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The English House

The English House provides an interesting little glimpse of the life of an imprisoned Brit in Ivan the Terrible's court. In the middle of the sixteenth century, Ivan gave the house to English representatives of the Muscovy Company, a private trading consotium similar to the East India Company. The envoys hoped to win for England a share in the increasingly lucrative fur trade. Ivan's diplomatic interests, however, centered on the possibility of marrying Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen." When the Tsar learned that Elizabeth wasn't exactly jumping at this idea, he became (surprise) rather upset. In order to express his frustrations, Ivan confined the queen's ambassador to English House for four months. Although the house is currently undergoing restoration, even those sections that are still open give visitors a sense of the life of a foreigner in Moscow four hundred years ago.


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