|Alternative name (s):||Russian Московский Кремль|
The Moscow Kremlin ( Russian Московский Кремль ; wiss. Transliteration Moskovskij Kremlʹ ) is the oldest part of the Russian capital Moscow and its historical center. The original castle on the Moskva River , dating from the Middle Ages , was rebuilt as a citadel from the end of the 15th century . It served the Grand Dukes of Moscow until the 16th century and then the Russian tsars until the relocation of the capital to Saint Petersburg at the beginning of the 18th century . In the Middle Ages and early modern times , the Kremlin was also the seat of the metropolitans and later patriarchs of Moscow . After the October Revolution in 1918 it again became the center of state power: initially the seat of the Soviet government , since 1992 it has been the official seat of the President of the Russian Federation . The name “Kremlin” is therefore also used as a synonym for the entire Soviet and Russian leadership.
Characteristic of the architectural ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin is its fortification complex , which consists of a triangular boundary wall with 20 towers. Most of it was built between 1485 and 1499 and is well preserved to this day. After its completion, it served several times as a model for similar fortresses that were built in other Russian cities. Inside the Kremlin walls are numerous sacred and secular buildings - cathedrals, palaces and administrative buildings - from different eras. The Kremlin is not least a museum and was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage in 1990 as the political and formerly religious center of Russia . Together with the neighboring Red Square , which is also on this list, the Kremlin is commonly regarded as Moscow's most important landmark.
Geography and traffic
The 27.5 hectare site of the Kremlin is located on the 25-meter-high Borovitsky Hill on the left bank of the Moskva , a 120-meter-wide river from the Volga catchment area . Immediately to the west of the Kremlin, the Neglinnaya River , whose river bed has been continuously in an underground channel since the beginning of the 19th century, flows into the Moscow River. Previously, the Neglinnaja flowed along the western section of the Kremlin wall (exactly where the green areas of the Alexander Gardens are today ) and thus represented one of the two natural bodies of water that washed around the Kremlin and thus offered additional protection against possible attacks. A few hundred meters further downstream - already far from the Kremlin walls - lies the mouth of the Jausa , another tributary of the Moscow River.
Borowitsky Hill, which is often referred to simply as the Kremlin Hill, is a natural elevation that probably got its name from the Old Russian word bor for "coniferous forest". It is one of the seven hills on which today's Moscow city center was built. At the time Moscow was founded, it was in a particularly good strategic location for building a city: it was washed by rivers on two sides and, due to its elevated position, offered its residents not only a relatively high level of security from attackers, but also good protection from floods which happened quite often in Moscow before the construction of the water diversion canal at the end of the 18th century. Geographically, Borowizki Hill is one of the numerous elevations on the Eastern European Plain , in the area of which the entire city area is located.
Today's Kremlin area has approximately the shape of a triangle. Its south side faces the Moskva bank completely, while the west side was previously washed by the Neglinnaja and is now adjacent to the Alexander Garden. The eastern and northeastern sections of the Kremlin wall are joined by the historic Kitai-Gorod district , whose central square is known as Red Square and, alongside the Kremlin, is one of Moscow's two most important tourist attractions. It extends over almost the entire eastern section of the Kremlin wall parallel to it.
The Kremlin is located in the heart of Moscow's historic city center and was the geographic center of the city until July 1, 2012, when the area of the city doubled through the incorporation of the new Novomoskowski and Troitsk administrative districts . The Kremlin is the starting point of all major radial roads that lead in several directions from the center of Moscow. When looking at the Kremlin on the Moscow city map, its position as the core of the urban framework of Moscow is visible, which represents a comparatively symmetrical, “ spider web-like ” link between several larger ring and radial streets. The former are the not completely closed boulevard ring, which circles the Kremlin about one kilometer from its walls, furthermore the garden ring, which runs a good kilometer further outside, and the three Moscow ring roads (the third traffic ring , which is not yet complete expanded fourth traffic ring and finally the MKAD ring, which largely coincides with the city limits ). The most important radial roads, which have their starting point in front of the Kremlin walls, include Tverskaya Street, which begins at Red Square (which merges into the M10 trunk road to Tver and St. Petersburg ), and Vosdvischenka, which begins immediately west of the Kremlin (which is around 500 meters further west into the New Arbat and out of town into the mainline M1 to Smolensk , Minsk and Warsaw ) as well as the M3 road to Kaluga , Brjansk and Kiev, which begins at the southwest corner of the Kremlin walls .
In addition to a road traffic junction, there are a large number of public transport stops and stations in the immediate vicinity of the Kremlin. In front of the Kutafja Tower , today's main entrance to the Kremlin, the entrances to four stations of the Moscow Metro are located , and another eight underground stations are also within walking distance of the Kremlin and Red Square.
The ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin consists on the one hand of the fortification complex, which includes the walls and watchtowers from the late 15th century, and on the other hand of the totality of the buildings, monuments, streets and squares within these fortress walls.
The entire course of the dark red brick Kremlin wall is 2235 meters long. Depending on the respective topographical conditions, it has a height of 5 to 19 meters and is at least 3.5 meters thick, regardless of the towers built into it; In individual places that were considered particularly vulnerable to attack in the Middle Ages, the thickness of the Kremlin wall is up to 6.5 meters. In addition to the actual wall, the 20 Kremlin towers are part of the fortification complex of the citadel. With the exception of the tsar's tower, which was only erected in 1680 for purely decorative purposes, all towers were built at the same time as the wall. When they were built, they had a purely defensive function and were only increased for representational purposes in the 17th century, when the importance of the Kremlin as a fortress was gradually declining, and were equipped with their characteristic tent roofs and spiers. All 20 Kremlin towers are different in shape and height, although there are several towers that look very similar on superficial comparison. The highest tower is the Trinity Tower in the middle of the western wall section, which, including the spire and the crowning red star, has a height of 80 meters.
Four Kremlin towers have through gates in their base section, through which the entrance to the Kremlin takes place today. These are the Borowizki Tower and the Trinity Tower on the western section of the wall as well as the Nikolaus Tower and the Redeemer Tower on the side facing the Red Square. Visitors can enter and exit the Kremlin through the first two gates, while the two entrances on Red Square are currently reserved for staff from the Kremlin authorities and soldiers from the Kremlin garrison.
The area of today's Kremlin, which is surrounded by the fortress wall, has been almost triangular in shape with three points pointing north, south-west and south-east since it was built at the end of the 15th century.
Some of the structures on the Kremlin territory stand directly on the Kremlin wall or - according to the arsenal - are even built onto it. Only the southern section of the wall, which extends along the Moskva, does not have any additional buildings today. There extends the so-called Secret Passage Garden ( Тайницкий сад ) on the slopes from the top of the hill to the shore , the largest green space on the Kremlin grounds, which is named after one of the watchtowers on the southern section of the wall. A part of the upper area of this garden that has been developed as a decorative park is open to the public, while the areas immediately next to the Kremlin wall are currently used exclusively for official purposes. There are also some small commercial and administrative buildings that have no architectural preservation value and therefore do not belong to the actual Kremlin ensemble.
A large part of the Kremlin buildings are a little further behind the walls and are separated by streets and squares, which, like all other Moscow streets and squares, have their own names. Well-known places in the Kremlin include the two places accessible to tourists: Ivan Square and Cathedral Square (Russian Ивановская площадь or Соборная площадь ). The former, named after the church of St. John (Ivan) Klimakos , which once stood here , is primarily known for its historical significance: From the 14th to the 17th century it was the largest and most important Moscow square for gatherings and public festivals; here, among other things, tsarist decrees were announced to the people. The cathedral square is known for its self-contained architectural ensemble: Here are the five preserved ecclesiastical churches with the Assumption of the Virgin, the Archangel Michael and the Annunciation Cathedral as well as the Church of the Deposition of the Virgin's Robe and the bell tower of Ivan the Great Buildings of the Kremlin. Geographically, the Cathedral Square also forms the center of the Kremlin grounds and the highest point on Kremlin Hill.
The network of paths within the Kremlin essentially comprises four main streets that connect the core of the fortress including Ivan Square and Cathedral Square with their through gates. The Borowizki Road (Russ. Боровицкая улица ) leading from the Gate of Borowizki-tower along the secret passage garden, past the armory and the main building of the Grand Kremlin Palace, the Ivan square. There it turns into Redeemer Street ( Спасская улица ), which connects Ivan Square with the Redeemer Tower and thus also Red Square. Nikolausstraße ( Никольская улица ) branches off from Ivanplatz in a northerly direction to the Nikolaus Tower; opposite each other are the two 18th century buildings of the arsenal and the senate palace as well as the small senate square ( Сенатская площадь ) named after the latter . Iwanplatz ends in the west at the Dreifaltigkeitsturm. Borovitsky Street connects it and the Trinity Tower with another street, which is named Palace Street ( Дворцовая улица ) after the Great Kremlin Palace located nearby . The square at the intersection of Palace and Borowizkistraße, closed from the south by a cast iron fence, is sometimes referred to as Palace Square ( Дворцовая площадь ) or Kaiserplatz ( Императорская площадь ).
