Exploring the Kremlin is one of the most extraordinary experiences to have while visiting Russia. It sits above and beyond all other attractions in Russia, like the well-known Hermitage Museum, and is the most famous of all sights in the country. Sitting with a commanding presence on the northern bank of the Moscow River, the Moscow Kremlin covers the Borovitsky Hill, taking up a large, triangular shaped piece of land. The entire property is surrounded by a large wall, called the Kremlin Wall, spanning more than two kilometers in length and originally constructed entirely out of red brick.
The main attractions in Russia inside the Kremlin include the Armory, the Patriarch"s Palace, the Annunciation Cathedrals, Archangel, and Assumption. The Church of the Deposition of the Robe, and the Ivan the Great Bell Tower are also must-sees during a visit. The Kremlin is the political, spiritual and historical core of Moscow. Embodying the true essence of the city the Moscow Kremlin is made of a group of buildings exemplifying a wonderful architectural array that paints a colorful picture of a long and captivating history. The mystic sanctuary was founded by Prince Yury Dolgoruky who constructed the initial building on the hilltop back in 1147 AD. Meaning citadel, castle, or fortress, the Kremlin Russia began to grow from its initial building. Development of the land surrounding the first building continued as the city of Moscow popped up all around it.
Officially named Kremlin in the early fourteenth century, the citadel was, by that time, seen as an important yet separate part of the city. A year later the Kremlin Wall was rebuilt with new material and oak towers. With a continued risk of fire damage, a new Kremlin Wall, made of white stone, was built around the entire complex by orders from Dmitry Ivanovich, Prince of Moscow in the mid fourteenth century. Today at the Kremlin Russia visitors can see eighteen distinct towers interspersing the wall and featuring vibrant green spires added during the seventeenth century. Topping the Kremlin Russia towers off are vibrant stars made of bright, ruby-red material, added in 1937.
In front of the protective walls of the Moscow Kremlin, visitors can see Lenin’s mausoleum and the mass grave of the Bolsheviks who died in 1917 in a torrid battle for the city. Graves belonging to many noteworthy Soviets and other notable individuals are also found onsite. The Kremlin Palace is the newest part of the complex and is composed of concrete and glass. It was finished in 1961, built during the Khruschev administration, for the purpose of hosting prominent individuals from the Communist Party. It is a magnificent piece of architecture and very popular during Russia tours. The Kremlin Palace houses a massive auditorium comprised of 6,000 seats and a stage once topped by a monumental likeness of Lenin’s head. The Kremlin Ballet Company uses the Kremlin Palace in present day for their performances.
The true heart of the Kremlin, surrounded completely by several buildings, is the Cathedral Square. The buildings surrounding the central focus include three other cathedrals, from which the square gets its name, and the Church of the Twelve Apostles, the Palace of Facets and the Church of the Virgin"s Robe. During the fifteenth century all of the avenues and streets inside the Kremlin met at the square illustrating the caliber and meaning of the area. Cathedral Square is also where all of the most important of Russia’s ilk had their funeral processions and coronations.
There is so much to see inside the Kremlin that visitors should allot at least a half day for a thorough visit. This is one of the attractions in Russia you won’t want to skimp on. It’s open from 10am to 5pm each day of week but Thursday. St Basils Cathedral, often mistaken as being a part of the Kremlin era architecture, is an ideal stop if you have the time afterwards. Surviving through many centuries and still standing prominently today, Tsarist Russia is still very evident when touring the Kremlin. Through Stalin, Ivan the Terrible, the Romonovs and Lenin, many men have left their marks on this fascinating and intriguing Russian wonder.