Craft and trade in the 16th – 17th centuries
The improvement of peasant’s and urban crafts, the increase in number of craft professions, area specialization and growth of small–scale production became characteristic features of economic development of Russia in the XVI–XVII centuries.
At the end of the XV–XVI centuries in leading handicraft industries appeared large manufactories that belonged to the Treasury: The Gun and the Printing yards and the Armoury chamber. One of the first centralized manufactories was the Mint. In the XVII century, in addition to state-run appeared private enterprises. A large role in this process was played by merchants’ capital. The merchants raised funds to launch rope yards, iron works and arms factories, textile, paper-making and glass-blowing companies. Some of the factories were also owned by representatives of the nobility and rich craftsmen. By the end of the century there were around 60 manufactories operational in Russia.
Development of craft production and its regional specialisation had become the basis for raise of the commercial importance of the cities. A special role in strengthening of ties between local markets had been played by Sukhono-Dvina, Volga and Siberian trade routes. Extensive exchange of goods and money facilitated economic consolidation of regions of the country. Since XVII century trade bonds started breaking the boundaries of regional markets, began to acquire characteristics of the all-Russia market ties. The Moscow as the largest and the richest city of the Russian state had become a center of the common market.
In the cities, among the richest people of Posad (regularly Trade and Commercial part of the city) formed a privileged trade Corporation: "Gosti" (guests) - the richest merchants and industrialists," guest" and "cloth" hundreds. Exemption from taxes and number of duties distinguished them from the average trading community. The title of "Gost’" (guest) had been granted personally for certain services to sovereign and provided considerable privileges, fixed in chapters of “the Charters "to the Guests’ name." With the expansion of the domestic and international markets appeared a new type of merchants in Russia – large entrepreneurs who carry out trade operations with the help of their representatives – Clerks.
In the XVI–XVII centuries Russia step by step gets involved in the system of world economic relations, acting as an exporter of raw materials, food and industrial products.
Initially the design of the hall was developed in the mid-1880s by the architect Alexander P.Popov and was approved by the Scientific Commission headed by Count Aleksey S.Uvarov. The project had chosen a mosaic floor pattern of dark red, white and gray hexagons, repeating the mosaic of floors of the temples of Byzantium. The art decoration of the hall was completed in 1937 by the architect Andrey K.Burov.
The hall is decorated after white stone carvings from the Terem Palace of the Moscow Kremlin, built in 1635–1636 by Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich. The complex floral ornament of the portals of the hall repeats the framing of the entrances to the Tsar’s (Royal) Chambers; carved decorative shields copy cartouches from the Prayer Chamber of the Terem Palace. In the 1950s, when the exposition was changed, the cartouches were demolished, but in the 1990s, the restorers were able to restore the lost elements.