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Moscow Kremlin

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The Moscow Kremlin sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, overlooking the Moskva River
Moskva River
The Moskva River is a river that flows through the Moscow and Smolensk Oblasts in Russia, and is a tributary of the Oka River.-Etymology:...

 (to the south), Saint Basil's Cathedral
Saint Basil's Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat , popularly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral , is a Russian Orthodox church erected on the Red Square in Moscow in 1555–61. Built on the order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan, it marks the...

 and Red Square
Red Square
Red Square is a city square in Moscow, Russia. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod...

 (to the east) and the Alexander Garden
Alexander Garden
Alexander Gardens was one of the first urban public parks in Moscow, Russia. The park comprises three separate gardens, which stretch along all the length of the western Kremlin wall for between the building of the Moscow Manege and the Kremlin.-History:...

 (to the west). It is the best known of kremlin
Kremlin
A kremlin , same root as in kremen is a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities. This word is often used to refer to the best-known one, the Moscow Kremlin, or metonymically to the government that is based there...

s (Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n citadel
Citadel
A citadel is a fortress for protecting a town, sometimes incorporating a castle. The term derives from the same Latin root as the word "city", civis, meaning citizen....

s) and includes four palaces, four cathedrals and the enclosing Kremlin Wall
Kremlin Wall
The Kremlin Wall is a defensive wall that surrounds the Moscow Kremlin, recognizable by the characteristic notches and its Kremlin towers. The original walls were likely a simple wooden fence with guard towers built in 1156.-History:...

 with Kremlin towers
Kremlin towers
The following is a list of towers of Moscow Kremlin. The Kremlin Wall is a defensive wall that surrounds the Moscow Kremlin, recognizable by the characteristic notches and its towers...

. The complex serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation.

The name The Kremlin is often used as a metonym to refer to the government of the Soviet Union
Politics of the Soviet Union
The political system of the Soviet Union was characterized by the superior role of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , the only party permitted by Constitution.For information about the government, see Government of the Soviet Union-Background:...

 (1922–1991) and its highest members (such as general secretaries, premiers, presidents, ministers, and commissars), in the same way that the metonym Élysée Palace
Élysée Palace
The Élysée Palace is the official residence of the President of the French Republic, containing his office, and is where the Council of Ministers meets. It is located near the Champs-Élysées in Paris....

refers to the President of the French Republic
President of the French Republic
The President of the French Republic colloquially referred to in English as the President of France, is France's elected Head of State....

, the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

refers to the Executive Office of the President of the United States
Executive Office of the President of the United States
The Executive Office of the President consists of the immediate staff of the President of the United States, as well as multiple levels of support staff reporting to the President. The EOP is headed by the White House Chief of Staff, currently William M. Daley...

 and Number 10 Downing Street (or simply Number 10) refers to the Office of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

. It is still used in reference to the government of the Russian Federation
Politics of Russia
The politics of Russia take place in a framework of a federal semi-presidential republic. According to the Constitution of Russia, the President of Russia is head of state, and of a multi-party system with executive power exercised by the government, headed by the Prime Minister, who is appointed...

 and even the Russian President's official website is Kremlin.Ru. "Kremlinology
Kremlinology
Kremlinology is the study and analysis of Soviet politics and policies based on efforts to understand the inner workings of an opaque central government. The term is named after the Kremlin, the seat of the Russian/Soviet government. Kremlinologist refers to academic, media, and commentary experts...

" referred to the study of Soviet and Russian policies.

Origin



The site has been continuously inhabited since the 2nd century BC, and originates from a Vyatich fortified structure (or "grad") on Borovitsky Hill
Kremlin Hill
Kremlin Hill is one of the seven hills of Moscow. Altitude up to 145 m. The hill is situated in the city centre, at the confluence of the Moscow River and Neglinnaya River...

 where the Neglinnaya River
Neglinnaya River
The Neglinnaya River , also known as Neglimna, Neglinna, Neglinka , is a 7.5-km long underground river in the central part of Moscow and a tributary of the Moskva River. It flows in the tunnels under Samotechnaya Street, Tsvetnoy Boulevard, Neglinnaya Street and Alexander Garden and Zaryadye...

 flowed into the Moskva River
Moskva River
The Moskva River is a river that flows through the Moscow and Smolensk Oblasts in Russia, and is a tributary of the Oka River.-Etymology:...

