The Kremlin of Moscow is a big architectural ensemble, a fortress and the historical centre of Moscow. It is one of the greatest historical and cultural attractions of Russia.

Moscow Kremlin facts

The first Kremlin appeared on this territory in the 12th century and served as a fortress to protect the settlement founded on the hill. The walls were built out of wood, later in the 14th century it was rebuilt using white stone. In the 15th century, Italian architects rebuilt the whole place once again and it received at great extent its modern view.

At the end of the 15th century under the command of Ivan III, the fortress of the Kremlin was rebuilt. New walls and towers became higher and thicker as well as were tiled with red bricks. A deep moat was also dug around the Kremlin.

In the centre of the Kremlin, on the Cathedral Square, the Church of the Assumption, the Cathedral of the Annunciation, the Palace of Facets and the Cathedral of Archangel are located.

In the 17th-19th centuries, several secular buildings, such as the Terem Palace, the Big Arsenal and the Senate were added.

During the war with Napoleon, the Kremlin was occupied by French troops. When they were leaving Moscow, Napoleon ordered to destroy the Kremlin. Though many cartridges didn't blow up the losses were great and the rebuilding took 20 years.

In the middle of the 19th century, the building of the Armory was constructed in the southern part of the Kremlin. The Armory is one of the most famous museum on the grounds of the Kremlin, containing treasures, clothes, carriages that belonged to the royal families. Nowadays the Armory building also hosts the Diamond Fund museum, which represents the collection of the most precious jewellery.

During the Soviet times, the Kremlin became the symbol of the new power. The double-headed eagles on the towers were replaced with big red stars and in the 1950's the building of the Kremlin Palace of Congresses was added. In 1955, the territory of the Kremlin was opened to the public becoming an open-air museum. In 1990, the Kremlin and Red Square were included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

Opening hours of Moscow Kremlin museum:

Kremlin territory and cathedrals from 10:00 till 17:00.

Kremlin Armory can be visited on fixed hours: 10:00, 12:00, 14:30, 16:30.

Closed: Thursday.

Timetable is subject to change without prior notice.

Red Square

Red Square is the most famous square in Russia. Appeared at the end of the 15th century, it was then called as the "Merchant Place". Several important buildings are located on the territory of Red Square, including the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed, Lenin Mausoleum, GUM department store, Kazan Cathedral and the State Historical Museum.

Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed

In the southeast end of Red Square, one can observe the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed, also known as the Church of Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat. It is a multi-tented church, which also features distinctive onion domes. The cathedral is traditionally perceived as a symbol of the unique position of Russia between Europe and Asia. The church was built in 1551-1561 at the command of Ivan IV, known as Ivan the Terrible, to commemorate the capture of the town of Kazan. The interior of the cathedral is a collection of separate chapels, each filled with beautiful icons, medieval painted walls, and varying artwork on the top inside of the domes.

There is a statue to Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin near the main entrance to the cathedral. These men were the leaders of the people's volunteer army, which fought against the Polish invaders at the beginning of the 17th century during so-called Time of Troubles.

Nearby is the “Lobnoye Mesto”, a circular platform where public ceremonies used to take place as well as the tsars' decrees were read to the public.

Lenin's Mausoleum

In the western part of the square, there is Lenin's Mausoleum where the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union, is displayed. The first wooden mausoleum was built in 1924 after Lenin's death and was rebuilt in 1929-1930 using stone, marble and granite.

Stalin's body after his death was also put into the mausoleum and stayed there till 1961 when de-Stalinization has started.

During the Soviet era, soldiers stood by the doors of the Mausoleum, and it was known as post #1. In the 90s of the 20th century, the post was moved to the Alexandrovsky garden and is now near the Eternal Flame and the tomb to the Unknown Soldier. To the right of the mausoleum there is the Kremlin Wall Necropolis. Many Soviet leaders as well as famous foreign communists are buried in the Necropolis.

GUM department store and other attractions

Opposite Lenin Mausoleum stands GUM department store, which hosts expensive boutique shops.

Next to GUM, Kazan Cathedral is located. The original cathedral was constructed in 1630 to honour the victory over the Polish invaders during the Time of Troubles. Destroyed in the 1930's at the command of Joseph Stalin, it was rebuilt in 1993.

The northern part of the square is occupied by the State Historical Museum, established in 1872. The collection of the museum contains the relics of the prehistoric tribes inhabiting present-day Russia, as well as priceless artworks acquired by the members of the Romanov dynasty. The total number of the exhibits counts in the millions.