At the place that life has been proved to exist hundreds of years before Christ, right in the heart of Moscow, there's Kremlin. Kremlin which included several palaces, cathedrals, and buildings from far past was the host and residence of tsars, emperors, leaders of Soviet Russia and as of today, the President of Russia. Kremlin undoubtedly is the most critical spot in Moscow from all perspectives such as geographically, diplomatically, regionally, and even touristic as of today's Russian tourism policy. Kremlin which witnessed the brightest moments of the city to the most unfortunate times is now the best storyteller of Moscow's history for guests and visitants.
The triangle geometric form of Kremlin with 275000 m². the area is right in the middle of Moscow. It has a view of The Alexander Garden from the west, The Red Square from the east, and the Moskva River from the south. The complex contained four palaces, four cathedrals, twenty towers, and walls around it.
However, (in this area) the humankind existence signs proved to be around hundreds of years before Christ born, but Moscow was given birth in the middle of the 12th century when Yuri Dolgorukiy, grand prince of Kiev decided to build a wooden fortress in the place that The Moskva River and The Volga River meet. Moscow becomes one of the most critical cities in Russia afterward. In the middle of the 13th century, Kremlin starts to use stone as its building materials. From then till Ivan the Great's reign, the only change in the place was replacing wooden walls with bricks. In Ivan the Great's era, there were massive restorations in Kremlin. Also, three cathedrals, some structures, and the highest tower of the city were added to the Kremlin as well. In the 18th century, the capital relocated to Saint Petersburg and Kremlin only used for the coronation ceremonies. In the Catherine the Great's reign, Vasily Bazhenov ordered to begin restoration project in Kremlin, but for funds issue, the project got canceled. After a few years, Matvey Kazakov assigned the same mission, one of his major influences in Kremlin was Palace of Congresses that he added to Kremlin. In Napoleon's invasion of Russia, Kremlin was invaded by the French army for almost a month. Before they leave, they set Kremlin on fire and did severe damages to it. It took three years of restoration to compensate the losses (1816-1819). In the Nicholas I's era, The Grand Kremlin Palace was added to the Kremlin, but till 1917 no other structure constructed in the area. At Soviet Russia's present, Lenin chose Palace of Congresses for living, Stalin had a place in Kremlin Palace later. In this era, lots of imperial symbols and a great section of Kremlin such as Ascension Monastery, Savior Cathedral, Nicholas Palace were either destroyed or brutally damaged.
However, the Kremlin was closed for tourist until 1955, but nowadays you can learn Russia history from Kremlin's point of view. Of course, because of the occupation of The Russia President in Kremlin, loads of the area are not accessible for people, but still, there are lots to see and enjoy. Currently, there are several museums, cathedrals, and galleries in Kremlin which are "a must" in Russia tour's lists.
The Grand Kremlin was a residence for Tsars in fourteen century. The palace is now occupied by the government for official meetings, and only limited access has been given to tourists and unofficial visitants to roam around the palace. The palace has access to The Terem Palace, The Palace of the facets, Tsarina's Chamber, and Palace of Congresses from the top level. The look of the palace is like a three-story building, but actually, the top floor has two sets of windows, so it's a two-story building. The Grand Kremlin is famous for its golden halls and majestic looks.
The Palace of the Facets which is a part of Kremlin that only accessible for the government was Tsars' residence. It was constructed in 1492 and used for ceremonials purposes. The other purpose of the palace was for official meetings and appointments.
The Terem Palace which was the main residence of Tsars and rulers has the same intent as before, it's The President house and is not accessible to visitors. The five-story building was constructed in the early sixteen century but rebuilt by Mikhail Fyodorovich, the first Tsar of the Romanov family in 1635, and its first floor was only intact.
In the heart of Kremlin, there's a square named The Cathedral Square which is surrounded by five cathedrals and churches. This square is the place for the guards to change shifts which is a very entertaining event for tourists to observe.
The Archangel Michael Cathedral which is the largest cathedral of Kremlin was built in 1508 with the white exterior design. It was the burial tombs of former Russia emperors and their families like Ivan V, and Tsarevich Demetrius, son of Ivan the Terrible. The Cathedral was seriously damaged during the 1917 revolution. From 1950, the cathedral considered as part of the Kremlin museum, but after 1992 was given back to The Orthodox Church, and alongside the museum intention, some religious ceremonies held there since.
The Dormition Cathedral which considered as one of the oldest cathedrals in Kremlin was constructed in 1457 by Italian artists. Ivan The Terrible chose this cathedral as his coronation ceremony place. During the Napoleon invasion of Kremlin, the cathedral used as a stable for French army's horses and they take down its magnificent lusters. The Cathedral was the host for the Easter ceremony before 1918 and after 1990. You can see the Tsars' temples, pieces of jewelry, The Emperor Crown, and also Ivan the Terrible throne in this cathedral.
The Annunciation Cathedral which held the Tsars' wedding and baptism ceremonies, was built with nine golden domes in 1482 by a group of Pskovian architects. The cathedral designed with a beautiful roof and wall paintings. You can observe works of artists like Theophanes and Rublev in there.
The Church of Deposition is named after an ancient festival which in that, the robes of Virgin Mary carried to The Constantinople from Palestine. The construction ended in 1485 with only one dome. It's famous for its simple watercolors and glass coloring design. There are some wooden sculptures from fifteen century that maintenance there.
Ivan the Great Bell Tower which looked like a lighted candle from far view was the tallest structure in the area. It was built in 1508 with 81-meter total height and used as communal belfries for three cathedrals in the square. The Bell Tower has eighteen small bells and four giant bells, and it only peals in traditional ceremonies like The Easter. The Bell Tower is now a modern museum of the Kremlin architecture history.
Kremlin Armory was built in 1851 in southeastern of Kremlin and today became the host of Russian Diamond Fund, State icons, royal jewelry, and arts from five to twenty century of western and east Europe.
Kremlin Arsenal which built at 1701 in the north of Kremlin for personal usage of Peter the Great was given arsenal and occupied by the army.
We can mention The Church of Twelve Apostles and Spasskaya tower which are also in Kremlin.
In politics world, since we know The United state government as The Whitehouse and The United Kingdom government as The Westminster, Soviet Russia used to identify as The Kremlin. Plus, in lots of Russian or foreign novels, Kremlin was mentioned either as the place or nickname.
It's certainly evident why the heart of Moscow is this crucial to the Russia tours, even the hotels in this area are so expensive because of the facts. Moscow has much more places to roam around beside The Red Square and The Kremlin, but The Kremlin is for sure the most important places of all when you travel to Russia.
There's also another way to see the architectural beauty of Kremlin and also some other attractions near the Moskva River, and that's from the river point of view. There are several different options to take the Moskva River's tour, and we covered the two Radisson Royal Cruise and Night Cruise on our website that we recommend you to check out.
There are several other attractions in Moscow beside the Kremlin and Red Square, and there are loads of other things that you can do when you visit Moscow. We at the Star Travel Group prepared several guides and continue to do that for our clients and people who want to Visit Moscow which you can find one of those brief guides about visiting Moscow in this blog post.