. The Slavs occupied the south-western portion of the hill as early as the 11th century, as evidenced by a metropolitan seal from the 1090s, which was unearthed by Soviet archaeologists in the area.

Up to the 14th century, the site was known as the 'grad of Moscow'. The word "kremlin" was first recorded in 1331 and its etymology is disputed (see Max Vasmer
Max Vasmer
Max Vasmer was a Russian-born German linguist who studied problems of etymology of Indo-European, Finno-Ugric and Turkic languages and worked on history of Slavic, Baltic, Iranian, and Finno-Ugric peoples....

 http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/response.cgi?root=%2Fusr%2Flocal%2Fshare%2Fstarling%2Fmorpho&morpho=1&basename=%5Cusr%5Clocal%5Cshare%5Cstarling%5Cmorpho%5Cvasmer%5Cvasmer&first=1&text_word=%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%BC%D0%BB%D1%8C&method_word=substring&text_general=&method_general=substring&text_origin=&method_origin=substring&text_trubachev=&method_trubachev=substring&text_editorial=&method_editorial=substring&text_pages=&method_pages=substring&text_any=&method_any=substring&sort=wordonline] (Russian)). The grad was greatly extended by Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy in 1156, destroyed by the Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 in 1237 and rebuilt in oak in 1339.

Seat of Grand Dukes



The first recorded stone structures in the Kremlin were built at the behest of Ivan Kalita in the late 1320s and early 1330s, after Peter, Metropolitan of Rus
Metropolitan Peter
Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia was the Russian metropolitan who moved his see from Vladimir to Moscow in 1325. Later he was proclaimed a patron saint of Moscow. In spite of the move, the office remained officially entitled "Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus'" until the...

 was forced to move his seat from Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

 to Moscow. The new ecclesiastical capital needed permanent churches. These included the Dormition Cathedral (1327, with St. Peter's Chapel, 1329), the church-belltower of St. John Climacus
John Climacus
Saint John Climacus , also known as John of the Ladder, John Scholasticus and John Sinaites, was a 7th century Christian monk at the monastery on Mount Sinai. He is revered as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches.We have almost no...

 (1329), the monastery church of the Saviour's Transfiguration (1330), and the Archangel Cathedral (1333)—all built of limestone and decorated with elaborate carving, each crowned by a single dome. Of these churches, the reconstructed Saviour Cathedral alone survived into the 20th century, only to be pulled down at the urging of Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 in 1933.

Dmitri Donskoi
Dmitri Donskoi
Saint Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy , or Dmitry of the Don, sometimes referred to as Dmitry I , son of Ivan II the Meek of Moscow , reigned as the Prince of Moscow from 1359 and Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1363 to his death. He was the first prince of Moscow to openly challenge Mongol authority in...

 replaced the oaken walls with a strong citadel of white limestone in 1366–1368 on the basic foundations of the current walls; this fortification withstood a siege by Khan Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh was the prominent khan of the White Horde, who briefly unified the White Horde and Blue Horde subdivisions of the Golden Horde into a single state. He was a descendant of Genghis Khan's eldest grandson, Orda Khan or his brother Tuqa-Timur...

. Dmitri's son Vasily I resumed construction of churches and cloisters in the Kremlin. The newly built Annunciation Cathedral
Cathedral of the Annunciation
The Cathedral of the Annunciation is a Russian Orthodox church dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos. It is located on the southwest side of Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia, where it connects directly to the main building of the complex of the Grand Kremlin Palace,...

 was painted by Theophanes the Greek
Theophanes the Greek
Theophanes the Greek was a Byzantine Greek artist and one of the greatest icon painters, or iconographers, of Muscovite Russia, and was noted as the teacher and mentor of the great Andrei Rublev.-Life and work:Theophanes was born in the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople...

