The Kremlin is the stronghold of Russian political power. Here, Ivan
the Terrible and Stalin orchestrated terrors, Napoleon watched Moscow
burn, Lenin made the dictatorship of the proletariat, Khrushchev fought
the Cold War, Gorbachev unleashed perestroika, and Yeltsin dreamt the New
The Kremlin occupies a roughly triangular plot of land covering little
Borovitsky Hill on the north bank of the Moscow River, probably first
settled in the 11th century. Today it's enclosed by high walls. Red Square
lies outside the east wall. The Kutafya Tower, which forms the main
visitors' entrance, stands away from the Kremlin's west wall.
Most visitors are surprised to see so many churches in what was, for
decades, a den of militant atheism, but the Kremlin was once the centre of
Russia's Church as well as its State. Start with Archangel Cathedral (the
royal burial church), Assumption Cathedral (the burial church of religious
leaders) and Annunciation Cathedral (icons, icons everywhere).
Many centuries ago Moscow was built on seven hills. It is rather
difficult to discern them now, with the only exception of Borovitsky
Hill where one of the twenty Kremlin towers stands. The Kremlin
(translated from Greek, the word means Уa steep hillФ) and Red
Square definitely are the main Moscow sights, symbols of the whole
of Russia. The intricate towers and walls of the Moscow Kremlin were
built to a design of Italian architects.
The Russian Government
works in the Kremlin, so tourists are only allowed to the part of
its territory where the cathedrals are located, the oldest Russian
museum of the Armoury Chamber, and the Diamond Fund with its unique
collection of precious stones and jewelry. In the Kremlin, close to
the 81 Ц meter tall Bell-Tower of Ivan the Great Ц once the highest
building in Russia Ц the Tsar-Bell is on display, the largest bell
in the world.