Moscow: Kremlin

We’ve come to the last post in my Russian travel series! Today’s post is on the Kremlin, the fortified complex in central Moscow. The Kremlin was a film location in Russia’s War and Peace (1966) film, which featured the Novodevichy Convent and Ivan the Great Bell Tower.

The Kremlin had once been the residence of the imperial family until Peter the Great moved the capital to St Petersburg. Nevertheless, it continued to serve as the location for coronation ceremonies. After the Revolution in 1917, the capital was moved back to Moscow and the Kremlin has since served as the official seat of the Russian government. Today, some of the cathedrals and palaces inside the Kremlin are museums.

The current red-bricked walls and towers of the Kremlin date back to 1485-95. The walls stretch 2,205 metres long and form an irregular triangle. The buildings within the walls were contructed between the 14-16th and 18-19th Centuries. Some of the towers feature the red stars from the Communist era.

The Kremlin complex comprises five palaces, four cathedrals, an Armoury, a Senate Building, the Arsenal, and the Kremlin wall with the Kremlin towers.

Trinity Tower, the tallest of the Kremlin towers. Built in 1495.

Trinity Tower, the tallest of the Kremlin towers. Built in 1495.

Saviour's Tower - Clock

Saviour’s Tower and the chiming clock


  • Great Kremlin Palace – Built from 1837-49, replacing a Baroque palace on the site that was demolished for the new palace. Formerly the official Moscow residence for the Czar. It is [one of] the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation, which, since 2012, is Vladimir Putin.
Grand Kremlin Palace

Part of the Grand Kremlin Palace

  • Terem Palace – Once the main royal residence in the 17th Century. The ground floor dates back to the 16th Century but the rest of the palace is from 1635-36.
Church of the Nativity

Church of the Nativity, constructed in the 14th Century, is part of the Terem Palace, which is now part of the Grand Kremlin Palace.

  • Poteshny Palace – Built in 1652 as the seat of Boyar Miloslavsky. Currently, it houses the Office of the Kremlin Commandant. Once restoration work is completed, it will become the Church of The Virgin’s Prayers, which had been part of the old boyars’ estate.
  • Faceted Chamber/Palace – Built in 1487-1492. Once used as a banqueting hall, it is now a reception hall for the President’s residence. The staircase you see was rebuilt in 1994, since Stalin had the grand idea to get rid of it in the 1930’s. The staircase was where the czars would go down on their way to the Cathedral of the Dormition for the coronation. The last czar to do so was Nicholas II in 1896.
Faceted Chamber and Staircase

Faceted Chamber and Staircase

  • State Kremlin Palace (I wouldn’t count this one…) – This monstrosity was built in 1961 and it has an auditorium with 6,000 seats.
State Kremlin Palace

State Kremlin Palace

Interesting fact: Napoleon considered taking the Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon back to France as his trophies but give the size and weight of both, he had to reconsider.

Tsar Bell

Tsar Bell: Used to be a mini chapel inside too!

Tsar Cannon

Tsar Cannon: never used in war but was fired once.


Cathedral of the Annunciation

Cathedral of the Annunciation

Kremlin Cathedrals

Cathedral of the Assumption and Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles in the Patriarch’s Palace

Cathedral of the Assumption, the oldest church in the Kremlin, built between 1326-27.

Cathedral of the Assumption, the oldest church in the Kremlin, built between 1326-27.

Ivan the Great Bell Tower

Ivan the Great Bell Tower: the tallest in the Kremlin.

Cathedral of the Archangel

Cathedral of the Archangel: the final resting place of the czars, czarinas, and grand princes of Russia until Peter the Great, except for Boris Godunov. Peter II (i.e. post Peter the Great) is buried here since he died in Moscow.

The Arsenal

The Arsenal

The Senate Building, built from 1776-1788, is now the official residence of the President (since 1991):


I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos from the Kremlin! Unfortunately, WordPress deleted half of my post so the last half are just photos without any historical facts. I’m afraid you’ll have to check for more information as I am too upset to retype everything I researched.

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