, Andrei Rublev
Andrei Rublev
Andrei Rublev is considered to be the greatest medieval Russian painter of Orthodox icons and frescoes.-Biography:...

, and Prokhor
Prokhor
Prokhor from Gorodets was a medieval Russian icon-painter, thought to have been the teacher of Andrei Rublev....

 in 1405. The Chudov Monastery
Chudov Monastery
The Chudov Monastery was founded in the Moscow Kremlin in 1358 by Metropolitan Alexius of Moscow. The monastery was dedicated to the miracle of the Archangel Michael at Chonae...

 was founded by Dmitri's tutor, Metropolitan Alexis
Alexius, Metropolitan of Moscow
Saint Alexius was Metropolitan of Kiev and all Russia , and presided over the Moscow government during Dmitrii Donskoi's minority....

; while his widow, Eudoxia
Eudoxia of Moscow
Eudoxia Dmitriyevna —monastic name, Euphrosyne— was a Grand Duchess of Muscovy and wife of Dmitry Donskoy.-Family:Eudoxia Dmitriyevna was a daughter of Dmitry Konstantinovich, Grand Prince of Nizhny Novgorod and Vasilisa of Rostov....

, established the Ascension Convent
Ascension Convent
Ascension Convent, known as the Starodevichy Convent or Old Maiden's until 1817 , was a female cloister in the Moscow Kremlin which contained the burials of grand princesses, tsarinas, and other noble ladies from the Muscovite royal court.It is believed that Ascension Convent was founded in 1389...

 in 1397.

Residence of the Tsars




Grand Prince Ivan III
Ivan III of Russia
Ivan III Vasilyevich , also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Prince of Moscow and "Grand Prince of all Rus"...

 organised the reconstruction of the Kremlin, inviting a number of skilled architects from Renaissance Italy
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

, like Petrus Antonius Solarius
Pietro Antonio Solari
Pietro Antonio Solari , also known as Pyotr Fryazin, was a Swiss Italian architect....

, who designed the new Kremlin wall and its towers, and Marcus Ruffus
Marco Ruffo
Marco Ruffo as known as Marco Fryazin was an Italian architect active in Moscow in the 15th century....

 who designed the new palace for the prince. It was during his reign that three extant cathedrals of the Kremlin, the Deposition Church, and the Palace of Facets were constructed. The highest building of the city and Muscovite Russia
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 was the Ivan the Great Bell Tower
Ivan the Great Bell Tower
The Ivan the Great Bell Tower is the tallest of the towers in the Moscow Kremlin complex, with a total height of . It was built in 1508 for the Russian Orthodox cathedrals in Cathedral Square, namely the Assumption, Archangel and Annunciation cathedrals, which do not have their own belfries...

, built in 1505–08 and augmented to its present height in 1600. The Kremlin walls as they now appear were built between 1485 and 1495. Spasskie gates of the wall still bear a dedication in Latin praising Petrus Antonius Solarius for the design.

After construction of the new kremlin walls and churches was complete, the monarch decreed that no structures should be built in the immediate vicinity of the citadel. The Kremlin was separated from the walled merchant town (Kitay-gorod) by a 30-metre-wide moat, over which the Intercession Cathedral on the Moat
Saint Basil's Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat , popularly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral , is a Russian Orthodox church erected on the Red Square in Moscow in 1555–61. Built on the order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan, it marks the...

 was constructed during the reign of Ivan the Terrible
Ivan IV of Russia
Ivan IV Vasilyevich , known in English as Ivan the Terrible , was Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 until his death. His long reign saw the conquest of the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, transforming Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state spanning almost one billion acres,...