Accessibility for tourists
Since the Moscow Kremlin became public again in the middle of the 20th century after a 30-year break, it has simultaneously fulfilled two key functions: on the one hand, it is the official seat of the Russian President (or was the seat of the Soviet government until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 ), on the other but an open air museum and a tourist attraction. Due to its function as the presidential seat, the Kremlin is a particularly secure area that - in contrast to Red Square, the Alexander Garden and other outdoor areas - is only accessible to the public with certain restrictions. Tourists can enter the Kremlin via the two entrances at the Kutafja and Borowitsky towers and must pass a security check . Larger bags and rucksacks are not allowed into the Kremlin territory. There is a fee to enter the Kremlin; A regular admission ticket costs 500 rubles (as of November 2015; the equivalent of around seven euros). B. for schoolchildren, students or retirees. A separate ticket must be purchased to visit the armory and the exhibitions in the Patriarch's Palace.
A number of areas within the Kremlin are generally closed to the public. This applies above all to the building complex around the Senate Palace, which is part of the President's official residence, but also to Palaststrasse, where the Kremlin headquarters are located. A number of buildings - including the Senate Palace, the Arsenal and all the Kremlin towers - are currently also blocked and can only be viewed from the outside. In addition to the Kremlin headquarters, the FSO, which is responsible for the personal protection of the president, is responsible for the security of the Kremlin and the surrounding areas . The Kremlin garrison located in the arsenal building , which is sometimes referred to as the Presidential or Kremlin Regiment (Russian Кремлёвский полк ), is also under its leadership . In addition to guarding the Kremlin objects, it also fulfills purely representative purposes: its soldiers keep watch of honor at the war memorial with the grave of the unknown soldier in the Alexander Garden and accompany important state ceremonies with solemn parades. The regiment also includes a cavalry unit that regularly organizes changing of the guard shows on the Kremlin's Cathedral Square in the summer months.
The emergence of the actual Kremlin is closely connected with the founding and further development of the city of Moscow, which probably took place in the 11th or 12th century. In spite of this, the existence of much older human settlements on Borowizki Hill has been proven in several excavations. Traces of the Finno-Ugric Merja people from the Iron Age were found on parts of today's Kremlin . The settlement of the banks of the Moskva with Slavic peoples, who can be described as the ancestors of today's Russians , did not begin until the end of the 1st millennium. At that time, numerous settlers from southern areas of the Kievan Rus opened up the very wooded areas of the Eastern European Plain around the Volga and rivers from their catchment area, which were previously unexplored . Their first settlements in what is now Moscow's urban area can be identified to this day mainly on the basis of numerous barrows (so-called Kurganen ). Objects and remains of fortifications - including traces of an artificial moat up to nine meters deep and 3.8 m wide - from the time before the Christianization of Rus (end of the 10th century) have also been found directly on Borowitski Hill .
When the first cities and smaller states (principalities) gradually began to form across the European part of today's Russia from around the 10th century, a fortified settlement could also have arisen on the banks of the Moskva between the mouths of the Neglinnaja and Jausa rivers can be regarded as the first Russian forerunner of the Kremlin. The Kremlin Hill was very well suited for this: the plot of land on a natural elevation, which was washed by rivers on two sides and was originally noticeably higher and steeper than today, had a strategically and defensively favorable location. The exact time when the fortification was built cannot be determined today. Officially, the year 1147 is considered to be the founding year of Moscow, but Moscow was mentioned in written documents of that year as a place that had already existed for a longer time.
The emergence of both the Kremlin and the actual city of Moscow can only be clearly demonstrated from documents from the later 12th century. One of these dates from 1147 and is also considered the city's founding document: There is talk of a pompous ceremony that the Suzdal Grand Duke Juri Dolgoruki (literally "the long-handed") over in Moscow, supposedly founded by him, on the occasion of a military victory Organized parts of the then Novgorod Republic . Therefore, the date of creation of the Kremlin is generally assumed to be 1156, when, according to a document from the Principality of Tver , Yuri Dolgoruki had his newly founded city expanded as a castle in the fight against rival principalities.
Since nothing of the original structures of the Kremlin has survived today, conclusions about the possible appearance of the castle in the 12th century can only be drawn on the basis of archaeological finds. Apparently the enclosure, like other defensive structures, was made of wood, as stone fortresses in Russian countries only began to be built a few centuries later. The total length of the enclosure was probably only around 500 meters; thus the size of the castle grounds was much smaller than it is today and was limited to a small triangle in the area of the Neglinnaja estuary. Exactly there, in the southwestern part of today's Kremlin, the remains of wooden stakes from the Kremlin wall of the 12th century were discovered in the middle of the 19th century when the armory was being built .
The name Kremlin did not appear in documents at that time, instead the fortified place on the Moskva was simply called the city (Russian город ). The term Kremlin probably only began to gain acceptance from the 14th century. Its origin is suspected most often in Russian or in Urslavic ; fortified cores of larger old Russian cities were sometimes referred to as krom , krem or kremnik (for example, the old town center of Pskov was also called krom ). But there are also hypotheses that assume that the term comes from a foreign language: One of them says, for example, that the Kremlin was derived from the ancient Greek word krimnos for "steep [river] bank", which allegedly Byzantine guests brought to Moscow .
Due to frequent fires and attacks, the wooden fortifications were not permanent and had to be rebuilt again and again. It is known, for example, that the Kremlin was burned down by the Ryazan prince Gleb Rostislavich in 1179, only about 20 years after its presumed formation . In the 13th century Moscow was attacked several times, for example in 1238 by the Tatar Khan Batu and again in 1293 by Tatars under Tohtu . Both times the castle was devastated and its structures destroyed or badly damaged.
The first radical renewal of the Kremlin began in 1339 under Grand Duke Ivan I. "Kalita" . The obsolete castle, which had been damaged many times in previous attacks and fires (1331 and 1337), was demolished in order to build a new Kremlin in its place. Its walls, which are now around 1670 meters long, were built from solid oak and additionally clad with clay for better protection from fire . The facilities were completed at the beginning of 1340 after a construction period of only a few months. In addition, Ivan had a wooden palace built for the grand prince in the Kremlin. A good decade earlier, in 1327, the first stone church building was erected in the Kremlin with the Assumption Cathedral, the first predecessor of today 's Kremlin Cathedral of the same name . Incidentally, the Moscow Metropolitan Peter was the first Russian head of the church to have a residence built in the Kremlin at the same time, marking the beginning of the Kremlin as the center of power for the Russian Orthodox Church .
The wooden Kremlin from the reign of Ivan Kalita is the first forerunner of today's Kremlin, the structure and structure of which are roughly known to this day. In terms of extent, its area was much larger than in the 12th century and took up about two thirds of today's Kremlin territory. Even then, Moscow itself was no longer limited to the Kremlin: More and more small traders' and craftsmen's settlements sprang up around it, which a few decades later were protected from possible attacks by an additional fortification wall. Both handicrafts and supraregional trade flourished there, which was greatly favored by the location on the Moskva, which is navigable here. The most famous of the settlements today on the left bank of the Moscow River in front of the Kremlin walls was the suburb of Kitai-Gorod immediately east of the Kremlin. Its central market square - later known as Red Square - still adjoins the Kremlin to the east and is very closely connected to it in its historical development.
First stone kremlin
After the death of Ivan Kalita in 1340, his wooden Kremlin was to stand for another 25 years, until a particularly devastating conflagration occurred in 1365, in which large parts of the oak walls collapsed. Since Moscow was still at war against several neighboring principalities at the time, the castle had to be rebuilt quickly. This was initiated by the then Moscow ruler, Grand Duke Dmitri Donskoy . Construction began in the spring of 1367. To protect against the frequent fires, it was first decided to build the new Kremlin out of stone instead of wood. For this purpose, large quantities of white limestone were processed, which was quarried in numerous natural quarries in the Moscow area .
The walls, which were completed in 1367, were somewhat similar to today's Kremlin walls - for the first time they were provided with fortified towers in strategically important places. Some of them stood on the foundations of the wooden predecessor kreml and, due to their white building fabric, gave Moscow the nickname Belokammennaja , which is still used today , literally meaning “city made of white stone” or “white city”. With the exception of the northernmost tip, the fortified city center of Moscow, built under Dmitri Donskoy, corresponded to today's Kremlin; the total length of the walls was almost 2000 meters.
