by a German Carl by Moore in 1717 in the Hague. The reproduction is presented to the Embassy by Russian compatriots, who live in the US.

Next to Petrovskiy the Red hall is an ideal place for tea and coffee ceremonies, as well as lunches and small receptions. The pictures of Soviet and contemporary Russian artists constitute its main adornment. The work of Boris Yakovlev “Moscow, 1933” is a remarkable part of the decoration. On the fabric there is a destroyed section of the Moscow River bank, where the recreated Christ the Savior Cathedral is located at present.

The Kamenniy (Stone) hall is an imposing and at the same time comfortable accommodation, which is used for holding talks, seating receptions and small press conferences. The polished table made of the Russian carved oak with incrustations of Karelian birch, which repeatedly was used during important bilateral documents signing ceremonies occupies the central place in it. At this table the Presidents of Russia and USA B.Eltsin and B.Clinton were sitting in the course of the summit in September 1994 (the table was moved to the Golden hall then).

Besides a refined fireplace, which repeats the motives of tile fireplaces of the beginning of XVIII century, in the room there are two pictures of contemporary Russian artist Valerie Lashin “Moscow in the evening-1” and “Moscow in the evening-2” (1999). On the opposite walls there are two large gobelins from the Ivanovo city. Their location is not a surprise. The core of the artistic solution is in the contrast of architectural significance of more aristocratic European Russia (summer garden of Saint Petersburg) and primordial ancient Russian lands (Church of the Intercession on the river Nerl in the Vladimir region).

The Conference hall of the Embassy is equipped with contemporary video- and audio devices for simultaneous translation. Its capacity is 150 places and it is regularly used hosting Embassy events, conferences, seminars, meetings with students. Here, in particular, was held the Congress of Russian compatriots of America in April 2006.

Palekhskiy (Green) hall tributes to the ancient traditions of the Russian people. Painting was made with the use of egg tempera and gold in 1999 by the laureates of the State Prize of Russia, the artists of workshop “Paleshane” B. Kukuliev, S.Adeyanov and V.Bushkov. As the subjects the authors took ancient Russian bylines and tales (“The three heroes”, “Slacic dragon” “Oleg the Prothetic”). Mute environment of the room shades the white concert piano "Moskva", which played many well-known Russian and American pianists, including Van Cliburn. Palekhskiy hall enjoys special popularity among children, especially Russian, adopted by Americans, and is often used for receptions which they attend.

In the Yellow hall the works of now deceased sculptor of the Russian origin Peter Shapiro, who emigrated to the US are exhibited. Most known for the represented busts - portrait of academician Andrei Sakharov (1989). Other exhibits include the reduced copies from the original busts of Dmitriy Shostakovic (1973), of Ludwig van Beethoven (1960), and also portrait the husbands of sculptor (1994). It is remarkable, that the author called the last work “The Golden autumn”. The theme of the autumn is emphasized by the yellow tones of the room. By analogy with the Petrovskiy hall, the prevailing color (in this case yellow) is in the carpets and the chandeliers.

The Embassy is always open for the reception of guests. In addition to the protocol events, regularly tours are held for all those, who want to see with their eyes, how Russian diplomats live and work. Former and incumbent US presidents, high ranking American officials, foreign diplomats and common citizens noted the sublimity and the beauty of the Representative building of the Russian Embassy in Washington.