. The same tsar also renovated some of his grandfather's palaces, added a new palace and cathedral for his sons, and endowed the Trinity metochion
Metochion
In Eastern Orthodoxy, a metochion is an ecclesiastical embassy church, usually from one autocephalous or autonomous church to another. The term is also used to refer to a parish representation of a monastery or a patriarch....

 inside the Kremlin. The metochion was administrated by the Trinity Monastery and boasted the graceful tower church
Tented roof
A tented roof is a type of roof widely used in 16th and 17th century Russian architecture for churches. It is like a polygonal spire but differs in purpose in that it is typically used to roof the main internal space of a church, rather than an auxiliary structure...

 of St. Sergius
Sergius of Radonezh
Venerable Sergius of Radonezh , also transliterated as Sergey Radonezhsky or Serge of Radonezh, was a spiritual leader and monastic reformer of medieval Russia. Together with Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, he is one of the Russian Orthodox Church's most highly venerated saints.-Early life:The date of...

, which was described by foreigners as one of the finest in the country.

During the Time of Troubles
Time of Troubles
The Time of Troubles was a period of Russian history comprising the years of interregnum between the death of the last Russian Tsar of the Rurik Dynasty, Feodor Ivanovich, in 1598, and the establishment of the Romanov Dynasty in 1613. In 1601-1603, Russia suffered a famine that killed one-third...

, the Kremlin was held by the Polish forces for two years, between 21 September 1610 and 26 October 1612. The Kremlin's liberation by the volunteer army of prince Dmitry Pozharsky
Dmitry Pozharsky
For the ship of the same name, see Sverdlov class cruiserDmitry Mikhaylovich Pozharsky was a Rurikid prince, who led Russia's struggle for independence against Polish-Lithuanian invasion known as the Time of Troubles...

 and Kuzma Minin paved the way for the election of Mikhail Romanov
Michael of Russia
Mikhail I Fyodorovich Romanov Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov was the first Russian Tsar of the house of Romanov. He was the son of Feodor Nikitich Romanov and Xenia...

 as the new tsar. During his reign and that of his son Alexis, the eleven-domed Upper Saviour Cathedral, Armorial Gate
Armorial Gate
The Armorial Gate was a unique monumental erection of traditional Russian architecture. Situated in the Moscow Kremlin, the structure was symbolic of the centralized Russian state...

, Terem Palace
Terem Palace
Terem Palace or Teremnoy Palace is a historical building in the Moscow Kremlin, Russia, which used to be the main residence of the Russian tsars in the 17th century. Its name is derived from the Greek word τερεμνον...

, Amusement Palace
Amusement Palace
The Amusement Palace is located at the Kremlin’s western wall. It is situated between the Commandant and Trinity Towers.It was built in 1652 for Ilya Miloslavsky, who was the father-in-law of czar Alexei Mikhailovich. After the death of Miloslavsky, the palace went to the state. It was then used as...

 and the palace of Patriarch Nikon
Patriarch Nikon
Nikon , born Nikita Minin , was the seventh patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church...

 were built. Following the death of Alexis, the Kremlin witnessed the Moscow Uprising of 1682
Moscow Uprising of 1682
Moscow Uprising of 1682, also known as Streltsy Uprising of 1682 , was an uprising of the Moscow Streltsy regiments which resulted in supreme power being devolved on Sophia Alekseyevna...

, from which tsar Peter
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

 barely escaped, causing him to dislike the Kremlin. Three decades later, Peter abandoned the residence of his forefathers for his new capital, Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

.

Imperial period


Although still used for coronation ceremonies, the Kremlin was abandoned and neglected until 1773, when Catherine the Great
Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great , Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia on as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg...

 engaged Vasili Bazhenov
Vasili Bazhenov
Vasily Ivanovich Bazhenov was a Russian neoclassical architect, graphic artist, architectural theorist and educator...

 to build her new residence there. Bazhenov produced a bombastic Neoclassical
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 design on a heroic scale, which involved the demolition of several churches and palaces, as well as a portion of the Kremlin wall. After the preparations were over, construction halted due to lack of funds. Several years later, the architect Matvey Kazakov
Matvey Kazakov
Matvey Fyodorovich Kazakov was a Russian Neoclassical architect. Kazakov was one of the most influential Muscovite architects during the reign of Catherine II, completing numerous private residences, two royal palaces, two hospitals, Moscow University, and the Kremlin Senate...

 supervised the reconstruction of the dismantled sections of the wall and of some structures of the Chudov Monastery, and constructed the spacious and luxurious offices of the Senate
Kremlin Senate
The Kremlin Senate is a building within the grounds of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia. Initially constructed from 1776-1787, it originally housed the Moscow branch of the Governing Senate, the highest judiciary and legislative office of Imperial Russia. Currently, it houses the Russian presidential...