The new, white stone Kremlin existed for more than a century with a few modifications and additions and thus proved to be much more durable than all its wooden predecessors. The residents and defenders of the castle succeeded in repelling several enemy attacks in the late 14th and 15th centuries. In 1368 and 1370, only a short time after the completion of the citadel, the Lithuanian prince Algirdas failed twice because of the strength of the Kremlin and the resistance of the Muscovites. However, Moscow's defense against the Tatar Khan Toktamish in 1382 was less successful : after a three-day, initially unsuccessful siege, his troops succeeded in outwitting the city defenders and penetrated into the Kremlin. There were over 20,000 deaths among the inmates; the white stone Kremlin suffered considerable damage. It was largely restored in the 1390s; At the same time, new stone churches were built there, among them the Church of Our Lady of the Nativity in 1393, the replica of which was built in 1514 and is still preserved today as one of the house churches of the Terem Palace .
The Kremlin takes its present form
A considerable part of the existing structure of the Moscow Kremlin dates from the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th century, when the fortifications were completely rebuilt and a number of new structures were added within the Kremlin, some of which also exist today. It was the reign of Grand Duke Ivan III. who no longer saw the old castle, which had since become dilapidated in many places, as appropriate to its role. The reason for this was, on the one hand, the considerable resurgence of the Moscow state, which now united all the former Russian principalities and was finally able to free itself from the centuries-long Mongol-Tatar invasion by 1480 . On the other hand, Ivan's marriage to the Byzantine imperial niece Sofia Palaiologa in 1472 also played a role: Because of this marriage, Ivan III saw himself. as the legal heir of the rulers of the fallen Byzantine Empire, which is why his Moscow residence should now be lavishly expanded as an important center of Orthodox Christianity (so-called " Third Rome "). This prompted Ivan to invite several builders from Italy, among others, to Moscow, the country where his wife Sofia grew up and whose architects already enjoyed a high reputation in Russia at that time , for the construction of the new fortress .
The under Ivan III. The renovation and expansion of the Kremlin, which had been initiated and was probably the most extensive up to that point, lasted practically its entire reign, i.e. for over 40 years from 1462 to 1505. One of the first buildings to be built is today's Cathedral of the Assumption , which will be completed in 1479 could. It was built on the site of the cathedral of the same name that had collapsed a few years earlier, which in turn was to replace its predecessor built in 1337. For their new building, Ivan III committed. with Aristotele Fioravanti from Bologna for the first time an Italian architect. He and a few other masters invited from Italy - including Pietro Antonio Solari , Marco Ruffo and Aloisio Lamberti da Montagnana - created a large number of the Kremlin buildings during Ivan's reign, including above all the entire fortification including walls and defensive towers.
This wall, which was erected between 1485 and 1499, is essentially the Kremlin wall that has survived to this day, and the towers that were erected at the same time are the same - although mostly heavily rebuilt over the centuries. For the first time in Moscow's urban history , the Italian building professionals, who, when building Moscow's city fortifications, were based not least on comparable structures in their home country - including the Milanese Castello Sforzesco - used brick , which the Kremlin still has its typical dark red color - instead of formerly white - gives. The towers were built within firing range from each other; Their tent roofs and spikes, which are characteristic of today, were not given until the end of the 17th century. In order to protect the fortress from fires and to improve its defensive capabilities, Ivan III. It is forbidden to build wooden houses within a radius of a good 200 meters outside the wall; Existing buildings were also relocated soon after.
Within the Kremlin walls, among the buildings that were built at the end of the 15th century, in addition to the Dormition Cathedral, the sumptuously furnished Facetted Palace , which today belongs to the ensemble of the Great Kremlin Palace , which was only completed in the 19th century, should be mentioned . Built in 1491 by Marco Ruffo and Pietro Antonio Solari as an addition to a Grand Duke's Palace that already existed at the time and is no longer preserved, the Facetted Palace served the Grand Duke as a representative location for ceremonial receptions and state acts. Around the same time, today's ensemble of the Kremlin's Cathedral Square was largely completed: the Assumption Cathedral and the Faceted Palace were joined by the Church of the Deposition of the Robes (completed in 1486), the Cathedral of the Annunciation (1489), the Archangels Michael Cathedral (1508) and finally the bell tower Ivan the Great (1508).
Ivan III. The expansion of the Kremlin initiated - with interruptions due to frequent fires - continued beyond his death until about 1516, when an artificial moat was laid along the eastern section of the Kremlin wall bordering Red Square from the Neglinnaya to the Moskva has been. This trench, which was around 32 meters wide and 12 meters deep and fed with artificially dammed water from the Neglinnaja, was built by the Italian Aloisio Lamberti da Montagnana - in Russia at that time simply called Alewis (the new one) , which is why the trench was also his Name Alewis-Graben received. Until the beginning of the 19th century, when the trench was filled in, it provided the Kremlin with additional protection from the east side, where there were no natural waters. With the completion of the major renovation by Ivan III. the Moscow Kremlin was surrounded by water on all three sides, so that the fortress could only be entered via special cable bridges that were folded up in the event of an attack. In addition, the expansion of the Kremlin area reached its present-day proportions.
In the further course of the 16th century - as under Ivan IV "the terrible" , when the Moscow principality expanded territorially and was finally declared a unified tsarist Russia in 1547 , making the Kremlin the residence of Russian tsars - there was comparatively little building activity on the Kremlin grounds. Individual smaller, no longer preserved church and residential buildings were built, as well as the Golden Imperial Chamber , which was later almost completely closed, and the extension to the Ivan the Great bell tower known today as the Uspenski bell stalls. The Moscow Kremlin, which was considered to be closed at the time, served as a model for a number of other Russian cities, which, due to their location near the border, knew how to protect themselves by building similarly constructed citadels. Kremlins in Rostov am See , Tula , Serpukhov and other Russian cities were built on the Moscow model . Some of these former fortresses have been preserved to this day, at least in part. The fortification wall with towers of the Trinity Monastery of Sergiev Posad , which was then the most important Russian Orthodox monastery, was built in the 1550s, and its structure was based heavily on the wall of the Moscow Kremlin.
The Kremlin in the 17th century
At the beginning of the 17th century, Tsar Boris Godunov planned new ambitious construction projects in the Kremlin during his short reign (1598–1605), of which only the extension of the Ivan the Great bell tower around its current peak and the construction of a new Tsar's palace, which is located in the Was demolished in 1770s, could be realized. A few years later, all construction activity in Moscow and other Russian cities came to a halt when large parts of the Russian tsarism were ruled by Polish-Lithuanian invaders. During this period from 1598 to 1613, known as Smuta , the Kremlin also suffered from temporary damage when its buildings were damaged in fighting and a large number of treasures and works of art were stolen from the Kremlin churches. Any restoration work on existing and construction work on new structures could only commence during the reign of the first tsar from the Romanov dynasty, Michael I. So in 1624 he had the bell tower of Ivan the Great extended by an additional side tower with a tent roof, the so-called Philaret extension . In 1621, the Kremlin's most important watchtower - the Savior Tower, in which the main entrance from Red Square was located - was the first Kremlin tower to be rebuilt and extended. Later, not until the end of the century, most of the other Kremlin towers were rebuilt in a similar way, preserving their decorative tent roof constructions , which are characteristic to this day .
Another striking new building in the 17th century Kremlin was built in the years 1635–1636: This is the Terem Palace , which today belongs to the Great Kremlin Palace and which served as the residence of Russian tsars and their family members until the end of the century. Finally, the buildings of the Twelve Apostles Church and the living and working residence of the Moscow Patriarch should be mentioned in a coherent building complex . They were completed in 1656 and since then have been able to express the importance of the Kremlin not only as the residence of secular rulers, but also as the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church .
As the oldest and centrally located part of the tsarist capital Moscow, which has now grown far beyond the old fortress walls in all directions, the Kremlin was not only a place of residence for the tsarist family and the head of the church. One of the most famous Russian Orthodox monasteries at the time had been located there since the 14th century - the Chudov Monastery , which fell victim to the communists' demolition campaign at the beginning of the 20th century. In the 17th century, the Kremlin was therefore considered a highly venerated place of pilgrimage, whose main entrance gate in the Redeemer Tower could only be passed on foot and with the head uncovered. But it was also the center of public life for the Muscovites; State and folk festivals were held here, and here the tsars appeared before the people on special occasions or had their edicts and other important announcements announced to the people. In the 17th century, apart from the tsar and clergy, the privilege of living in the Kremlin was only reserved for particularly wealthy and venerable nobles ( boyars ) and their families. The only example of a boyar house of that time that has survived in the Kremlin is the so-called Lustpalast from 1651, which originally served as the residential building of the Miloslawski family and was rebuilt a few years later as one of the first Russian theatrical performance venues for the "amusement" of the tsarist family .
