|The A.R.C.E.C. Kremlin Military School (office
The Alarm Bell Tower
The Annunciation Cathedral
The Annunciation Tower
The Archangel’s Cathedral
The Armoury Chamber
The Armoury Tower
The Arsenal (office building)
The Assumption Cathedral
The Beklemishev Tower
The Borovitskaya Tower
The Church of Laying Our Lady’s Holy Robe
The Church of Our Lady’s Nativity in the Anteroom
The Commandant Tower
The Corner Arsenal Tower
The Faceted Chamber
The First Nameless Tower
The Fun Palace
The Grand Kremlin Palace
|The Ivan the Great Bell-Tower Complex
The Kremlin’s State Palace
The Kutafiya Tower
The Middle Arsenal Tower
The Patriarch’s Palace
The Peter Tower
The Saviour’s Tower
The Second Nameless Tower
The Secret Tower
The Senate Tower
The St. Nicholas Tower
The Sts. Constantine and Helen Tower
The Terem Palace
The Trinity Tower
The Tsar’s Tower
The Water-Supplying Tower
The Kremlin has always been the administrative center of Russia, and it still
remains as such. Remaining one of the world largest museums, the Kremlin also
houses the residence of the President of the Russian Federation.
The Kremlin at the center of Moscow is an outstanding historical and
architectural monument that serves as a symbol for the whole Russia.
In Old Russia the word "kreml" meant the central, fortified part of a city. The
Moscow Kremlin that originally was made of wood was mentioned in the chronicles
in 1156 as "Moscow fortress". At that time it occupied only the south-western
part of the Borovitsky Hill. In 1326-1327 on the highest point of the hill the
Assumption Cathedral, the first stone cathedral in the Kremlin, was constructed.
And in 1366-1368, during the reign of Prince Dmitry Donskoy, the first stone
Kremlin was put up.
As Moscow and Moscow Principality were getting more and more important, the
significance of the Kremlin was also growing. The ordinary fortified city center
was turning into the residence of Great Prince of Moscow and metropolitan.
the time of Ivan III, who was the first one to be called the Prince of Whole
Russia, the Kremlin was constructed in stone. Ivan III invited not only Russian,
but also Italian architects to participate in the Kremlin creation.
In 1475-1479 the new Assumption Cathedral was designed by Italian architect
Aristotel Fioravanti. In front of the Assumption Cathedral another Italian
architect Aloisio Novy put up the Cathedral of Saint Mikhail the Archangel (Archangelsky
Cathedral). In the western side of Sobornaya Square the palace of Ivan III was
built. It included several chambers, but until nowadays only the Granovitaya
Chamber survived. This chamber, designed by Marco Fryazin and Pietro Antonio
Solari in 1487-1491, served as a gala throne hall of Ivan III.
In 1485-1495 Italian masters put up the new, notched walls and towers of the
Kremlin. In 1505-1508 architect Bon Fryazin constructed the Bell-Tower of Ivan
the Great, so the ensemble of Sobornaya Square was complete. The square served
as a place for important ceremonies and devotions.
In 1547 Great Prince Ivan IV the Terrible officially accepted the title of tsar.
Since then the Kremlin turned into the residence of Russian tsars. To
commemorate the conquest of Kazan khanate by Ivan the Terrible in 1555-1561 the
Cathedral of Protection of the Virgin was erected. Today it is more known as St.
Basil Cathedral. It was built outside the Kremlin walls, close to Spasskie Gates
where another important center of Moscow, Red Square, formed.
The Polish intervention of 1605-1612 damaged the architectural complex of the
Kremlin. The cathedrals were looted and desecrated, tsars' treasury suffered
greatly, and all the wooden constructions were demolished and burnt. When the
Romanov family got the power, the Kremlin was restored. It reached its golden
age by the end of the 17th century. The distinctive beauty of the Kremlin
ensemble made the contemporaries compare it with "the city of Jerusalem".