, since adapted for use as the principal workplace of the President of Russia.

Following the French invasion of Russia
French invasion of Russia
The French invasion of Russia of 1812 was a turning point in the Napoleonic Wars. It reduced the French and allied invasion forces to a tiny fraction of their initial strength and triggered a major shift in European politics as it dramatically weakened French hegemony in Europe...

 in 1812, the French forces occupied the Kremlin from 2 September to 11 October. When Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 fled Moscow, he ordered the whole Kremlin to be blown up. The Kremlin Arsenal
Kremlin Arsenal
The Kremlin Arsenal is a former armory built within the grounds of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia. Initially constructed in 1736, it has been rebuilt several times. It remains in military use to date, unlike the Kremlin Armoury, another arsenal within the walls of the Moscow Kremlin, which is now a...

, several portions of the Kremlin Wall and several wall towers were destroyed by explosions and fires damaged the Faceted Chamber
Palace of Facets
The Palace of the Facets is a building in the Moscow Kremlin, Russia, which contains what used to be the main banquet reception hall of the Muscovite Tsars. It is the oldest preserved secular building in Moscow. Located on Kremlin Cathedral Square, between the Cathedral of the Annunciation and the...

 and churches. Explosions continued for three days, from 21 to 23 October. Fortunately, the rain damaged the fuses
Fuse (explosives)
In an explosive, pyrotechnic device or military munition, a fuse is the part of the device that initiates function. In common usage, the word fuse is used indiscriminately...

, and the damage was less severe than intended. Restoration works were held in 1816–19, supervised by Osip Bove
Joseph Bové
Joseph Bové was a Russian neoclassical architect with Italian roots who supervised reconstruction of Moscow after the Fire of 1812.-Biography:...

. During the remainder of Alexander I
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

's reign, several ancient structures were renovated in a fanciful neo-Gothic style, but many others were condemned as "disused" or "dilapidated" (including all the buildings of the Trinity metochion) and simply torn down.

On visiting Moscow for his coronation festivities, Nicholas I
Nicholas I of Russia
Nicholas I , was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning over 20 million square kilometers...

 was not satisfied with the Grand, or Winter, Palace, which had been erected to Rastrelli
Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli
Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli was an Italian architect naturalized Russian. He developed an easily recognizable style of Late Baroque, both sumptuous and majestic...

's design in the 1750s. The elaborate Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 structure was demolished, as was the nearby church of St. John the Precursor, built by Aloisio the New
Aloisio the New
Aloisio the New, known in Russian as Aleviz Novyi or Aleviz Fryazin, was an Italian Renaissance architect invited by Ivan III to work in Moscow...

 in 1508 in place of the first church constructed in Moscow. The architect Konstantin Thon
Konstantin Thon
Konstantin Andreyevich Thon, also spelled Ton was an official architect of Imperial Russia during the reign of Nicholas I. His major works include the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the Grand Kremlin Palace and the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow....

 was commissioned to replace them with the Grand Kremlin Palace
Grand Kremlin Palace
The Grand Kremlin Palace , also translated Great Kremlin Palace, was built from 1837 to 1849 in Moscow, Russia on the site of the estate of the Grand Princes, which had been established in the 14th century on Borovitsky Hill...

