January 24, 2022

Terem (from the Greek τέρεμνον, τέραμνον “house, dwelling”) is a residential upper tier of ancient Russian choirs or chambers, located above the upper room and basement. It could be placed separately from the main body of the house, on the basement, above the gate, etc., connected to it by a passage - a covered passage. Until the 18th century, the names attic or tower were also used.


The word "terem" comes from the Greek. τέρεμνον, τέραμνον ("teremnon"), which means "house, dwelling". The connection with the Kypchak tärmä "women's peace", the Mongolian terme, the Kalmyk termǝ "wall, grating of the wall" is curious. In Russia, the word acquired a double meaning: "prison" and "terem". The concept of "women's tower" originally meant the female half of the house, which served both to protect women from the unbridled behavior of men in the family, and to isolate the morally unstable representatives of the weaker sex from the outside world. Early researchers of the 19th century mistakenly believed that the word "terem" was associated with the Arabic "harem", which came as an Eastern practice of separating women. Until the 19th century, historians preferred to use the word "chambers", but later it changed to "terem", where the heroine of a fairy tale usually waited for her liberator. This influenced the synonymy of the tower with the place of isolation of highborn women. In the Terem Palace of Moscow, built in 1635-1636 by order of Mikhail Fedorovich, there were towers, but they were inhabited not only by women. The term "terem" is sometimes used as a synonym for the chambers or the chorus as a whole, for example, when it comes to the princely dwellings of pre-Mongol Russia.


In the towers, red windows were arranged in all the walls. Turrets were attached to the towers - watchmen. Amusements were arranged around the towers - parapets and balconies, fenced with railings or bars. On stone chambers, the tower could be both stone and wooden.

Tower in art

Terem is repeatedly mentioned in Russian fairy tales. Teremok (fairy tale) Teremok (opera) Teremok (cartoon, 1937) Teremok (cartoon, 1945) Terem-Teremok (cartoon, 1971) Teremok (cartoon, 1995) Teremok (Puppet Theatre, Saratov) Teremok (Puppet Theatre, Vologda) The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Bogatyrs (A. S. Pushkin)

See Also

Russian traditional dwelling Terem Palace Towers (micro

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