The 18th century started for the Kremlin with a terrible fire. On the site of
burned constructions Peter I ordered to put up the Arsenal. Construction works
were finished by 1736 at the time of Empress Anna Ioannovna. In front of the
Arsenal the Tsar Cannon was installed. It was cast in 1586 by master Andrey
Chokhov. The caliber of the Tsar Cannon is the largest in the world. In 1735
cast-iron gun-carriage and balls were made for the cannon. Nowadays the Tsar
Cannon is placed on the pedestal close to the Church of Twelve Apostles.
Another sight of the Kremlin is the Tsar Bell cast in 1733-1735 by Russian
masters Matorins by order of Anna Ioannovna. During the fire of 1737 the Tsar
Bell cracked, and a piece of it broke off. Until 1836 the bell was in the
founding pit, and then it was placed on the pedestal designed by architect
Montferrand. Nowadays the Tsar Bell is installed near the Bell-Tower of Ivan the
In the 18th century it became obvious that the Kremlin was too patriarchal and
did not match the tastes and requests of the time. So some new constructions
were put up on the territory of the Kremlin. For example, on the place of
Gosudarev Yard built in the 15th century, the stone baroque-styled Winter Palace
was erected by architect F.-B. Rastrelli in 1749-1753. In 1776-1787 between the
Arsenal, Voznesensky and Chudov monasteries the Senate building was constructed
by architect M. Kazakov.
In 1810 the Armory Museum was built in the Kremlin. Construction works were
supervised by architect A. Egotov. The facade of the museum was decorated with
bas-relieves depicting scenes from Russian history. As for the attic, it was
topped with statues of outstanding Russian enlighteners. The war of 1812 broke
out, so the museum was not opened. Moscow captured by French troops was looted
and burnt, and the Kremlin was badly damaged. After the end of the war the
blown-up walls and towers of the Kremlin, the Arsenal, the Assumption belfry and
Filaretova annex of Bell-Tower of Ivan the Great were carefully restored. In
1814 the Arsenal was opened for the visitors.
In 1838-1851 Emperor Nicolas I ordered to put up the new palace complex in
traditional Russian style on the territory of the Kremlin. The complex consisted
of the Great Kremlin Palace, constructed on the site of the Winter Palace, the
building of Apartaments and the new Arsenal building that was more solemn than
the previous one. Architect K. Ton was appointed to supervise the construction
works. The new buildings completed the ensemble of Palace or Imperial Square.
At the end of the 19th-the beginning of the 20th century the Kremlin was already
taken by contemporaries as the monument of Russian history and culture. There
was an idea to turn the Kremlin complex into the giant museum, but the October
Revolution of 1917 interfered with the plans.
In March, 1918 the first Soviet Government moved to Moscow and settled down in
the Kremlin. The Kremlin was closed for visitors. In 1929 the old monasteries on
the Kremlin territory were pulled down. Instead of them the Military School was
put up. In 1935 the double-headed eagles were taken away from the Kremlin Towers.
In 1937 the five towers of the Kremlin were decorated with ruby stars of 3-3,75
meters in size.
Since 1955 the Kremlin was opened for the public. In 1961 on the site of the
first Armory, at the Troitskie Gates the State Kremlin Palace was put up. It was
the last significant construction on the territory of the Kremlin.
In 1970-1980s the unique restoration works took place in the Kremlin. And in
1990 it was included in the World Cultural Heritage List of UNESCO.
In 1991 the State Historical and Cultural Museum-Preserve Moscow Kremlin was
founded. It consists of the Armory, Assumption Cathedral, Archangelsky Cathedral,
Annunciation Cathedral, the Church of the Deposition of the Holy Robe, the
Museum of Applied Art and Russian Everyday Life of the 17th century, and the
architectural ensemble of the Bell-Tower of Ivan the Great.
Address: Moscow, Kremlin
Working hours: 10:00-17:00