The most luxurious residential building in the history of Nizhny Novgorod. The mansion is styled after the Italian palazzo. The house is shrouded in legends, which can be learned during the tour around the mansion. One of the legends has it that once they even saw a ghost in the house…
Originally a two- storey brick mansion on the Verkhne-Volzhskaya embankment belonged to Serapion Vezlomtsev, a merchant of the first-grade guild. In the 1840s Vezlomtsev failed to pay the entire sum of his debt and the mansion fell into the hands of M. Rukavishnikov, the owner of the first in Nizhny Novgorod steel foundry and great usurer. His heir Sergei Rukavishnikov preferred to have the house turned into a majestic complex in the style of Italian palazzo on Verkhne-Volzhskaya embankment. He invited P.S. Boitsov, an architect from Moscow and M.O. Mikeshin, an artist from St. Petersburg, famous in finishing facades with rich d?coration. A decision was made to reconstruct the old house remaining the supporting walls, to which two wings - western and eastern, were attached. In addition to the old structure the third storey was built on. From the southern side a marble entrance staircase was built to the main banquet hall with two tiers of windows. The walls and ceilings of the hall are characterized with rich modeled decoration and painting. The mansion's interiors feature splendour, high quality of finishing and artistic parquet floors. The facades of the house are abundant in stucco mouldings, the main elements being sculptures, germs, masks, parapets with a mounted row of balusters. Caryatides, statues of female figures, occupy window piers. Atlases are used as a supporting pillar for the balcony on the second -floor level. All of them were executed according to M. Mikeshin's sketches and call forth associations with a baroque Italian palazzo.
The mansion communicates with a two-storey brick outhouse by a covered gallery on the second-floor level. The outhouse is distinguished for its simplicity, balance and characterized by restrained use of decoration.
The inner courtyard with a verandah and a fountain is a cozy place for rest.
Since 1924 the former Rukavishnikov's mansion on the Verkhne-Volzhskaya embankment has housed the Museum of Local Lore, now the Nizhny Novgorod State History and Architecture Museum-Preserve. It was where many generations of visitors could find a permanent display devoted entirely to the history of the city of Nizhny Novgorod and learn fascinating facts about Russian and foreign cultural heritage.
For more than a century the Museum has acquired miscellaneous and copious collection, numbering over 320.000 objects. The exhibits came to the Museum from various regions of a vast territory. Among them are unique works of Russian and West-European culture, transferred to the Museum from Nizhny Novgorod nobility, such as the Abamelek-Lazarevys, the Sheremetyevs, also from merchant families, such as the Burmistrovs, the Sirotkins. Further significant additions to the Museum came as a result of private contributions, including those of A. Karelin, the well-known local photographer. The collections were formed from numerous donations, purchases and material obtained from the museum's own expeditions. In the 1920s and 1930s numerous collections from museums that had been reorganized or closed down were transferred here from the State Fund.
Since 1994 the Rukavishnikov's mansion - masterpiece of the 19th-century Russian eclectic style architecture - had been undergoing reconstruction. In the fall of 2010 the works were finished. Now the Museum, restored to its original glory is opened wide in welcome to all.