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Tour of the Kremlin

The Kremlin is the heart of Moscow and its foremost attraction.

  • 3 KM
  • 2 H.

The tour includes the Kremlin walls and towers, cathedrals and museums and internal streets and squares. Must-see items are the Tsar Bell and the Tsar Cannon.

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Alexandra Garden

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The garden consists of three parts: The Upper Garden starts from Revolution Square and ends with the Troitsky bridge; the Middle Garden spreads from the bridge to the Kremlin Borovitskaya Tower; the Lower Garden is located further on, ending with the Kremlin embankment.

The garden is full of monuments of architecture, the most important of which is the Kremlin wall. It starts from the Uglovaya Arsenalnaya (Corner Arsenal) tower located near the garden cast iron gate (architect E. Paskal); further, there is the Srednaya Arsenalnaya (Middle Arsenal) tower with the «Ruins» grotto underneath; next, there are the Troitskaya and Kutafya towers connected by the Troitsky bridge, and Komendantskaya (Commandant), Oruzheynaya (Armory), and Borovitskaya towers.

In 1914, a sculpture in celebration of 300th anniversary of the Romanov family's reign was installed in the garden; in 1918, the names of the reigning dynasty members were replaced with names of revolutionaries.

In 1967, the Monument to the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame and a monument to hero-cities was opened here.

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Moscow Kremlin

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The State Historical and Cultural Museum “Moscow Kremlin” was founded in 1991 on the basis of the state museums. It is located in the center of Moscow in the territory of Moscow Kremlin — one of the largest architectural ensembles of the world which includes monuments built fr om the end of XV to XX centuries. Historically Moscow Kremlin was a residence of the governors and nowadays there is a Residence of the President of the Russian Federation . It is a unique museum complex including museum-cathedrals (Uspensky, Arkhangelsky and Blagoveshchensky), the Church of the Deposition of the Robe, the Patriarch`s Palace of XVII century with the Church of the Twelve Apostles, ensemble of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower and Kremlin Armory (museum-treasury). Materials on Kremlin archeology are presented in the separate exposition located in the basement of Annunciation Cathedral. Kremlin Museums keep unique works in various genres of art, which illustrate court ceremonial of temporal and religious governors. Buildings, wh ere museums are located, are unique architectural structures of various schools and epoch built by outstanding architects and artists, having kept fantastic interiors of XVI-XVII and middle of XIX centuries.

Troitskaya (Trinity) Square and the Kremlin Arsenal

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At the beginning of the 18th century, at the order of Peter I, ancient weapons were brought here and installed along the Arsenal facade. In 1819, 875 weapons taken from Napoleon's army were brought to the Arsenal. In 1960, the exhibit of ancient weapons was supplied with ancient Russian cannons produced by famous Russian forgers of the 16th-17th centuries and transported from the Kremlin Armory Chamber. Currently, the Arsenal building also includes the Kremlin commandant's headquarters and the Presidential Regiment troop barracks.

From its earliest days to the present time, the Palace has been one of the best theater and concert venues of the world. The current repertoire of the Palace includes all genres of the performing arts.

The State Kremlin Palace holds the largest international forums and conferences, movie festivals and prestigious project presentations, concerts of world-famous stars, annual spectacular graduate proms, and Kremlin Christmas shows. There is also the Kremlin Ballet, a theater founded in 1990 as «The Theater of the Kremlin Palace of Congresses Ballet.»

The cathedral, erected in 1651 was consecrated on September 1 1652 as a family chapel of the boyar I. D. Miloslavsky. The cathedral was vacated in 1806, as its rooms were for the needs of Moscow commandant.

Currently, the building hosts the Kremlin commandant's headquarters. It underwent renovations in 2000–2004.

Senate

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The Senate building was erected in 1776–1787 in the rigid style of early classicism. The building designed for holding meetings of the Moscow province nobility was transformed into the Senate when two senate departments were transferred from St. Petersburg to Moscow. In the Soviet era, the country's government was headquartered here. In 1992–1995, the building was reconstructed as the Russian Federation President's residence. Only the Round and Oval Halls preserved their historical interiors. The hospitality offices of the residence are designed in the 19th century interior style.

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The Tsar Cannon

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The Tsar Cannon is one of the remarkable monuments of military equipment and foundry art of the 16th-19th centuries and the highest-caliber weapon in the world. It is located on the Kremlin grounds, near the building erected in 1810 by architect I. V. Egotov for the Armory Chamber. The Tsar Cannon was forged by Andrey Chekhov in 1586 in Moscow, on the Cannon Yard on the bank of the Neglinnaya river (now Teatralny Lane).

The Cannon's length is 5.34 m; the outer diameter of the barrel is 120 cm; the diameter of patterned flange near the muzzle is 134 cm; the gauge is 890 mm, and the weight is 39.31 tons. It is decorated with patterned flanges; on the right side of the muzzle, there is an image of Tsar Fyodor I (with a crown and a scepter) on a horse. Each side of the barrel has four clamps designed to attach the ropes when moving the Cannon.

Above the front right clamp and the tsar's image an inscription is forged: «By the grace of God Tsar and Grand Prince Fyodor Ivanovich, Monarch and Autocrat of All the Russias.»

At one time, the Tsar Cannon was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest cannon ever made (the one with the largest dimensions and weight ever made is the German «Dora» with 800 mm gauge and 1,350 tons of weight when deployed. The Tsar Cannon, however, is one of the largest weapons of the history).

In 1980, the Cannon was repaired in Serpukhov and simultaneously examined by experts of the Dzerzhinsky Artillery Academy. They discovered that the Tsar Cannon (as per its barrel design) was a standard hand cannon intended for shooting 800 kg stone shots. They also ascertained that the Tsar Cannon was fired at least once.