, which was to rival the Winter Palace
Winter Palace
The Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, was, from 1732 to 1917, the official residence of the Russian monarchs. Situated between the Palace Embankment and the Palace Square, adjacent to the site of Peter the Great's original Winter Palace, the present and fourth Winter Palace was built and...

 in St. Petersburg in its dimensions and the opulence of its interiors. The palace was constructed in 1839–49, followed by the new building of the Kremlin Armoury
Kremlin Armoury
The Kremlin Armory is one of the oldest museums of Moscow, established in 1808 and located in the Moscow Kremlin .The Kremlin Armoury originated as the royal arsenal in 1508. Until the transfer of the court to St Petersburg, the Armoury was in charge of producing, purchasing and storing weapons,...

 in 1851.

After 1851, the Kremlin changed little until the Russian Revolution of 1917; the only new features added during this period were the Monument to Alexander II
Monument to Alexander II (Moscow)
The Monument to Alexander II, officially called the Monument to Emperor Alexander II, the Liberator Tsar, is a memorial of Emperor Alexander II of Russia, situated in the immediate surroundings of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow...

 and a stone cross marking the spot where Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia
Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia
Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia was a son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia...

 was assassinated by Ivan Kalyayev
Ivan Kalyayev
Ivan Platonovich Kalyayev was a Russian poet, a member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. He is best known for his role in the assassination of Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, which was an operation of the SR Combat Organization...

 in 1905. These monuments were destroyed by the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

s in 1918.

Soviet period and beyond


The Soviet government moved from Petrograd
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 to Moscow on 12 March 1918. Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 selected the Kremlin Senate
Kremlin Senate
The Kremlin Senate is a building within the grounds of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia. Initially constructed from 1776-1787, it originally housed the Moscow branch of the Governing Senate, the highest judiciary and legislative office of Imperial Russia. Currently, it houses the Russian presidential...

 as his residence. Stalin also had his personal rooms in the Kremlin. He was eager to remove from his headquarters all the "relics of the tsarist regime". Golden eagles on the towers were replaced by shining Kremlin stars
Kremlin stars
The Kremlin stars are the pentagonal luminescent ruby stars, installed in the 1930s on five towers of the Moscow Kremlin, replacing the gilded eagles that had symbolized Imperial Russia.-Installation:...

, while the wall near Lenin's Mausoleum
Lenin's Mausoleum
Lenin's Mausoleum also known as Lenin's Tomb, situated in Red Square in the center of Moscow, is the mausoleum that serves as the current resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His embalmed body has been on public display there since shortly after his death in 1924...

 was turned into the Kremlin Wall Necropolis
Kremlin Wall Necropolis
Burials in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis in Moscow began in November 1917, when 240 pro-Bolshevik victims of the October Revolution were buried in mass graves on Red Square. It is centered on both sides of Lenin's Mausoleum, initially built in wood in 1924 and rebuilt in granite in 1929–1930...

.

The Chudov Monastery and Ascension Convent, with their magnificent 16th-century cathedrals, were dismantled to make room for the military school and Palace of Congresses
State Kremlin Palace
The State Kremlin Palace , formerly and unofficially still better known as the Kremlin Palace of Congresses , is a large modern building inside the Moscow Kremlin....

. The Little Nicholas Palace and the old Saviour Cathedral were pulled down as well. The residence of the Soviet government was closed to tourists until 1955. It was not until the Khrushchev Thaw
Khrushchev Thaw
The Khrushchev Thaw refers to the period from the mid 1950s to the early 1960s, when repression and censorship in the Soviet Union were partially reversed and millions of Soviet political prisoners were released from Gulag labor camps, due to Nikita Khrushchev's policies of de-Stalinization and...

 that the Kremlin was reopened to foreign visitors. The Kremlin Museums were established in 1961 and the complex was among the first Soviet patrimonies inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1990.

Although the current director of the Kremlin Museums, Elena Gagarina (Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961....

's daughter) advocates a full-scale restoration of the destroyed cloisters, recent developments have been confined to expensive restoration of the original interiors of the Grand Kremlin Palace, which were altered during Stalin's rule. The Patriarch of Moscow has a suite of rooms in the Kremlin, but divine service in the Kremlin cathedrals is held irregularly, because they are still administered
as museums.

