The search for a library that can surpass all the treasures of the Armory in value has become an obsession for many historians. It is hidden, according to legend, in the undergrounds of the Kremlin in a special cache. They tried to find it at different times, but the search did not yield anything. Today, not all experts are sure that it ever existed at all.
According to legend, the library, containing many folios and scrolls, was collected for centuries by the Byzantine emperors. She came to Russia as a dowry of the Byzantine princess Sophia Palaeologus, married to the Moscow prince Ivan III. The library, the best in those days, allegedly arrived in Moscow on 70 carts in 1472. Sophia, seeing the consequences of the fires that almost destroyed the city two years ago, immediately ordered the precious cargo to be hidden safely - in the basement under the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin in the Kremlin. This foresight really saved the library from the fire of 1473, which also affected the Kremlin.
According to the scant information that has come down to us, the library really was a real treasure. The collection consisted of handwritten books in Hebrew, Latin and Ancient Greek, some of which were kept in the Library of Alexandria. "History" by Titus Livy, "Aeneid" by Virgil, "Comedy" by Aristophanes, the works of Cicero and now completely unknown authors - Bethias, Heliotrope, Zamolei. It is possible that Ivan the Terrible, having received the library, in turn could replenish it with the books of the Kazan Khan - ancient Muslim manuscripts and the works of Arab scholars. There are suggestions that the no less legendary library of Yaroslav the Wise became part of the royal collection. How much such treasures could cost now is hard to even guess.
Interestingly, evidence of the existence of the library today has been preserved for the most part from foreigners. The first was Maxim the Greek, a learned monk from Athos. For about nine years, by order of Vasily III, he allegedly translated these books into Russian. in the "Legends of Maximus the Greek", in particular, it says: However, the authenticity of this part of the records among modern historians is in doubt.
The next translator of the library was the Protestant pastor Johann Wettermann from Dorpat, whom Ivan the Terrible invited in 1570 for this mission along with several other Livonian captives. His description of the wonderful meeting was preserved in the "Livonian Chronicle":. True, Wetterman did not work with the library for long. He managed to escape from Muscovy, and in his homeland, as one of the theories says, from memory he compiled a catalog of the manuscripts he saw in Russia. This list of 800 items "surfaced" only in 1834, it was found among unpublished papers in the archives of the Estonian city of Pärnu. However, the question of whether he can be trusted is another big historical mystery.
The library itself has sunk into obscurity at the end of the 16th century and from about the same time, with interruptions, they are looking for a unique treasure: in 1601 - the Jesuits on the instructions of the Vatican; in 1724 - at the direction of the Russian Senate (this was the first official search for Libereya); at the end of the 19th century, searches were carried out by the director of the Historical Museum, Prince N. S. Shcherbatov, although by that time not everyone believed that the mysterious collection had ever existed at all. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the search area has expanded, they are now looking in Kolomenskoye, Alexandrov, Vologda and many other places where the library could be hidden. In 1933-1934, they dug at the base of the Kremlin's Arsenal Tower, and discovered, by the way, a white-stone underground passage from the corner Arsenal Tower to the Arsenal. In 1995-1999 they were looking again, already with the assistance of the Moscow mayor's office and individual businessmen. Then the search stopped.
Today there are more than sixty versions about where the library went and from whom it was hidden: from the fires, from the Poles, it was simply forgotten, etc. However, according to the most common version, it still lies in one of the secret rooms of the Kremlin basements, waiting for the lucky treasure hunters. In literature and cinematography, the search for mysterious Liberia is a common and very exciting topic. On its basis, many adventure and fantastic stories have been created.