The Bell tower of Ivan the Great ensemble consists of the bell-tower church of St. John Climacus, the Uspenskaya (Assumption) Belfry, and the Philaret Annex.

The ground floor of the Assumption Belfry houses an exhibition hall of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, and the bell-tower, which is itself a unique monument steeped in legend, serves as a rather original museum. Based on multimedia technologies, views of Kremlin from different eras, as well as realized and unrealized plans for its reconstruction are projected on the walls. Moreover, visitors can enter a roundabout gallery which allows them to see the Kremlin panorama from a bird's eye view. This exhibit is open only in warm months.

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The Tsar Bell

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The Tsar Bell is one of the Moscow Kremlin attractions. Though it has never rang, the bell strikes tourists with its monumental proportions. The world's largest metal bell is 6.24 meters high, has the diameter of 6.6 meters, and a weight of almost 200 tons.

The Tsar Bell was forged in 1733–1735 on the Cannon Yard by Ivan and Mikhail Motorin.

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Cathedral or Sobornaya Square is the central square of the Moscow Kremlin. It preserves a unique architectural and urban planning ensemble from the Middle Ages. The foundation of the square's layout was placed in the first half of the 14th century, when at the order of the Grand Princes of Moscow, Ivan Kalita and Dmitry Donskoy, the first white-stone churches were built on the upland of Borovitsky Hill. They are no longer extant, but they determined the future space of the square, because in the late 15th to early 16th centuries, when Moscow became the capital of a united state, and the Grand Prince of Moscow Ivan III was building a Kremlin residence suitable for «the Sovereign of all Russia,» new churches were erected on the sites of their predecessors.

Today, the Cathedral square ensemble includes: The Cathedrals of the Assumption, the Archangel Michael, and the Annunciation, the Hall of Facets, the Tsarina's Golden Chamber, and churches of the Terem Palace, the Church of the Deposition of the Robe of the Holy Virgin, the Patriarch's Palace with the Church of the Twelve Apostles, and the Bell tower of Ivan the Great ensemble.

The cathedral was built in 1505–1508 on the site of an ancient church founded by Ivan Kalita in 1333. In its architecture, Venetian architect Alevis Novy united features of the Old Russian style and motifs of the Renaissance era.

The cathedral has a burial vault of the Muscovite state sovereigns and their families. Currently, the cathedral and the burial vault are a museum.

Built in 1475–1479, this is one of the oldest buildings in Moscow. For centuries it was the major Orthodox cathedral of the country, where tsars were crowned, and the religious establishment was exalted.

After the revolution of 1917, it was transformed into museum. Since 1990, on special days divine services have been celebrated here.

It was built in 1489 on the preserved basement of an old cathedral from the late 14th—early 15th centuries. Before the 18th century, it was a family chapel of Grand Princes of Moscow and Tsars, hence its name, «on the Sovereign's court.» It also served as the treasury.

Today, interesting historical exhibits are presented on the southern porch and in the basement of the cathedral. Since 1993, on the day of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, religious services have been held here.

The church was built by Pskov architects in 1484–1485 on the site of an older cathedral. It was once a family chapel of bishops and patriarchs, and then was converted to the Grand Ducal Palace.

It still has frescoes and icons from the 17th century. The gallery contains an exhibit of Russian wooden sculpture of the 15th-19th centuries.

The Patriarch's Palace was built in 1653–1655 by Russian architects for Partiarch Nikon. Utility services were on the first floor, the meeting rooms on the second, and the patriarch's private rooms on the third. The Church of the Twelve Apostles adjacent to the rooms was constructed in the same style and was once a personal family chapel of Russian patriarchs.

The church and rooms now house a museum collection.

The Great Kremlin Palace

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The new imperial palace was built upon the initiative of Nikolay I in 1838–1850. The palace's internal layout includes around 700 rooms, a main entrance hall with a staircase, five state service rooms, the Empress's ceremonial receiving rooms, private chambers of the imperial family, as well as personnel facilities located on the first floor. In the spirit of the time, luxury interiors were made in different styles, from the Renaissance to the Byzantine-Russian style The palace is rightfully considered a museum of Russian palace interiors.

In 1933–1934, the Alexandrovsky and Andreevsky halls of the palace were transformed into the Supreme Soviet of the USSR conference room, and lost their splendor for many years. In 1994–1998, at the President's decision, the halls were restored. Currently, the whole Great Kremlin Palace complex, except for the Armory Chamber, is the principal residence of the Russian Federation President.

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The Armory Chamber

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The Armory Chamber building was constructed in 1851 by architect Konstantin Ton and is part of the Great Kremlin Palace complex.

The treasury museum holds ancient state regalia, ceremonial royal clothes and coronation dresses, vestments of Russian Orthodox Church bishops, the largest collection of gold and silver work by Russian craftsmen, Western European silver artwork, gunnery artifacts, a carriage collection, and ceremonial equestrian items.

The museum collection was based on precious objects produced in Kremlin workshops and presented by foreign ambassadors, which had been stored in the tsar's treasury and patriarch's sacristy for centuries. The museum took its name from one of the oldest Kremlin treasury repositories.

The exhibit displays over 4,000 monuments of decorative and applied arts of Russia, Europe and the Far East from the 4th century to the early 20th century. Their high level of artistry and significant historical and cultural value have won worldwide fame for the Armory Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin.

Treasury museum visitors can use a pocket personal computer as an electronic guide.

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The tour of the Moscow Kremlin ends at Red Square, which is entered through the Spasskaya tower gate.



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