The Kremlin from the 18th to the 19th centuries
of today's Kremlin structures
|construction time||building||Conversion / expansion|
|1484-86||Church of the Deposition of the Robe|
|1484-89||Cathedral of the Annunciation||1564|
|1485-99||Fortification wall and towers||17th-19th Century|
|1505-08||Archangel Michael Cathedral||18th century|
|1505-08||Ivan the Great Bell Tower||1543, 1600, 1823|
|End of the 16th century||Golden Imperial Chamber|
|1651-52||Pleasure palace||u. a. 1875|
|1838-49||Great Kremlin Palace, main building|
|1960-61||State Kremlin Palace|
The beginning of the 18th century marked two historical events for the Kremlin. On the one hand, the then Tsar Peter I "the Great" , who a few years later declared himself the first emperor of the Russian Empire , which now extended far into the Asian hinterland , had the new capital of this empire relocated from Moscow to the newly founded St. Petersburg the Kremlin lost its status as the tsarist residence. On the other hand, the fortress was ravaged by one of the most momentous major fires in its history in 1701, in which a large part of the wooden structures that remained there were destroyed. Regardless of the damage was this fire a new boost to the construction activity in the Kremlin: At the western section of the Kremlin wall a bigger plot was exposed, in St. Peter's soon to build a weapons warehouse (or, as he called it himself, an " armory ") possessed. This is how the construction of today's arsenal building , which is one of the most striking Kremlin structures of the 18th century, began. However, due to the financial difficulties caused by the Great Northern War , construction went only slowly, so that the arsenal could not be completed until 1736.
Under Empress Elisabeth , a new Moscow residence of the Russian tsar was built in 1753 on the Kremlin site, near the southern section of the wall, which is the immediate predecessor of today's Great Kremlin Palace . In 1787, the Senate Palace , today's core of the official residence of the Russian President , was another architecturally attractive building in the Kremlin near the arsenal. The Senate Palace was also the only major building project in the Moscow Kremlin that was realized under Catherine II "the great" . In addition, Katharina planned a radical renovation of the Kremlin including the construction of a new imperial residence of huge dimensions, which should give way to a large number of old buildings. Although the plans had to be discarded in the 1770s due to a lack of money and severe criticism, among other things, parts of the southern Kremlin wall had already been demolished in preparation for construction. While these sections of the wall were restored a few years later, several historical buildings in the southern part of the Kremlin that had also been demolished beforehand - including the former palace of Tsar Boris Godunov - finally disappeared from the cityscape of the Moscow Citadel.
1812, the Kremlin ensemble was again substantial destruction of it than the entire city of Moscow during the Russian campaign of Napoleon Bonaparte temporarily under French was occupation. During the stay of Napoleon's troops on the Kremlin grounds, a large number of church treasures were stolen or damaged because the soldiers used the Kremlin cathedrals as barracks or horse stables. The Kremlin was hit even harder when the French army had to retreat: In revenge for his defeat, Napoléon wanted to blow up the entire Kremlin, including the fortifications and other architectural monuments. The area was mined, but there were only a few explosions due to the heavy rain and the bitter resistance of the residents. Nevertheless, several Kremlin towers were badly damaged, the tent roof of some of them collapsed, and there was also considerable damage to the Ivan the Great bell tower, the Faceted Palace and the arsenal building, which was recently restored after a fire. Reconstruction work on the Kremlin continued well into the 1830s. The architect Joseph Bové directed a large number of them . He also completely redesigned the immediate vicinity of the Kremlin: the Neglinnaya river bed was moved into an underground canal, where it is still located today, and the Alexander Garden , an elongated public park with flower beds , was built in its place along the western section of the Kremlin wall a decorative grotto. Red Square was also redesigned, with the old Alewis moat along the Kremlin wall being filled in in favor of a new promenade .
At the end of the reconstruction work in the Kremlin, work began on building a new Moscow residence for Russian tsars, precisely where the grand duke's and tsar's chambers had stood since the 14th century, most recently the palace from 1753, which was also heavily damaged in 1812 Tsar Nicholas I commissioned the well-known city architect Konstantin Thon , who built a new neoclassical imperial residence between 1844 and 1851 , which, together with the existing buildings of the Facet and Terem Palaces, forms today's ensemble of the Great Kremlin Palace . Almost at the same time, Thon built the stylistically linked new building of the armory to the left of the new tsar's residence , which was connected to the palace by a covered gallery.
Konstantin Thon's projects represented the last major construction activities in the Kremlin in the 19th century and gave the southern part of the Kremlin, facing the Moskva River, the shape it has preserved until today, apart from a few fine details. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Kremlin with its two monasteries - the Chudov and the Ascension Monastery - was above all one of the most important Orthodox pilgrimage sites. Regardless of the relocation of the capital of the tsarist to Saint Petersburg, the Kremlin also remained one of the centers of state power in the 18th and 19th centuries, because all important state acts - including the solemn coronation ceremonies - continued to take place in the Moscow Kremlin. In addition, the Kremlin was still a comprehensive museum complex in the times of the Tsars, a visit to which was considered mandatory for every visitor to Moscow and which was almost entirely accessible to the public. The latter, however, changed after 1917.
The Kremlin in Soviet times
For Moscow, the October Revolution of 1917 was not only associated with the decisive social upheaval and the end of the Russian Empire, but also bitter struggles lasting several days, from which the Kremlin ensemble in particular suffered. After anti-Bolshevik forces managed to temporarily regain control of the Kremlin on October 28th (new style on November 10th), Red Guard units besieged the fortress and bombarded it with artillery . By the time the Kremlin was finally captured on November 2, several buildings were visibly damaged: several Kremlin towers - including the Redeemer Tower and its clock tower - were severely damaged in some cases, and there was also considerable damage to the complex of the Chudov Monastery and the Virgin Mary Sleeping Cathedral. After the end of the fighting, the so-called revolutionary necropolis was laid out in front of the eastern Kremlin wall on Red Square for the 250 or so Red Guards who died at the time , where other prominent revolutionaries and statesmen of the Soviet Union were later buried.
The following years marked further significant changes in the history of the Moscow Kremlin. The new Soviet Russian government, including the revolutionary leader Lenin , moved in a secret night-and-fog operation on March 12, 1918 from Saint Petersburg (at that time called Petrograd) to Moscow, as the new rulers wanted better protection behind the walls of the Kremlin hoped for possible uprisings, coups d'état or foreign intervention. After two centuries, Moscow regained the capital city status that it still has today. Several Kremlin buildings - including the former commandant's seat at the Pleasure Palace, the barracks in the arsenal and also parts of the Great Kremlin Palace - were used as homes for statesmen and their relatives and servants. Lenin also had work rooms and a small apartment set up in the Senate Palace of the Kremlin. This apartment, including the original furnishings, was retained after Lenin's death and was open as a museum until the 1990s.
For the Kremlin, which was now again the seat of state power, the entry of the government not only brought a rapid reconstruction of the structures damaged during the fighting. As a highly secured residence, the Kremlin closed its gates to the general public in 1927 and has not been entered without a permit since then. All clergy resident in the Kremlin were also expelled from there in the course of the 1920s. The two monasteries on the Kremlin grounds, which were badly damaged during the fighting in 1917 - the Chudov and Ascension Monasteries - were initially closed as part of the Bolsheviks ' anti-religious campaign , which also fell victim to a large number of other sacred buildings across Russia, and finally demolished in 1929. The new building of the military school for commanders of the Red Army was built in the neoclassical style on the vacated property by 1934 . Today it is known as the Kremlin Administration Building (also known as Building 14 ) and is part of the Presidential Residence within the Kremlin.
Under Lenin's successor Josef Stalin , who also had an apartment furnished in the Senate Palace of the Kremlin, further demolitions and architecturally not always successful renovations were carried out on old buildings. In 1933 the Great Kremlin Palace was prepared as a conference venue, for which purpose one of the oldest Kremlin structures to be preserved - the neighboring Church of the Savior in the woods from the 1330s - was demolished and two historical parade halls were merged into one large conference room within the palace. From 1935 to 1937, the gilded double-headed eagles from the time of the tsars were removed from the tops of the four towers of the Kremlin and replaced with Soviet stars made of red ruby glass , which were to symbolize the new ideology and the victory of the socialist revolution. Such a star was also placed at the top of the water tower, visible from afar, at the southwest corner of the Kremlin wall.
During the Battle of Moscow in World War II and the frequent air raids on Moscow at the time , the damage to the Kremlin remained comparatively minor, as the fortress was well protected by building camouflage and additional anti-aircraft systems. The moveable treasures, including exhibits from the armory, were evacuated into the Soviet hinterland as a precautionary measure before the war began. In spite of this, there were isolated cases of property damage and personal injury: on August 12, 1941, a bomb hit the arsenal, killing 20 soldiers, and the bombing on October 29 of the same year left 41 dead and over 100 injured in the Kremlin.
After Stalin's death, his comparatively liberal successor, Nikita Khrushchev, relaxed the Kremlin's visiting regulations: From 1955 onwards, the ensemble within the Kremlin walls could again be entered and viewed free of charge by the public. The last remaining service apartments on the Kremlin territory were also closed by 1961. Large parts of the ensemble were turned into a museum, on the basis of which the Kremlin received the highest possible Russian monument protection status of a state museum reserve three decades later .
