The Moscow Kremlin is a symbol of the Russian State and probably known as one of the most secretive places ever! This beautiful building is one of the greatest architectural complexes in the world, and I got the chance to walk around inside these red walls!
After moving to Moscow I couldn’t wait to explore the wonders of the Kremlin, to see this place that I have heard so much about. The Moscow Kremlin includes four palaces and four cathedrals all enclosed by the red Kremlin wall and Kremlin towers. The complex still serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation, but I didn’t get to glimpse him or any other famous officials during my visit.
Walking along the red brick walkway I could hardly contain my excitement as I entered the Kremlin through one of the towers.
The first Cathedral I entered was the Cathedral of the Dormition which was completed in 1479. This is where all the Tsars of Russia were crowned! Several important dignitaries and patriarchs are buried here and their stone coffins stand along the one wall on the inside of the Cathedral. I couldn’t actually photograph these but they were elaborately decorated and covered in gems and gold.
The Cathedral of the Annunciation was my second Cathedral and it is magnificent gold a gilded Cathedral built in 1489. This magnificent gold structure kept my attention for quite a while as it has very detailed work and paintings of all the saints on it. The cathedral is actually famous for its magnificent iconostasis (screen) which shields the sacred part of the church from view.The Cathedral of the Annunciation was originally the domestic church of the Grand Dukes and Tsars and was connected by passages to the private quarters of the royal family. The Cathedral was used to celebrate name-days, weddings and baptisms. There was no sign of these secret passages otherwise I would definitely have tried to make my way into the Kremlin.
On the South-East side of the square looms the much larger Cathedral of the Archangel Michael , where almost all of the Muscovite monarchs from Ivan to Alexis I of Russia are buried. The Archangel Michael, the heavenly figure for war, was chosen as the patron saint of the rulers of Moscow and stands as protector above all the tombs in this church. With all the stone coffins that fill the church it does feel a bit more like a cemetery than a church. I had to squeeze between the tombs that covered the Cathedral floor just to get to the other side.
The inside of the Cathedral was dark and decorated with an abundance of rich, earthy colours. I would have loved to take photos of all of the Cathedral’s frescoes…maybe someday.
One of greatest treasures here is the burial vault of Ivan the Terrible. Ivan was the first to take the title of Tsar and therefore merited a special burial chamber, the construction of which he oversaw himself. He also had the Ivan the Great Bell Tower named after himself. It is said to mark the exact centre of Moscow and resemble a burning candle.
The Tsar Bell is the largest bell in the world and stands on a pedestal next to the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. This bell unfortunately broke while they were transporting it and was left standing right where it fell.
There was still so much to see in the Kremlin that I had to come back another time as it is too much to take in all in one day!