Front Gate (Izmailovo)

The gala Front Gate is located opposite the western entrance to the Intercession Cathedral. In front of the gate there used to be Streltsy guard-house tents standing on stone columns, covered with wooden planks and decorated with painted balusters. The tents were built in 1682-1683, at the same time as the stone wall and service houses that could be found along the perimeter of the Tsar’s Courtyard.

The Front Gate is a brick structure, rectangular in plan, with a three-passage driveway and white stone decorations. One-storeyed stone houses (former living and administrative premises of the alms-house officials) link on to the gate from the north and the south. The style of the gate is inspired by that ofMoscow(or Naryshkin) Baroque which is notable for a great amount of decorations and façade stucco works. The composition of the building is a massive tetragon prolonged from the north to the south with an octagon above it and a surmounting eight-hip tented roof.

The main eastern façade has a symmetrical composition emphasized by a central driveway that is higher and wider than the others. Thus, we can see that the architect diverged from the traditional two-arch gate form, with a bigger arch for driving and a smaller one for passing. Such elements as two pairs of smooth columns protruding from the wall for three quarters, an archivolt of the central arch as well as its construction according to the symmetry axis of the tented octagon emphasize the importance of the central driveway.

An icon case with baroque decorative framing has been preserved over the archivolt of the main arch; similar icon cases are located over the two smaller passages. One can see two round windows symmetrically built over the central icon case. In the XVII – XVIII centuries, a clock was located there. The wall surface above is decorated with an archivolt profiled in great detail. Over the tetragon there is a balustrade with a cornice standing on a high parapet. The centre of the composition is the octagon surmounted with a tented roof. On its facets there are arch lintel windows decorated with simple mouldings and pediments.

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