With the Congress Palace of the Moscow Kremlin, known today as the State Kremlin Palace , the youngest building on the Kremlin grounds was built during the reign of Khrushchev. It replaced the Great Kremlin Palace as the central meeting place of the CPSU and is now mainly used for cultural events. Since the completion of the Congress Palace in 1961, nothing new has been built on the Kremlin site; only restoration work has been carried out on existing structures, for example in the 1970s in the run-up to the XXII. Olympic games .
From the end of the 20th century to the present
With the opening of the Soviet Union during the perestroika period in the late 1980s, the Kremlin's importance as an important tourist attraction in the country increased increasingly for foreign visitors as well. Despite the damage to the substance of the historical ensemble caused by the construction and demolition campaigns of the 20th century, which can usually not be repaired, the Kremlin - together with the neighboring Red Square - was therefore the first building on Russian territory to be included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage was added. It was included in December 1990 on the basis of a recommendation by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) from the previous year. As a national cultural heritage, the Kremlin, along with other objects recognized as such, is under special protection under the 2002 Law on Objects of the Cultural Heritage of the Peoples of Russia .
In the 1990s and 2000s, further restoration work was carried out in the Kremlin with the aim of preserving the historical substance as an open-air museum . Some interventions in the ensemble from the Soviet era have been reversed, for example the two parade halls in the Great Kremlin Palace, which had been dismantled in the 1930s, were faithfully restored. Even if the Kremlin is currently only partially open to the public as the presidential residence, as the oldest part of Moscow it remains the undisputed most important tourist attraction with around two million visitors annually.
The Kremlin is currently playing a certain role again in Moscow's spiritual life, although today it is no longer, as was the case before the October Revolution, a place of pilgrimage for Orthodox believers. The four most important preserved church buildings of the Kremlin - the Assumption of the Virgin, the Archangel Michael and the Annunciation Cathedral as well as the Church of the Deposition of the Virgin - were returned to the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church in the early 1990s and Today they no longer serve exclusively as museums, but also as places of worship, in which solemn liturgies and services with the participation of the Moscow Patriarch and often high government members take place on certain church holidays.
In addition to the fortifications from the late 15th century, today's architectural ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin consists of 15 individual buildings that are either part of the residence of the Russian President (Senate Palace, Administration Building , Great Kremlin Palace), the commandant's office or the garrison of the Kremlin ( Arsenal, Lustpalast) or have museum status and are therefore accessible to tourists (all five sacred buildings, patriarchal palace, armory).
Wall and towers
The roughly triangular area of today's Moscow Kremlin, which, in its extension, resembles that of Grand Duke Ivan III. The Kremlin, built at the end of the 15th century, is surrounded by a red brick wall. Along its entire course, this wall is supplemented by 19 towers built onto or into it, 18 of which are towers and the wall itself also under Ivan III. were built between 1485 and 1499. The fortification complex of the Kremlin also included an artificial moat, which was filled in in the 19th century, along the Red Square, as well as several folding wooden bridges that led either over this moat or over the Neglinnaya River to the towers with through gates. Of this part of the fortification, only the Kutafja tower outside the Kremlin wall and a brick arch bridge that connects it with the Trinity Tower in the Kremlin wall have been preserved.
Characteristic of the Kremlin wall, which is now inaccessible to tourists, is its closely spaced, almost tooth-shaped tips on the outside. These two-meter-high architectural elements of the wall were originally used to set up artillery pieces in case the Kremlin was defended from the inside. Behind the peaks, invisible from the outside, runs an open gallery up to 4.5 meters wide, from which it is theoretically possible to reach the interior of each tower by stairs.
Of the 18 watchtowers on the wall, which were built between 1485 and 1499, the four towers that still have a through gate and the three corner towers, each of which the wall bends, are particularly noteworthy. The former are the Borowizki , Trinity , Nicholas and Savior towers, the three corner towers are the water train tower , the Arsenal corner tower and the Beklemischew tower . Since the through towers of the Kremlin were traditionally regarded as the most representative in its ensemble, in the 17th century they were each adorned with a gold-plated double-headed eagle symbolizing the tsarist empire. From 1935 to 1937, at the time of the Soviet Union , these double-headed eagles were replaced by red-glass, internally illuminated Soviet stars at the behest of the Bolshevik rulers, which adorn these four towers and the water towing tower to this day. Of the four through towers, the Savior Tower, which rises on the section of the wall in front of Red Square, is the best known: Its gate served as the most important Kremlin entrance until the beginning of the 20th century, which the tsars also passed during state acts and celebrations. Since 1709 the upper part of this tower has been adorned with a representative tower clock with an originally Dutch, very elaborate clockwork and a carillon that is still active today . The Nikolausturm, a little further north on the Red Square, is best known for its gothic-looking tip decorated with numerous white stone ornaments . These two towers were originally built by Pietro Antonio Solari from Ticino and have undergone several major renovations during their history (the Gothic spire of the St. Nicholas Tower was only erected in 1806). Today most tourists enter the Kremlin via the Trinity Tower on the western section of the Kremlin wall and after a tour of the Kremlin they go out again through the gate of the Borowitsky Tower to the south.
The main peculiarity of the three corner towers is that their base has an (approximately) circular plan, while all the other towers are rectangular. Due to their location, the corner towers always played a very important role in the defense of the fortress, which can be clearly seen from the loopholes in the base for positioning artillery barrels . They also once played a decisive role in the drinking water supply of the Citadel: The Arsenal central tower and Spasskaya Tower, there were wells for groundwater extraction, and Wasserzugturm at the southwestern corner of the Kremlin was built in 1633 a mechanical treatment plant for water from the Moscow River , which the Tower also gave its name, which still exists today.
Of the remaining Kremlin towers, most of the fortifications, which were rebuilt after the end of the 17th century, have a similar structure: a rectangular base is followed by a decorative upper part with a tent roof construction often decorated with dark green roof tiles. Among other things, the secret passage tower on the banks of the Moskva should be mentioned here, which was built in 1485 and is therefore the oldest of all 20 Kremlin towers. There was initially a secret underground passage to the river bank, from which the name of the tower comes. The storm bell tower on the south-eastern section of the wall owes its name to an alarm bell that hung on the tower until the 18th century and was always used in dangerous situations to warn Muscovites. Several smaller Kremlin towers were named until the 18th or 19th century created near her structures on the Kremlin territory, the Rüstkammerturm (after the Kremlin Armory ) and the Senate tower (after the Senate Palace ).
The only Kremlin tower built after the 15th century is the very small Tsar Tower , which is located a few meters south of the Savior Tower. It was only erected in 1680 for decorative purposes only and is - typical for works of old Russian architecture - richly decorated with artistically shaped ornaments and other eye-catching details.
Individual sacred buildings
Of the three cathedrals that characterize the architectural ensemble of Cathedral Square in the center of the Kremlin, the Dormition or, in Russian, the Uspensky Cathedral , is the oldest. It was built 1475–79 and is the oldest fully preserved Building in Moscow and thus also under all Kremlin buildings.
Its first known predecessor was built in the years 1326-27, shortly before the construction of the new wooden Kremlin under Grand Duke Ivan I. After completion, the cathedral served as the house church of the Metropolitan of Moscow, who settled in the predecessor of the later Patriarch's Palace, which was built at the same time. The now dilapidated cathedral was demolished by 1472 and a new building was built in its place. However, this collapsed in May 1474, before completion - possibly due to an earthquake, according to other hypotheses due to structural defects. The then Grand Duke Ivan III, who a few years later had the walls and towers of the fortress rebuilt by Italian masters, engaged the Bolognese Renaissance architect Aristotele Fioravanti for a new attempt . He carried out the construction from 1475 until the consecration on August 15, 1479 and was clearly based on the already existing cathedral of the same name in the old metropolitan residence Vladimir , with which Fioravantis Cathedral has in particular its simple rectangular structure and five-domed end. In individual elements, such as the facades pilasters in the Tuscan order , Fioravanti also linked to Renaissance architecture. The painting of the interior of the cathedral continued into the 16th century.
From its completion to the relocation of the capital to Petersburg, the Assumption Cathedral was considered the court church of the Moscow grand princes and later the Russian tsars. In particular, ceremonies for the coronation celebrations of the tsars took place here - even after the capital city was relocated . From 1589 to 1721, during the existence of the patriarchal office in the Russian Orthodox Church, all Moscow patriarchs were ordained here and almost all of them were buried. From the 16th to the 19th century, the church was damaged several times in fires and military invasions and repeatedly restored. With the advent of Soviet power, the cathedral was closed for services and, like the entire Kremlin, was inaccessible to the public until 1955. Then it was reopened as a museum. Since the 1990s, church services have been held again on certain days.
