The oldest buildings in Russia
The most ancient buildings erected by man are undoubtedly megalithic structures (menhirs, dolmens, and cromlechs). Most famous of all is the British Stonehenge, but a considerable number of similar structures have been preserved on the territory of Russia. It is impossible to choose the oldest of them, because the chronological framework is too wide, and there are no exact dates. The most famous are the dolmens of the Kuban and the Caucasus, created in 3-2 millennia BC. But they can be found in Northern Russia (for example, on Solovki), and in Siberia.
The oldest buildings in Russia: the oldest Christian churches
The oldest churches in Russia were built in the Byzantine era, before the Great Split of Christianity into Orthodoxy and Catholicism in 1054. They are located in the Black Sea basin, the ruler of which was Byzantium. The first of them is the Crimean church of John the Baptist in Kerch-the ancient city of Panticapaeum, founded in the VII century BC, later-the Byzantine possession. This temple, built by the Byzantines, stood at least as early as 757 AD.
St. John the Baptist Church in Kerch
The temples of the Alan state, which converted to Christianity in 916 (now Karachay — Cherkessia), are younger and more provincial in terms of architecture. These are the Shoaninsky Temple (1st half of the X century), the Sentinsky Temple (967) and three Zelenchuk temples — St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (916-925), Elijah the Prophet (X century) and the Life-Giving Trinity (X century). They are included in the Karachay-Cherkess Museum-Reserve.
The oldest Islamic buildings
In the same southern regions, the oldest Islamic religious building also rises. The Juma Mosque stands in Derbent, an important fortress of the Armenian Emirate of the Arab Caliphate (modern Dagestan). It was built in 733-734.
Islamic architects built other types of buildings, but due to poor preservation, researchers sometimes wonder what they were intended for. Such is the mausoleum of Tura Khan, which may not have been a tomb,but a courtroom. It was built in the XIV–XV centuries (and maybe in the XII century) near the village of Chishmy in Bashkortostan. Near the city of Bolgar in Tatarstan is the historical and archaeological complex “Bulgar” – the former city of the Bulgar ulus of the Golden Horde. On its territory there are many attractions, including the mysterious Black Chamber (XIV century): either a mausoleum, or a place of rest for dervishes. Other Bulgar buildings are also attributed to that era.
The oldest Old Russian church
The most ancient temples of Ancient Russia remained on the lands of Ukraine and Belarus. Thus, the oldest church of this medieval state on the territory of modern Russia was the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Novgorod, founded in 1045 and completed five years later.
But the oldest church in Moscow belongs to the post-Mongol time — this is the Spassky Cathedral of the Spaso-Andronikov Monastery (1420-1425), now the Andrei Rublev Museum.
In St. Petersburg, the oldest church is the Peter and Paul Cathedral, built in stone in 1712.
The oldest Catholic Church
The oldest Catholic cathedral on the territory of the Russian Federation is probably the Gothic Juditten Church, built in 1288 in East Prussian Konigsberg (modern Kaliningrad). It is also most likely the oldest Lutheran church, since it, like other Catholic churches in those lands, was taken over by Protestants in the XVI century. Today, the Orthodox community is located within its walls, and the building is named after St. Nicholas Church.
The oldest defensive structures
The oldest fortress building, perhaps — is the Crimean Tower of Zeno in ancient Chersonesos, which began to be built in the II century BC. e. during the struggle of this polis with the Scythians. It has been rebuilt many times, most recently in the tenth century. Although today the tower is almost a ruin, but its power still makes an impression.
In the same X century, another fortress tower was erected in Volga Bulgaria (now Tatarstan), which can be seen in the Devil’s Hillfort (Elabuga Museum-Reserve). Its modern appearance is the result of reconstruction; the original masonry has been preserved only on one side.
And in the north of the country there are fortresses laid down by eternal enemies-the Novgorodians, the Livonian knights and the Swedish military. These are the stone Novgorod detinets (1333), Pskov “Persi” Krom (1393), Kopor Fortress (1237) and Vyborg Castle (1293).
Of course, the remaining secular buildings are much younger than the religious buildings, because they were less often built of stone and less protected. However, the palace (chambers) of Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky in the Vladimir region, built around 1158, has been partially preserved. It survived only due to the fact that it was included in the structure of its buildings Bogolyubsky Monastery of the Nativity of the Virgin.
Of the remaining completely civil buildings of Russia, we note the Vladychnaya Chamber (also called the Granovita) in Novgorod — the archbishop’s palace, founded in 1433. Now it is part of the Novgorod Museum-Reserve.
The oldest museums
The more famous Grand Ducal Faceted Chamber, located in the Moscow Kremlin — is younger, it was built in 1487-1491. And here is an example of a residential building not for princes and bishops, but simpler — the Old English Courtyard (that is, the embassy) in Moscow’s Zaryadye, which was also built in the XV century. Now it is a branch of the Museum of Moscow.
The oldest house in St. Petersburg is the wooden House of Peter I (1703), which belongs to the Russian Museum.
The most ancient residential building (and still residential) is located in Vyborg. It is called the “Citizen’s House” and was built in 1583, during the Swedish rule. Under them, in the XIV century, the oldest civil building of the city was erected — the House of the Merchant Guild.