Buildings



The existing Kremlin wall
Kremlin Wall
The Kremlin Wall is a defensive wall that surrounds the Moscow Kremlin, recognizable by the characteristic notches and its Kremlin towers. The original walls were likely a simple wooden fence with guard towers built in 1156.-History:...

s and towers
Kremlin towers
The following is a list of towers of Moscow Kremlin. The Kremlin Wall is a defensive wall that surrounds the Moscow Kremlin, recognizable by the characteristic notches and its towers...

 were built by Italian masters over the years 1485 to 1495. The irregular triangle of the Kremlin wall encloses an area of 275,000 square metres (68 acres). Its overall length is 2235 metres (2444 yards), but the height ranges from 5 to 19 metres, depending on the terrain. The wall's thickness is between 3.5 and 6.5 metres.

Originally there were eighteen Kremlin towers
Kremlin towers
The following is a list of towers of Moscow Kremlin. The Kremlin Wall is a defensive wall that surrounds the Moscow Kremlin, recognizable by the characteristic notches and its towers...

, but their number increased to twenty in the 17th century. All but three of the towers are square in plan. The highest tower is the Troizkaya, which was built up to its present height of 73,9 metres in 1495. Most towers were originally crowned with wooden tents; the extant brick tents with strips of colored tiles go back to the 1680s.

Cathedral Square
Cathedral Square in Moscow
Cathedral Square or Sobornaya Square is the central square of the Moscow Kremlin where all of its streets used to converge in the 15th century....

 is the heart of the Kremlin. It is surrounded by six buildings, including three cathedral
Cathedral
A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

s. The Cathedral of the Dormition
Cathedral of the Dormition
The Cathedral of the Dormition is a Russian Orthodox church dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos. It is located on the north side of Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia, where a narrow alley separates the north from the Patriarch's Palace with the Twelve Apostles Church....

 was completed in 1479 to be the main church of Moscow and where all the Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

s were crowned. The massive limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 facade, capped with its five gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

en cupola
Cupola
In architecture, a cupola is a small, most-often dome-like, structure on top of a building. Often used to provide a lookout or to admit light and air, it usually crowns a larger roof or dome....

s was the design of Aristotele Fioravanti. Several important metropolitans and patriarchs are buried there, including Peter and Makarii
Macarius, Metropolitan of Moscow
Macarius was a notable Russian cleric, writer, and iconographer who served as the Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia from 1542 until 1563.-Early life and work on the Menaion:...

. The gilded, three-domed Cathedral of the Annunciation
Cathedral of the Annunciation
The Cathedral of the Annunciation is a Russian Orthodox church dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos. It is located on the southwest side of Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia, where it connects directly to the main building of the complex of the Grand Kremlin Palace,...

 was completed next in 1489, only to be reconstructed to a nine-domed design a century later. On the south-east of the square is the much larger Cathedral of the Archangel Michael (1508), where almost all the Muscovite monarchs from Ivan Kalita to Alexis I of Russia are interred. (Boris Godunov
Boris Godunov
Boris Fyodorovich Godunov was de facto regent of Russia from c. 1585 to 1598 and then the first non-Rurikid tsar from 1598 to 1605. The end of his reign saw Russia descend into the Time of Troubles.-Early years:...

 was originally buried there, but was moved to the Trinity Monastery
Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church. The monastery is situated in the town of Sergiyev Posad, about 70 km to the north-east from Moscow by the road leading to Yaroslavl, and currently is home to...

.)
There are two domestic churches of the Metropolitans and Patriarchs of Moscow, the Church of the Twelve Apostles
Church of the Twelve Apostles
The Church of the Twelve Apostles is a minor cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, commissioned by Patriarch Nikon as part of his stately residence in 1653 and dedicated to Philip the Apostle three years later....

