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The Lost Library of Ivan the Terrible (part 1)

15.October 2012

 

The territory of Kolomenskoye was once the residence of the Russian princes and tsars where you can admire some old buildings and churches dating back from the XV-XVI centuries. The most famous church on the territory is церковь Вознесения (the church of the Assumption), an amazing snow-white church over looking the Moskva river построенная при Василии III (built under Vasily III) to commemorate the birth of his son, the future Tsar Ivan the Terrible.

 

 

Ivan IV, better known as Иван Грозный (Ivan the Terrible) was the ruler of Russia. Famous for his rages and for the persecution and execution of thousand of people, Ivan was also весьма образованный человек (a highly educated man), and a true библиофил (bibliophil). He possessed a real treasure in the largest library that could be found in Russia at that time. Some of the books came from his grandfather, Ivan III, and others, he gathered during his reign when conquering new territories.

Among his rich collection were works of ancient authors (Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero …), precious manuscripts in Arabic, and хотя и позиционировал себя как оплот христианства (though he presented himself has a bastion of Christianity), he was very fond of magic and had an interesting collection of sorcery books.

 

 

Actually, a legend pretends that Ivan put a curse on his literary treasure. And the fact that библиотека эта канула в небытие (his library has sunk into oblivion) after his death seems to give reason to the legend. It is also said that by the power of the curse, those who would see his treasure without any right, would get blind.

And indeed, A. Ivanov, a servant in the Kremlin tried to find the library in the early XX century. He examined the dungeon, and in one of the room, he discovered some skeletons chained to a wall. Видимо, близко подобрался он к книгохранилищу (apparently, he was close to the library), because his vision became weaker until he got completely blind. Но самих книг он так и не видел (but he never even had a glimpse at the books themselves).

Many others had the desire to find the library of Ivan the Terrible, but none of them have been lucky enough to do so. Among the alleged place of its location are кремлёвские подземелья (the dungeons of the Kremlin) and подвалы собора в Александровской слободе (some underground chambers in the church of the village of Alexandrovsky), that the Tsar used as is own residence and where he stored his treasures and values; and some secret tunnels of Kolomenskoye.

You can read the second part of this article.

 

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