The Moscow Kremlin

Address: 103073, Moscow, The Kremlin Museums Hours of operation: Fri - Wed 10am - 5pm Web:

The Moscow Kremlin is the oldest part of Moscow which served as a fortified inner town in olden times. The first written mention of the Kremlin dates back to 1147, to the reign of Great Prince Yuri of Kiev, son of Vladimir Monomakh. Prince Yuri was nicknamed "Dolgoruky" or "Long-armed" for his policy of unification of the Russian lands. Yuri Dolgoruky is considered to be the founder of the Kremlin and of the city of Moscow.

For centuries the Kremlin has been the center of the Russian statehood. It has also been the residence of the Russian Tsars and Patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church. In late 14th century during the reign of Dmitry Donskoi white-stone walls of the Kremlin were erected and Moscow became known as "Moskva Belokamennaya" ("Moscow White-Stone"). It was further rebuilt in 1485-1495 by Italian masters who erected the first brick buildings. During that time the Kremlin largely acquired its modern-day appearance.

Although Peter the Great moved the Russian capital to St. Petersburg in 1712, the tradition to coronate Russian Emperors at the Moscow Kremlin remained unchanged. In 1918 the Soviet government moved the Russian capital back to Moscow. The Kremlin became a kind of a shrine of the Soviet elite with only a handful of Stalin's "Inner Circle" members allowed on its territory. It was not until 1955 that the Kremlin museums were reopened to the public after a period of prolonged seclusion.

Since 1991 the Kremlin has been the official residence of the Russian President whose offices are located in the Grand Kremlin Palace. The religious life of the Kremlin was recently revived and nowadays a number of religious holidays are celebrated in the old Kremlin cathedrals. The famous Kremlin belfries which had been silent for over 70 years recently came to life as well.

Star sights of the Moscow Kremlin are the Cathedral Square, the Armory Chamber, the Diamond Fund, and the Tsar Cannon.

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