 (1653–56) and the exquisite one-domed Church of the Deposition of the Virgin's Robe
Church of the Deposition of the Robe
The Church of the Deposition of the Robe is a church which stands on Cathedral Square in the Moscow Kremlin. It was begun in 1484 by masters from Pskov, most likely by the same group of architects who built the adjacent Cathedral of the Annunciation.Shvidkovsky, Dmitry. Russian Architecture and...

, built by Pskov
Pskov
Pskov is an ancient city and the administrative center of Pskov Oblast, Russia, located in the northwest of Russia about east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. Population: -Early history:...

 artisans over the years 1484–88 and featuring superb icons and frescoes from 1627 and 1644.

The other notable structure is the Ivan the Great Bell Tower
Ivan the Great Bell Tower
The Ivan the Great Bell Tower is the tallest of the towers in the Moscow Kremlin complex, with a total height of . It was built in 1508 for the Russian Orthodox cathedrals in Cathedral Square, namely the Assumption, Archangel and Annunciation cathedrals, which do not have their own belfries...

 on the north-east corner of the square, which is said to mark the exact centre of Moscow and resemble a burning candle. Completed in 1600, it is 81 meters (266 ft) high. Until the Russian Revolution, it was the tallest structure in the city, as construction of buildings taller than that was forbidden. Its 21 bells would sound the alarm if any enemy was approaching. The upper part of the structure was destroyed by the French during the Napoleonic Invasion and has, of course, been rebuilt. The Tsar bell, the largest bell in the world, stands on a pedestal next to the tower.

The oldest secular structure still standing is Ivan III
Ivan III of Russia
Ivan III Vasilyevich , also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Prince of Moscow and "Grand Prince of all Rus"...

's Palace of Facets
Palace of Facets
The Palace of the Facets is a building in the Moscow Kremlin, Russia, which contains what used to be the main banquet reception hall of the Muscovite Tsars. It is the oldest preserved secular building in Moscow. Located on Kremlin Cathedral Square, between the Cathedral of the Annunciation and the...

 (1491), which holds the imperial thrones. The next oldest is the first home of the royal family, the Terem Palace
Terem Palace
Terem Palace or Teremnoy Palace is a historical building in the Moscow Kremlin, Russia, which used to be the main residence of the Russian tsars in the 17th century. Its name is derived from the Greek word τερεμνον...

. The original Terem Palace was also commissioned by Ivan III, but most of the existing palace was built in the 17th century. The Terem Palace and the Palace of Facets are linked by the Grand Kremlin Palace
Grand Kremlin Palace
The Grand Kremlin Palace , also translated Great Kremlin Palace, was built from 1837 to 1849 in Moscow, Russia on the site of the estate of the Grand Princes, which had been established in the 14th century on Borovitsky Hill...

. This was commissioned by Nicholas I in 1838. The largest structure in the Kremlin, it cost an exorbitant sum of eleven million rubles
Russian ruble
The ruble or rouble is the currency of the Russian Federation and the two partially recognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Formerly, the ruble was also the currency of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union prior to their breakups. Belarus and Transnistria also use currencies with...

 to build and more than one billion dollars to renovate in the 1990s. It contains dazzling reception halls, a ceremonial red staircase, private apartments of the tsars, and the lower storey of the Resurrection of Lazarus church (1393), which is the oldest extant structure in the Kremlin and the whole of Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

.

The northern corner of the Kremlin is occupied by the Arsenal, which was originally built for Peter the Great
Peter I of Russia
Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

 in 1701. The southwestern section of the Kremlin holds the Armoury building
Kremlin Armoury
The Kremlin Armory is one of the oldest museums of Moscow, established in 1808 and located in the Moscow Kremlin .The Kremlin Armoury originated as the royal arsenal in 1508. Until the transfer of the court to St Petersburg, the Armoury was in charge of producing, purchasing and storing weapons,...

. Built in 1851 to a Renaissance Revival
Neo-Renaissance
Renaissance Revival is an all-encompassing designation that covers many 19th century architectural revival styles which were neither Grecian nor Gothic but which instead drew inspiration from a wide range of classicizing Italian modes...

design, it is currently a museum housing Russian state regalia and Diamond fund.

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