Large parts of the cathedral's original treasures and works of art are now in the Kremlin Armory and also in Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery . The numerous wall and vault frescoes from the period from the 15th to the 17th century, the iconostasis from 1547, icons, the oldest of which dates from the 12th century, and the 1551 for Iwan have been preserved in whole or in part in the original IV. "the Terrible" manufactured mono Mach throne of intricately carved lime and walnut. Along the walls are tombs and reliquaries of almost all Moscow patriarchs up to the beginning of the 18th century.
Archangel Michael Cathedral
The Archangel Michael Cathedral on the southeast side of the Cathedral Square is best known for the fact that the Moscow Grand Dukes and the Russian Tsars were buried there from the 14th to the 17th centuries. The church, consecrated to the Archangel Michael , venerated as the patron saint of Russian rulers, was built in 1505-08 on the site of a church of the same name from 1333. Like the Dormition Cathedral, the Archangel Michael Cathedral was also built by an Italian building worker in in this case the Milanese Aloisio Lamberti da Montagnana . There were major subsequent alterations and extensions to the cathedral in the late 16th century, when two apses were added to the east facade , and in the 18th century, when the building near the slope to the banks of the Moscow River did not have to be additionally supported slipped.
The architectural style of the cathedral is considered to be a mixture of traditional old Russian sacred architecture and elements of the Italian Renaissance : typical for Russian cathedrals and a. The symmetrical five-domed construction and the semicircular facade ends (so-called sakomary ) are based on the Assumption Cathedral , while the decoration of the facades - including the ornaments stylized after shells in the upper arched niches - is one of the details typical of the Renaissance. Montagnana also leaned the two entrance portals, richly decorated with plants, on the architecture of his home country.
Inside the cathedral, most of which is taken up by the one-story chancel and the former sacristy, wall and vault frescoes from the 17th century stand out, several of which are dedicated to the archangel Michael, who gives the church its name. The four-tier iconostasis with the gilded tsar's gate in the middle also dates from the 17th century. Particularly well-known, however, are the total of around 50 burials of grand dukes, feudal princes, tsars and their closest relatives, marked by large ornamented memorial stones, which are spread over the entire interior of the cathedral. All Moscow grand princes since Ivan Kalita († 1341) and subsequently all tsars before Peter I “the great” (with the exception of Boris Godunov) found their final resting place here. The Russian tsars from Peter the Great - with the exception of Peter II , who also rests in the Archangel Michael Cathedral - were all buried in Saint Petersburg in the Peter and Paul Cathedral there.
Cathedral of the Annunciation
Another historic church building on the Kremlin 's Cathedral Square is the Cathedral of the Annunciation . You can find it on the southwest corner of the square, near Borovitsky Street and directly adjacent to the Great Kremlin Palace.
Around 1291, a wooden church was probably built on the same site for the first time and was consecrated to the Orthodox feast of the Annunciation . It burned down in the 14th century and was replaced by a stone church, which in turn was demolished towards the end of the 15th century. As a result, church builders invited from the Russian city of Pskow began building the current cathedral, which was completed in 1489. Since even then there were rooms of the Moscow Grand Dukes in the immediate vicinity of the church, in place of today's Great Kremlin Palace, the latter used the Annunciation Cathedral as their house church and had a transition gallery built from the palace directly into the cathedral. In the middle of the 16th century the church was expanded considerably at the behest of Ivan the Terrible , the first crowned Russian tsar. Until the Terem Palace was built in 1635–1636, the Annunciation Cathedral served the tsars as a house church.
In the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, the cathedral had to be rebuilt or restored several times because it was repeatedly affected by fires and fighting. Today, like the other two Kremlin cathedrals, it is primarily a museum; Church services also take place occasionally, for example on the feast of the Annunciation.
The church, clad in white on its façades, now has nine onion domes (originally there were only three). A staircase is built onto the south facade, which was built in the 1570s at the request of Ivan the Terrible. The cathedral can currently only be entered through the staircase on the east side. The interior is divided into side galleries and the main altar room, which are separated from each other by artfully ornamented portals. The five-tier iconostasis in the chancel is one of the main attractions; on it are also exhibited icons attributed to famous painters such as Andrei Rublev or Theophanes the Greek . Both the chancel and the galleries are extensively decorated with wall and vault frescos from the early 16th century.
Church of the Deposition of the Robe
The Church of the Deposition of the Robe , the smallest of the four churches on the Cathedral Square, stands on its west side and in the immediate vicinity of the Faceted Palace, the former house churches of the Terem Palace, the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin and the Patriarch's Palace. Like the Annunciation Cathedral, this church was built by local Pskov builders around the same time (1486). It has a simple shape, which is extremely slim compared to the neighboring cathedrals and is closed at the top by a single church tower crowned with a helmet-shaped gilded dome.
The church was built to commemorate a surprisingly quick retreat of Tatar attackers during their siege of the Kremlin in July 1451. Since this event coincided with the Orthodox church festival of the laying down of the robes of the mother of Jesus , the church was dedicated to this festival. After completion, the church served for a while as the house church of the Moscow Metropolitans and Patriarchs , until it was replaced in this function by the Twelve Apostles Cathedral in the newly built neighboring Patriarch's Palace. After that, until the czar's court moved to Saint Petersburg, members of the czar's family, who lived in the neighboring Terem Palace, used them as a house of prayer.
Today, church services take place once a year on the eponymous holiday of the laying down of the robes of the Mother of God. Otherwise, the church is only of importance as a museum: In its interiors, the many frescoes with motifs dedicated to the Mother of God and the four-tier iconostasis are particularly worth seeing. There is also an exposition of objects of Russian Orthodox decorative wood carving from the 14th to 17th centuries.
Ivan the Great Bell Tower
The Ivan the Great bell tower closes off Cathedral Square from the east side and at the same time separates it from Ivan Square. At 81 meters, it is the tallest building in the Kremlin ensemble. It is still used today as a bell tower for the three cathedrals of the Kremlin, which do not have bell stalls themselves.
In 1329, the small church of St. John Klimakos was built around the site of today's tower (in Russian Iwan (Lestwitschnik) , hence the later name of the bell tower and the Ivan Square on which the church stood). It existed until the beginning of the 16th century when it was demolished, now in disrepair. At the same time, Grand Duke Ivan III, under whom the Kremlin was largely given its current shape, had the bell tower built by an unknown Italian architect in 1505-08. After completion, the altar of the old St. John's Church (today de-dedicated) was placed in its base part . Initially only about 60 meters high, the tower was given its present shape in 1600, when the top of the three tiers was raised to its present height on the instructions of Tsar Boris Godunov . The two buildings adjoining the tower to the north were also built later: The Uspenski bell stalls, which are also crowned by an onion dome, were initially built as a church in 1531–43, and the adjacent Philaret extension with its original Gothic ornamented tent roof originally dates from 1624. Both Extensions were completely destroyed in the war against Napoléon in 1812 and largely restored to their original state in the first half of the 19th century.
Both the bell tower, built in 1508, and its two annexes house a large number of bells of different sizes and sound characteristics. Their total number is 22 today; the four largest bells hang in the two extensions, including the 65.5-ton Uspenski bell , which is only operated on certain church holidays, and the Reut with a weight of 19.6 tons, which is characterized by a particularly low-pitched sound. All 22 bells date from the 16th to the 19th century; some of them (including the Uspenski bell) were melted down and re-poured once or even several times over the years.
Palaces and museums
Large Kremlin Palace including Facet and Terem Palace
The Great Kremlin Palace is a complex of several representative secular buildings that were built in different centuries and all served as a place of residence and / or reception for Russian grand princes and tsars. Long before the complex was completed in the 19th century, the Kremlin lords' apartments were first made of wood and then of stone.
The central part of the complex is the classical imperial palace built in the years 1838–1849 . It stands almost directly on the slope of the Moskva River and is therefore particularly well visible from the south, for example from the opposite bank of the river. Built according to a design by the well-known Moscow architect Konstantin Thon on behalf of the then Tsar Nicholas I , the palace served until 1917 as a living and working residence for the Tsar, his family and his followers during their stays in Moscow. Since the palace also had to fulfill representative purposes and was used in this function, for example, as a venue for festive reception ceremonies, it was equipped with extremely splendid parade halls inside, which are today the main attraction of the palace. These five halls, located on the ground floor and on the upper floor, were named after the highest state honors of the Russian Empire. Their furnishings and fittings differ significantly from one another and each has its own thematic focus. The most famous of the five parade halls is the Georgssaal , which owes its name to the Russian Cross of St. George and in which winners of high state honors are honored to this day.
The former rooms of the tsar and his family on the ground floor of the palace are also considered very splendid. Depending on their original purpose, they are furnished in different styles and, similar to the parade halls, lavishly decorated with products of decorative and applied art.
From the ground floor of the Thon Imperial Palace there is a direct transition to the other two buildings of the Great Kremlin Palace, as the 19th century palace was built close to the existing part of the complex, so that the view of the old buildings is partially obscured. This is particularly pronounced in the Terem Palace , which in the 19th century almost completely disappeared behind the great Tsar's palace. It was built between 1635 and 1636 and originally stood next to the even older tsarist apartments that were demolished in the 18th century.
