Have you ever heard of the Terrible Russian Tsar Ivan? He lived back in the 16th century, yet modern Moscow keeps the landmarks related to his reign. It is time to visit the key ones on our historical tour and make your own opinion if he was a great ruler or merciless tyrant or both at once. The 16th century was a most controversial period and gave birth to a big number of legends and roomers. The ancient walls reveal some of the secrets.
Grand duke Ivan IV became sovereign of Russia at the age of 3 years old. He was carried away by the dream to be equal to Byzantium Emperors, European kings and monarchs. So at the age of 17 he took the status of ‘Cesar of Moskovia’ (‘Tsar’ in Russian).
In the Kremlin or the ‘Heavenly Hail’, he was crowned and announced God-chosen ruler of the state. Ivan IV ordered to decorate the vaults and pillars of the three main cathedrals with the credo of his reign. The murals glorify his peace and war diplomacy and prove the legacy of inheritance of the regal power from the Old Testament kings and Byzantium emperors, his coronation throne tells the story of obtaining the state regalia from the Monomakhs, the burial place of his ancestors depicts them as saints.
Let’s go out of the Kremlin and look at the colorful domes of St. Basil’s, tsar’s own church and the deposit of his treasure. This Church was devoted to the heavenly protection of the Virgin and got the name of the Intercession on the moat. The remarkable sacred building was erected by the mandate of Tsar Ivan the Terrible as the votive church to celebrate a major victory. It was a complete defeat for the Eastern nomads who ravaged Russian towns and villages for centuries. It was a tremendous victory of the Tsar won in 1552 when immense terrains of Kazan Khanate became part of Moscovia. Suddenly he became the ruler of the biggest European state.
In 1553 Ivan IV presented his property in the vicinity of Red Square to a group of English merchants to set up the first English Embassy and Trade mission. The tradesmen received significant privileges like tax free trade all over the country and were allowed to travel unattended. Why? Ivan the Terrible proposed to Queen Elizabeth Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII and waited for consent.
In Varvarka street, an open-air architectural preserve lined with medieval churches and boyar mansions, there stands the 16th century Old English Court a rare medieval secular building and a unique museum of Anglo-Russian diplomacy.
View Moscow through the eyes of locals with your private guide and check out the places loved by Muscovites.
- Private 4-hours tour of Moscow with our experienced guide.
- Visit Red Square and see St Basil Cathedral built by Ivan IV; look at the first British Embassy founded by his order.
- Discover the medieval Kremlin and its majestic cathedrals (advanced booking) or your guide will take you to the 16th century rooms in the State History museum to view the real personal items of Ivan the Terrible
- Explore the old town of Moscow on foot
10 am – Hotel pick-up
10.30 am – St Basil Cathedral, Red Square
11.30 am – the Old English Court and Varvarka street
12.00 am – The Kremlin grounds and 3 Cathedrals visit – for guided tour advanced booking is required
Optional – no advanced booking needed – the State History Museum 16th century exposition, collection of private items of Ivan the Terrible
2.00 pm – Drop-off at your hotel or destination of your choice
What makes it different:
- You can adjust the itinerary according to your wish: we offer ideas & you choose what you want. We will meet you at your hotel with your personalized itinerary.
- Your tour will be a lot of fun, not a history lesson.
- You may ask your guide any question which interests you about people, ways and traditions.
- We can invite you to a Moscow family home. Check out “Eat with locals” on the website.