The Mongolian invasion of Rus' and struggle of Russian people against invaders. 1237–1240
At the beginning of the 13th century the hordes of nomads rolled through Asia and Eastern Europe like a flood, like a hurricane sweeping away everything at their path. Their homeland was Central Asia. Numerous tribes of nomadic cattle breeders formed a powerful military state. Temujin, the leader of the Mongols, became the head of that new Union. In 1206, at the Congress of tribes (Kurultai), he was proclaimed Supreme ruler of all Mongol tribes and was given the name of Genghis Khan – the Great Khan. Tens of thousands of warriors marched at his order to conquest and throw to their feet powerful states and flourishing cities.
After the conquest of Siberia, the defeat of China and the ancient States of Central Asia and Northern Iran with the richest cities – centers of crafts and trade – the Mongols approached the Northern Caucasus and intruded the Polovtsian steppes. Having crushed and subjugated part of the Polovtsian, the Mongols began to move to the Russian lands. "There came the people unknown; arrived countless unheard of host, godless Tatars, no one knows well who they are and where they came from, and what their language is, and of what genus they are, and what their faith is..."– wrote the old Russian chronicler. The first Mongol campaign in the steppes of Eastern Europe was simply a reconnaissance and only in 1237 the Mongolian army led by the grandson of Genghis Khan Batu appeared near the borders of Rus.
The first fell Ryazan after a six-day siege. "...and from there the Tatars scattered throughout the land of Vladimir, some went to Rostov, others chased the Grand Duke to Yaroslavl and Gorodets, and captured all the cities on the Volga up to Galich Mersky; and others went to Yuriev, and to Pereyaslavl, and to Dmitrov, and took these cities; and others went, and took Tver. And all the cities in the Rostov and Suzdal land in one month of February, and there is no place up to Torzhok, wherever they wouldn’t be." By 1240, under the blows of the invaders fell almost all old Russian principalities, survived only Novgorod and Pskov lands.
Almost at the same time with the Mongol invasion, the old Russian principalities faced a threat from the West. In the summer of 1240 the troops of the Swedes and the German knights-crusaders advanced on Pskov and Novgorod. However, the claims of the conquerors were stopped by the Novgorod militia and Drouzhina (the Squad) of Prince Alexander Yaroslavich in the famous battle at the Neva River (July 15, 1240) and the ice battle (April 5, 1242).
Batu's campaigns to the Russian lands in 1237–1241 did not result in the immediate establishment of the yoke. But in the summer of 1242, returning from the shores of the "last", the Adriatic Sea, the Mongols formed a new state within the Mongolian Empire – The Golden Horde. It covered a huge territory, including the lands of the Volga Bulgarians, Polovtsians, Crimea, Caucasus, Western Siberia, the Urals and Khorezm. Ambassadors were sent to the old Russian lands, who demanded that the Princes must come to Batu with the expression of obedience. So, in 1242 the Mongolian yoke began. Russia was on the threshold of a new historical stage.
We can only assume the initial design of the hall, created in 1894–1902, by the painting of the dome and the patterns of the mosaic floor. The hall was decorated with replicas of monuments of Rostov and Yaroslavl Principality of 16th–17th centuries. The Assumption Cathedral and the Rostov Kremlin churches served as models for it as well as ceramic friezes of the Palace of Tsarevich Dmitry in Uglich. The floral ornament of the vault copied the painting of 1675 of the Church of the Saviour on the Porch – the house Church of Metropolitan of Rostov and Yaroslavl.
The interior of the hall was badly damaged during the reconstruction of 1937. The hall was decorated in the style of medieval Muslim architecture only in 1950, when it housed an exposition dedicated to the Golden Horde. Since then it retains the ornaments of the cornices and portals.