The external architecture of the Terem Palace is very different from that of the Thon Palace from the 19th century: While this seems rather monotonous with its strictly symmetrical structure resembling an administrative building, the solemnly decorated Terem Palace is a representative example of the local one Architecture of the 16th and 17th centuries. What is striking about the five-storey building are both its window frames, which are decorated with richly carved ornaments, as well as the checkerboard pattern of the tent roof.
From its completion until the end of the 17th century, the Terem Palace, which was built on the initiative of Tsar Michael I , served him and some of his successors as a residential residence. For this reason, the palace has a large number of artistically furnished rooms inside, some of which were also used as representative reception and meeting rooms. Worth seeing are, for example, the former bedroom of the tsar, the work cabinet or the space known as Terem or Teremchen directly under the tent roof. On the walls and vaults of these rooms you can see rich paintings and plant ornaments, which are not original works from the 17th century, but rather reproductions from the 1870s.
The five small churches that are no longer dedicated as places of worship today also belong to the Terem Palace and thus to the complex of the Great Kremlin Palace. They served as house churches for some members of the tsarist family at the time they lived in the Terem Palace. From the outside, these churches can be recognized by their eleven onion domes with gold-plated domes on the far west side of the Cathedral Square, to the left of the Church of the Deposition of the Virgin Mary. Nearby there is also the so-called Golden Chamber of the Tsar , which dates from the late 16th century and was almost completely overbuilt by the later structures of the Great Kremlin Palace.
In contrast to the Terem Palace and the Golden Chamber of the Tsar, the Facet Palace, which is also part of the Great Kremlin Palace, is clearly visible from the outside, as its main facade faces the Kremlin's Cathedral Square. The Faceted Palace is the oldest part of the complex. It was built in 1492 and was one of those Kremlin buildings that Grand Duke Ivan III. in the course of its renovation and expansion of the Kremlin by Italian construction workers (here: Marco Ruffo and Pietro Antonio Solari ). Since its completion, the Faceted Palace has served almost exclusively representative purposes: Here the tsars celebrated their most important military victories and here important foreign guests were received or important state acts were signed.
In accordance with the purpose of the building, the only parade hall takes up most of the space inside. Similar to the halls of the Thon Imperial Palace, it is very sumptuously furnished. In the wall and vault frescoes that are abundant there, too, motifs from the history of the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church can be recognized.
All buildings from the complex of the Great Kremlin Palace today have in common that they officially belong to the working residence of the Russian President. Even if they only serve representative purposes in this function, they are therefore only accessible to the public to a very limited extent.
In the far north of the Cathedral Square is the former Patriarch 's Palace, a building from the 17th century, which the same Russian masters were involved in building the Terem Palace. The Twelve Apostles Church , which was built at the same time, is attached to it , so that both structures are ultimately united in a single building, which thus unusually combines both a secular and a sacred building.
1653–1656 Nikon , the then patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, had a representative residential and work residence with its own house church built on the Kremlin grounds. This church, which occupies one of the two halves of the building and, with its five-domed end, is architecturally based on the immediately adjacent Cathedral of the Assumption, was originally consecrated to the Apostle Philip , and it has only had its current name since the end of the 17th century. After Nikon's impeachment, the palace served as the residence of the Moscow patriarchs for a good 50 years until the Russian Orthodox Church abolished this office in 1721. Later, the former rooms were opened to the public as a museum, and in 1763 the church installed a furnace for the production of the anointing oil in the former parade hall of the residence . The Twelve Apostles Church continued to serve as a place of worship until it was closed to the public after the October Revolution, along with the former apartments. It was only when the Kremlin reopened in 1955 that a museum was set up again in the former Patriarch's Palace.
The central part of the museum's exposition today is the former parade hall with the old anointing oil furnace and other elaborately crafted historical objects for the production and storage of the anointing oil. In addition, numerous luxurious objects from the everyday life of the patriarchs and tsars in Russia in the 16th and 17th centuries as well as church utensils, some of which were transferred here from destroyed houses of worship in the 20th century, are exhibited in the premises of the palace. In the Twelve Apostles Church, where services have been celebrated annually since the 1990s, the magnificent iconostasis from the Kremlin's Ascension Monastery, which was destroyed in 1929, is particularly worth seeing.
The Senate Palace on the eastern section of the Kremlin wall now serves as the central working residence of the President of Russia . During the Soviet era , too , it housed the Council of Ministers of the USSR and was therefore the seat of government.
The three-storey building, which with its early classical style is a rather atypical part of the Kremlin ensemble, was built between 1776 and 1787 to a design by Matwei Kazakow , one of the most famous Moscow city architects of the late 18th century. The floor plan of the building essentially consists of three main wings, which together form a triangle, one side of which is directly adjacent to the Kremlin wall and is visible from the Red Square on the other side of the wall. The other two facades face Senate Square and Arsenal on the one hand and the administration building on the other. For Kremlin visitors, however, the southern corner facade of the Senate Palace is best visible, as it is located directly on Ivan Square and can be viewed from its southern side, which is open to the public. The eastern tip of the triangle forms a mighty rotunda , the dome of which is crowned with a national flag pole and is only visible from Red Square or from the triangle's inner courtyard, which is inaccessible to the public.
The interior of the palace contains, in addition to the usual work rooms of the president and his staff, several representative rooms, which are mostly used for special occasions. The largest of these is the circular parade hall (called Katharinensaal ) in the rotunda directly under the dome. With its numerous sculptures and ornaments, it is comparable to the five parade halls of the Great Kremlin Palace and is occasionally used for state acts with the participation of the President.
According to its original purpose, the Senate Palace was to serve as the seat of the Governing Senate established under Tsar Peter I , a high legislative state body in the Russian Empire in the 18th century. This is where the name still exists today. In the 19th century, the building housed various authorities and at times a court until it was claimed by the Soviet Russian government after the October Revolution . At the beginning of the 1920s, revolutionary leader Lenin had both his work cabinet and a small apartment in the Senate Palace, which was open as a museum for around 70 years after his death, keeping the original furnishings.
The Arsenal is another 18th-century structure in the Moscow Kremlin. It occupies the entire northwest corner of the Kremlin grounds and is also visible in several places outside the Kremlin wall, for example from the Alexander Garden. Inside the Kremlin, the Arsenal is the first building seen when entering the Citadel through the Trinity Gate on the left.
In 1701, several private buildings on the site of today's arsenal burned down in a conflagration that had struck a considerable part of the Kremlin. The land freed in this way was bought by the Russian state in order to have an arsenal built there on the initiative of Peter the Great , which, among other things, was to be used to store weapons captured in wars. The construction, which began in 1702, was not completed until 1736, mainly due to financial difficulties. Just a year later, another major fire broke out in the Kremlin, which also significantly damaged the new arsenal. In 1812, during the war against Napoléon, the French blew up parts of the now rebuilt arsenal, which was finally completely renovated again in 1828.
In the 19th century, the arsenal was used as an arsenal in accordance with its original purpose - some particularly representative specimens from the earlier exposition of Russian and captured foreign artillery pieces are on display on the building's extensive façades - the military moved there after the October Revolution. To this day, the entire building belongs to the Kremlin garrison, which among other things has its barracks there. The very thick foundation walls, recognizable in the area of the window frames, give the building its characteristic monumental shape, which is able to visually underline its purely military use.
Armory and Diamond Fund
With over 4000 exhibits, the largest museum within the Kremlin is now the armory . It is located in a classicist palace completed in 1851 based on a design by Konstantin Thon , the architect of the neighboring and similarly styled Tsar's residence of the Great Kremlin Palace.
By the 16th century at the latest, several workshops in the Kremlin that worked for the tsar's court, in which renowned blade makers, armourers, jewelers and icon painters produced unique works of applied art , were called armories. With the relocation of the tsar's capital to Saint Petersburg, the Kremlin workshops were closed, but large parts of the historical holdings remained in Moscow. Initially, in the absence of a separate building, they were kept in various storage rooms until a separate building was built for the first time to store and expose the works of art at the beginning of the 19th century. This made the armory one of the first public art museums in the Russian Empire. In 1851 the armory of the Kremlin moved into the current building. It was temporarily closed after the October Revolution, but reopened in 1924, with the exposition being expanded to include a large number of treasures from Kremlin cathedrals, the former Patriarch's Palace and other historically significant buildings.
