The Kremlin Is Worth A Thousand Words!
The Kremlin is the oldest part of Moscow. It is the historical, political and social "heart" of the nation. It was built in 1147 - more than 860 years ago!
Nearly every building inside the Kremlin belongs to history. Unfortunately, many did not survive the Communist regime.
Such was the sad story of Chudov Monastery, which was built in 1365 and demolished in 1929, together with precious icons and artwork.
Moscow Kremlin has seen Tsars, Soviet leaders and Russian Presidents. These days, it's a major decision-making center, just like it used to be.
I guess some things never change...
But enough with the history. Let's get practical, shall we? There is sooo much you can see!
First of all, get to the Cathedral Square - the center of Moscow Kremlin.
You will see three cathedrals.
The first one is called The Dormition Cathedral, or Uspensky Sobor. There were two attempts to build it. The first cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake. Now, if I lived back then - I would surely say it was an omen!
Nevertheless, Ivan III had the nerve to try again. So he invited the Italian architect to rebuild the cathedral, and it was finished in 1479. The persistence paid off, and now this place is all yours to admire!
The second cathedral is The Cathedral of the Archangel. In Russian, it's called Archangelsky Sobor.
Constructed around 1508, it is a home of many beautiful frescoes, icons, and stonework.
In fact, the collection of icons is so large it goes up for 13 meters!
Many of the Russian kings are buried there, including Ivan the Terrible.You can actually see the ornamented tombstones inside the cathedral!
...and it was also a place to celebrate military victories of the Russian empire.
The Cathedral of the Annunciation, or Blagoveschensky sobor, is the last of the tree cathedrals on the square.
Walk through the bronze, gold foiled doors, and dive into the distant past!
Look at the walls - do you see these beautiful murals painted by a famous greek artist Theodosius?
And the icons - aren't they great? Some of them date back to 14th century, and were created by a famous Russian painter, Andrey Rublev.
Check out the whitestone portals on north and west entrances. Aren't they something?
Apart from the cathedrals, take a look at the The Palace of the Facets.
This building used to be the reception hall of the Muscovite Tsars. Built it in 1491 by Italian architects,it is used to hold the receptions up until today!
The interior is fabulous. The halls are broad, and the artwork is so uniquely Russian! See the Red Porch? The Tsars walked down that staircase on the way to their coronation.
The Red Porch was demolished during Stalin rule, and restored with great effort only in 1994.
By the way, The Palace of the Facets earned its name because of its special facade.
One more building on Cathedral Square deserves your attention. It's Ivan the Great Bell Tower.
This beauty's height is 81 meters. It's the tallest of all the Kremlin bell towers. In the past, it was forbidden to build anything higher than this belfry in the entire Moscow!
It's almost 700 years old. Some say it marks Moscow's geographic center.
This glorious tower pleases the eye with its golden domes, crosses, and nobility.
Did you know that not taking a picture of it is a criminal offence in Russia?
Just kidding. But if it doesn't impress you, I don't know what will.
The Kremlin Armory is a must see!
Established in 1808, this is one of Moscow's oldest museums.
It was originally used as the royal arsenal, responsible for purchasing and storing weapons. It also took care of jewelry, regalia and other articles of the Tsars.
As you walk the Armory, Russian history unfolds before your eyes. You see historic outfits, swords, muskets, carriages, and armor.
The luxury will stun you!
Get ready to see the Imperial Crown of Russia, the ivory throne of Ivan the Terrible, the collection of Faberge eggs, huge Orloff diamond, Western and Eastern European artwork decorated with precious stones, et cetera, et cetera.
No words could possibly describe it. You've got to see the Armory with your own eyes!
The collection is fascinating. After you've seen it all, you will have this urge to start all over again.
Don't worry - I felt the same. But hey, you can always come back, right?
To conclude our tour, let me introduce you with Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon.
Tsar Cannon is basically a large cannon that was meant to protect the Kremlin. Some experts suggest it was made just for a show, and it's impossible to use it.
In any case, most of them agree that the cannon has never been fired.
It is nicely decorated,though. Take a picture near those two-ton cannonballs piled nearby.
Tsar Bell is a... large bell that has never been rung! It was founded from bronze in 1735, and bears beautiful ornaments.
In 1737, when the bell was still in the casting pit, a fire broke out in the workshop. Because of that, a huge piece cracked off, rendering the bell unusable.
It sit in the casting pit for another century. In 1836 it was put near Ivan the Great Bell Tower.
Some people believe that on the Judgement Day, it will ring from the heavens.
Well, you can never know...
You've pretty much learned all the popular spots in the Kremlin. As a bonus, you can visit the Kremlin Senate, the Arsenal (not to be confused with Armory), and The Grand Kremlin Palace.
And did you visit The Red Square?
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