The Kremlin, a Look at Moscow’s Jewel (Part I)

The Kremlin

Moscow’s Majestic Kremlin

Several months back we took a look at Russia’s other Kremlin, the Kremlin

at Kazan, but thus far we haven’t spent any time admiring Russia’s most majestic Kremlin, the one found in Moscow. Our previous post about Moscow took a look at the city from a bird’s eye view, but let us now admire Moscow’s Jewel, the Kremlin.

History of Kremlin

The Kremlin’s history is a long and arduous one. The region has been populated from the second century BC. The point at which the Neglinnaya River flowed into the Moskva River was ideal for farming and pasture, and so settlers are said to have begun expansion from there. Over the years the area grew, and the land below the Kremlin took on a more regal persona.

Early Soviet archaeologists claim to have evidence of a metropolis in this region dating back to

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the late 11th century, but with little excavation it is difficult to say for sure. Few doubt the validity of their claims, but far more excavating would need to be done to properly date the early inhabitants of Moscow, something that is doubtful to happen in our lifetime.

The Kremlin is thought to be from where Moscow sprang. Before the 14th century, the Kremlin was known as “The Grad of Moscow”. The Grad of Moscow has been around for hundreds of years until Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy greatly expanded its area. Later, during the Mongol conquests, it was burned to the ground. It wasn’t until its rebuilding after the expulsion of the Mongols where the name the Kremlin was first recorded.

Since its rebuilding, the Russian Tsar’s made the Kremlin their place of coronation, a place of grand balls and a place of Russian opulence. For centuries now, visitors to Moscow have been amazed at its grandness and ornate design. Even when Russia’s capital was moved to St. Petersburg, the Kremlin stood tall as Russia’s most lavish structure.

Planning your tour to Kremlin

To this day, tourists from around the world flock to the Kremlin’s walls, reveling in its majesty. Anyone who visits Moscow is bound to end up at the Kremlin. However, not everyone is aware of the many tours within its walls. If you plan on visiting Moscow, it is

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highly recommended that you purchase tickets to go inside the Kremlin’s walls so that you can get a real taste for Russian grandeur.

Since the Kremlin is situated on Red Square, stands right besides St Basil’s Cathedral and is a 2 minute walk from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, it really would be crazy for any tourist of Moscow to miss it. The State Historical Museum of Moscow is also on Red Square, not to mention the endless supply or restaurants and shopping centers. While the Kremlin dwarfs them all in stature, they are all great places to visit. A properly planned trip to the Kremlin will take all day, especially if you plan on going inside.

A photo-tour of the Kremlin

The perspective these photos represent are incredibly unique, very few people are given the opportunity to shoot the Kremlin from atop its walls or from within its gardens. I hope these images impress you as much as they’ve impressed me.

All the images below were taken by one of Russia’s most renown photographers, Ilya Varlamov. His original post can be found here which has substantially more photos of the Kremlin’s exterior. Ilya’s blog is loaded with photos of Russia, as well as much of the world, making it a must see for anyone who truly admires photography and travel.

Sunrise over St Basils Cathedral

With St. Basil’s Cathedral up close, and the Hotel Ukraine in the distance, the sunrise that can be seen from the walls of the Kremlin are incredibly beautiful.

Kremlin Blvd besides the Moscow River

Morning traffic is heavy besides the Kremlin

Sun rising above Cathedral of Christ the Savior

The sun gives the Cathedral of Christ the Savior an incredible ambiance.

Overlooking the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge

St Basils Cathedral

St Basils Cathedral in the early morning. Notice the lack of tourists.

The Kremlin's walls

A Kremlin tower

Security is tight around the Kremlin. There are cameras everywhere.

Inside the Walls

Within the walls of the Kremlin we can see how colorful the buildings are. Unlike Washington DC where the city is white, Moscow takes a livelier approach.

The Walls

Red Square

In the early morning, Red Square is virtually bare. Later in the day, however, the place will be packed with people. The giant white building behind Red Square is known as GUM, or the Government Universal Store (Store in Russian is magazin)

Aleksandrovsky Sad

Here you can see Aleksandrovsky Sad, a raised area with a carefully laid garden below.

A Kremlin Gate

The Never ending Wall

Kremlin's wall

Greenery around the wall

Grounds keepers do their best to ensure that the Kremlin’s territory is consistently green and growing.

St. Basil's Cathedral

As the day goes on, tourists flock around St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Another tower

Lenin's Mausoleum with the State Historical Museum of Russia

The building on the lower part of the picture is Lenin’s Mausoleum which still houses Lenin’s body. The large red building is the State Historical Museum of Russia, a very popular stop for tourists.

More colorful buildings

Cathedral of Christ the Savior peaking behind the wall

This photo puts into perspective how close the Kremlin is from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. We can see the Cathedral peaking out behind the wall.

Clock tower

Great View of Red Square

This is a Great View of Red Square.

Atop the wall

Guard keeping watch

Guards are always patrolling the walls of the Kremlin

Another Guard on duty

What a view

Interesting perspective

The sun sets behind Hotel Ukraine

The Hotel Ukraine silhouetted

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by the sunset.

Red Square and GUM

A Guard keeps watch of the Red Square and the GUM.

Kremlin at night

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The Kremlin is even more beautiful after the sun sets.

Red Square at night

The lonely guard

State Historical Museum of Russia at night

St Basils at Night

St. Basil’s Cathedral is very well lit at night.

Map of the Kremlin