Today the exposition is spread over nine halls on the first and second floors of the armory. In the architecturally particularly splendid five halls on the second floor there is a multitude of representative objects of everyday life, church utensils and small arms; many were made by renowned local goldsmiths and silversmiths in the period from the 13th to the 19th century, but part of the exhibition also includes foreign masterpieces that were once presented to the tsar as gifts from other monarchs - including, for example, silver tableware from Augsburg and Nuremberg . Several famous decorative Easter eggs from the workshop of the Petersburg court jeweler Carl Peter Fabergé can also be seen here. The thematic focus is the exposure in the four halls of the first floor status symbols of the Russian tsar court, including specifically for coronation ceremonies produced parade robes of empresses and other masterpieces of local embroidery art, former insignia of the Grand Princes of Moscow and Russian tsars (u. A. The cap of Monomakh , which the Tsars were crowned up to the 17th century), historical throne chairs and an extensive collection of original equipages from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The permanent exhibition of the State Diamond Fund, which first opened to visitors in 1967, is located in the same building. Particularly valuable unique items from the jewelry trade and individual diamonds, precious stones and gold nuggets are exhibited here, most of which were confiscated after the October Revolution from the holdings of the Tsar's court by a specially created authority (the so-called Gochran , the treasury of the Ministry of Finance). There are also a few exhibits that were found or manufactured during the Soviet era. The two single diamonds from the holdings of the Tsar's court are among the world's best-known examples of this gemstone: on the one hand, the Orlov diamond from the Tsar's scepter and, on the other, the Shah diamond , which Tsar Nicholas I received from Persia in 1829 .
The Pleasure Palace is the only surviving example of a boyar house from before the 18th century within the Moscow Kremlin . It served this purpose from its completion in 1652 until 1668, when Tsar Alexei I built the building for had himself and his family rebuilt as a venue for theater performances. Since then, the palace has been known as the pleasure palace and kept this name even after the 18th century when it was again used as a residential building. Today the pleasure palace belongs to the Kremlin headquarters; the two- to three-storey buildings attached to both sides date mainly from the 19th century.
What is particularly striking about the building is its neat roof construction with several church towers, which originally belonged to the house church of the lord of the palace, which was consecrated in the same building. The four equally unusual consoles on the facade support the sanctuary of this church, which protrudes a little over the facade. The facade up to the third floor, however, with its lavishly ornamented window frames, has a shape typical of 17th-century Moscow, which can also be seen in a similar form in the nearby Terem Palace.
The Lustpalast stands on Palaststrasse directly between the State Kremlin Palace and the western section of the Kremlin wall. Since this street is closed to tourists, the palace cannot be entered and is only visible in the area of the Trinity Gate - both inside and outside the Kremlin wall.
Other famous buildings
The administration building of the Moscow Kremlin , sometimes also called Building 14 , stood on the east side of Ivan Square near the Savior Gate and, although it is largely closed off as a further part of the presidential residence, is clearly visible from the opposite side of the square.
It is one of the few structures on the Kremlin grounds from the 20th century. The building, which originally served as a military school, had to give way to the Chudov Monastery (see below), which was demolished in 1929 at the behest of the Bolshevik rulers. Five years later, the administration building was completed based on a design by the well-known Moscow civil engineer Ivan Rerberg . Rerberg tried to alleviate the visible contrast between the neoclassical building and the neighboring historical Kremlin buildings by matching the project's dimensions and the characteristic yellow facade color to the surrounding area.
After its original use as a military school, the building housed a theater for several years in the 1950s, until several government-related authorities and departments of the Kremlin headquarters moved there.
Building 14 was demolished in spring 2016.
State Kremlin Palace
The building near the Trinity Gate , now known as the State Kremlin Palace , was built in 1961, making it the youngest building in the Kremlin ensemble. Originally it was called the Congress Palace of the Kremlin and was primarily used as a venue for larger political gatherings in the Soviet era , including the regular party congresses of the CPSU . In addition, the palace stage was used for musical events (e.g. ballet performances by the Bolshoi Theater ). After the collapse of the Soviet Union , the building's original purpose as a congress palace ceased to exist, which is why it was given its current name and is only used today for cultural events (mainly concerts by nationally and internationally known performers of pop music).
The palace has a height of 27 meters and is decorated with white marble and plenty of glass on its main facade, which is directly opposite the south facade of the arsenal. Inside, the building has, among other things, a main concert hall that can hold up to 6,000 spectators and a festival hall that can accommodate up to 4,500 people.
The standing in the place Ivan Tsar Cannon represents the up to now most famous product of Russian casting of the 16th century. Contrary to the name, it is technically not weapons gun , but a stone box . With its caliber of 890 mm, it is one of the largest artillery guns in the world, but it has never been used. The carriage on which the cannon stands and the balls lying next to it were made purely for decoration in the 19th century.
In 1586 Andrei Tschochow, a renowned Moscow foundry master, manufactured this weapon, which was oversized for the time, and adorned its bronze barrel with rich ornaments and an equestrian portrait of Tsar Fyodor I. Originally the cannon was supposed to serve its actual purpose, which is why it is used on the red Place to defend the Kremlin from possible attacks or to deter the enemy. In 1706, when the Kremlin no longer had its original significance as a fortress, the Tsar's cannon was first relocated to the Kremlin in front of the arsenal as a monument to Russian cast art. It has stood in its current location since 1960.
Another distinctive product made by Russian foundry masters is the 6.14 meter high tsar bell , which also stands on a specially manufactured base at Ivanplatz at the intersection with Borowizki Street. It was also never used for its actual purpose.
The bell was made in 1735 by the foundry master Iwan Motorin and his son Michail. For this purpose, around 200,000 kg of metal was processed in specially constructed melting furnaces, the majority of which were remains of a bell made in 1655 and a bell that fell in a fire in 1701. The casting process caused enormous difficulties for the Motorins and only succeeded on the second attempt. Before the almost finished giant bell could be lifted out of its casting pit, another major fire broke out in the Kremlin in 1737. The bell was caught in the fire, heated up and finally shattered when cold extinguishing water hit it. Cracks appeared in several places and a larger piece of metal split off. This piece still stands next to the bell today.
After the fire, the damaged bell, which could no longer be used to ring, was forgotten for a long time and was only lifted out of the pit a century later, namely in 1836, with great effort and placed in its current location. Since then, it has been one of the most famous monuments on the Kremlin grounds. In addition to its unusually large dimensions, the ornaments with which the bell was adorned during its manufacture are worth seeing. They include baroque plant ornaments, medallions of saints and full-body portraits of Empress Anna and Tsar Alexei in parade robes.
Destroyed Kremlin structures
Of the Kremlin structures preserved today, the oldest date from the 15th century, although the Moscow Citadel must have been founded in the 12th century at the latest (see the History section). From this one can inevitably deduce the existence of a - today unknown - large number of non-preserved buildings within the Kremlin walls, many of which were once exactly in place of buildings that have been preserved to this day. Since there was no monument protection in Russia until the 19th century and this was not always consistently adhered to afterwards, the renovation campaigns, which often had the aim of renewing the entire Kremlin (as was the case, for example, under Grand Duke Ivan III ), a number of historically valuable architectural objects have also been irretrievably lost. In addition, countless, mainly wooden, buildings fell victim to the conflagrations that were still common up to the 18th century or were destroyed during acts of war (most recently in 1812, during the war against Napoléon).
Up to the present day, documentation and / or illustrations have been handed down mainly from those Kremlin buildings that disappeared from around the 18th century, while older buildings, even if they were extremely representative objects, are only superficially mentioned in chronicles . The oldest known case of a large-scale demolition operation in the Moscow Kremlin was the construction of an oversized tsar's palace that began in the 1770s under Catherine the Great and was later rejected. At that time, parts of the southern Kremlin wall were also demolished, as the facade of the palace should extend to the banks of the Moscow River according to the project. After the construction freeze, the wall was restored with four towers that had also been demolished, but several representative buildings along the southern Kremlin wall disappeared from the surface for good - including the former palace of Tsar Boris Godunov and the former treasury of the grand ducal court, built by the Italian architect Marco Ruffo .
The Kremlin suffered the most dramatic losses in its structural fabric only in the 20th century, shortly after the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia in 1917 and the Soviet Union was established . The new rulers looked primarily at the sacred buildings, so that a total of 12 churches, five chapels and individual secular buildings were destroyed in the Kremlin from 1918 to 1935. Some churches - such as the Church of St. Constantine and Helena in the south-east of the Kremlin - were demolished under the pretext of dilapidation without a new building being erected later. The most extensive demolition operation, however, concerned the two monasteries in the Kremlin that were still in existence at the time, although they were badly damaged in the fighting in October 1917 - the Chudov and the Ascension Monasteries. All buildings from the ensemble of the two monasteries were finally destroyed; a few years later, today's neoclassical administration building was built in its place . The partially historically valuable treasures from the holdings of the destroyed churches and monasteries were transferred to museums, including the Kremlin armory , where the most representative specimens are exhibited today.
With the destruction of the old building of the armory from the beginning of the 19th century, which had to give way to the State Kremlin Palace (formerly the Congress Palace ) at the end of the 1950s , the last demolition of a historical building on the Kremlin site took place before the ensemble was protected by UNESCO instead of.
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