Moscow Kremlin

The Senate Building was designed by the architect Matvei Kazakov in 1776-87.

The 70 m (230 ft) high Saviour Tower is the most magnificent of the Kremlin towers, the very symbol and emblem of Moscow. From time immemorial it has been theprincipal entrance to the Kremlin. The tower, like its two neighbors tothe north, was built in 1491 by the Italian architect PietroAntonio Solari.

Senate Building
Senate Building
Saviour Tower

The Arsenal was built between 1702 and 1736, with some interruptions in thework, on the site of the Granary. The generalplan of the building was sketched out by Peter the Great himself; the architectswere Dmitry Ivanov, Christoph Konrad and others.

The Arsenal was partlydestroyed by fire in 1737, and was reconstructed in 1786-96 by the engineer Gerard under the supervision of the architect Kazakov. It was given its present aspect between 1815 and 1828, after the Frenchattempts to blow up the Kremlin before abandoning Moscow made radical rebuilding necessary.

After the rebuilding it was intended that the Arsenal wouldbe used as an army museum: hence the 875 cannon lining the outside walls. The stucco reliefs of military trophies on the walls reflect the same intention.


Cathedral of the Dormition is the largest and the most historic of the cathedrals in the Kremlin. Here princes, grand princes and tsars were crowned by the metropolitan or patriarch; here metropolitans and patriarchs were enthroned and buried, and here many a chapter in the history of Moscow and of Russia began or was concluded. From its completion in 1479 until the 17th century, it provided an unmatchable model forall cathedral — building in Russia.

Cathedral of the Dormition
Cathedral of the Dormition

The three-storey palace of the reforming patriarch Nikon, with the Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles which served as his private chapel, now houses theMuseum of 17th Century Russian Art and Culture.

Erected in 1653-56, the building reflects Nikon's objection to the tent roof as reminiscent ofsecular building, and his dislike of the Old Russian or "fairy-tale" style. Like the Cathedral of the Dormition, it is a compact mass on a high base, with a cruciform plan and five domes.

Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles

The Tsar Bell was finally cast in 1735. However, it still remained in the moulding pit. In May, 1737, a terrible Troitskiy (Trinity) fire broke out in Moscow and spread to the Kremlin buildings. When the flames on the scarffolding around the bell were being extinguished, cold water fell on the bell itself. The difference in temperature caused it to crack, and a huge piece of 11,5 ton broke off.

In 1836, the Tsar Bell was lifted up from the moulding pit and placed on a stone pedestal by French architect Auguste Montferrant (also built the famous Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg).

Up till now the Tsar Bell is considered to be the biggest one in the world. It weights about 202 ton and is 6,14 meter high. Its diameter is 6,6 m.

The Tsar Bell

The Tsar Cannon is an interesting specimen of sixteenth — century foundry work. It was cast of bronze in 1586 by the Russian master Andrei Shchokhov. It weighs nearly 40 tons and has a barrel 5.34 m (17 ft) long and a bore of 890 mm (35 in). This is the largest bore of any cannon in the world. Itsornate carriage and the cannon balls lined up near it are decorative andwere cast of pig-iron in 1835 at the Berd works in St.Petersburg. The cannonballs weigh a ton each.

The Tsar Cannon
carriage of The Tsar Cannon

The Cathedral of the Annunciation, with its nine gilded domes, is the smallest of the three main Kremlin cathedrals, but the decoration of the interior (in particular the frescoes and icons by Andrei Rublev and Feofan Grek) makesit one of the great treasures of Moscow. The cathedral was built in 1484-89 by a team of buildersfrom Pskov as the court church of Grand Prince Ivan III. It was connected by a passage at the gallery level with the palace of the grand prince and laterwith the tsar's residence.

The Cathedral of the Annunciation

This icons are painted on the ceiling of South Galery of The Cathedral of the Annunciation.

Ivan the Great Bell Tower. View from the Ivanovskaya Square

The Ivan the Great Bell Tower is the tallest structure in the Kremlin (81 m or 266 ft). It was built in 1505-08. From the top of the tower - which wasincreased in height by Boris Godunov in 1600, making it the tallest towerin Russia at that time - the view extends for some 40 km (25 miles), soit was a strategic watch tower. There are 329 steps to the top. The firsttier of the Bell-Tower housed the ancient Church of St. John Climacus. In1532-43, the master builder Petrok Maly added a belfry to the Bell Tower; in the 17th century, the so-called Filaret Annex was added to the tower'snorthern side. The Bell Tower and belfry still carry 21 bells which areremarkable creations of Russian foundry art. When Napoleon's army retreated from Moscow in 1812 the belfry and annex were blown up. The belfry and annex were restored in 1819, designed by the architect Domenico Gilardi.

Ivan the Great Bell Tower. View from the Ivanovskaya Square
Ivan the Great Bell Tower. View from the Ivanovskaya Square

The Palace of Facets is the oldest secular building, not only in the Kremlin but in the whole of Moscow.

Built in 1487-91 by MarcoRuffo and Pietro Antonio Solari, it is the only part of the huge complex constituted by the Great Kremlin Palace, the Terem Palaceand associated buildings which has been almost completely preserved inits original form. The name of the palace, which is almost exactly squarein plan, comes from the faceted limestone blocks which pattern the mainfront — a form of rustication which originated in the Early Italian Renaissance.

I like this lions very much.

The Palace of Facets
porch with lions

The Archangel Cathedral, built in 1505-08 by Alevis Novi, was the burial church of the tsars. Here all the Russian princes, grandprinces and tsars from Ivan Kalita onwards had their last resting-place (with the exception of Boris Godunov, who, with his wife, is buried inthe Monastery of the Trinity at Sergiev Posad). The present church was built onthe foundation of an earlier church built by Ivan Kalita in 1333 in thanks giving for relief from famine.

The Archangel Cathedral

Though built at the beginning of the 16th century, the Archangel Cathedral was painted only in the second half of that century. Only part of this painting has survived — in the altar and on the west portal. In 1652-66, a large team of artists from Yaroslavl, Kostroma, and Vologda under direction of Simon Ushakov and Stepan Riazanets paintedthe cathedral's frescoes, repeating the motifs of the sixteenth century painting.

Church of the Deposition was built by Pskovian masters in 1484-85 in thearchitectural style known as Early-Moskovite. The church, which was linkedby a staircase with the Patriarch's Palace, served as the domestic chapel of the metropolitans and patriarchs.

Church of the Deposition
Churche of the Deposition of the Virgine's Robe

Kremlin view from the Moscow river.

Kremlin view from the Moscow river

The Water Supplying (Vodovzvodnaya) Tower had a well and a secret underground passage towards the Moscow river. During the Napoleon’s invasion of 1812, the tower was blown up. Later it was rebuilt.

The Saviour (Spasskaya) Tower (Frolovskaya) is well-known in the whole world. Its gate facing Red Square has always been the main entrance to the Kremlin. The holy gate has always been admired by the Russian people. The Spasskiye Gate was used for royal and patriarchal ceremonial processions as well as foreign ambassadors’ receptions.

The St. Nicholas (Nikolskaya) Tower was blown up when the French invaders were leaving Moscow in 1812 and was rebuilt.

The Water Supplying (Vodovzvodnaya) Tower
The Saviour (Spasskaya) Tower (Frolovskaya)
The St. Nicholas (Nikolskaya) Tower
Garden in the Kremlin.

Garden in the Kremlin.

Garden in the Kremlin.

© Irina Samonova 1999-2020