Kremlin is one of the most famous and easily recognizable symbols of Russia and Moscow. How did this historic complex come to its current fame and majesty? The start of Kremlin’s history goes all the way back to the year 1147 when Kremlin was first built as a fortified settlement with wooden walls. The town suffered numerous fires and was rebuilt every time before finally Ivan 3rd the Great issued an order to upgrade Kremlin’s walls and defence structures at the end of 15th century. Construction was led by some of the best architects in the world who thought the walls needed to be preserved, not torn down. The new walls were built around old wooden structures, giving Kremlin its massive size.
Kremlin’s role throughout the history
As said above, at first Kremlin was used for defence purposes as a fortress. Later, it became the residence of tsars, Russian kings. Tsars lived in Kremlin for centuries with a brief two-year gap in the beginning of the 17th century when the fortress was held by the Polish army. When Czar Peter ascended the throne he moved his residence and the capital of the Empire to Saint Petersburg because of his immense hatred for the Kremlin. Until 1773 Kremlin was only used for coronations of new Czars until Catherine the Great came around and ordered for a new residence to be built in Kremlin just for her. In the 19th century Kremlin was held by French forces after Napoleon invaded Russia.
When the Soviet Union was established Vladimir Lenin decided to make Kremlin Senate his new home. During his regime a lot of signs of tsarism that were present in various buildings of Kremlin were replaced with Soviet symbols. As you may know, Lenin was embalmed after his death, and his body still remains on display in Mausoleum in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis. In the Soviet years it was a popular saying about Lenin: “Forever alive”. Nowadays Kremlin is home to the executive branch of the Russian government.
Things to see in Kremlin
Kremlin is not made up just by one building – it is a whole complex with government buildings, museums and places of worship. For instance, arguably the most beautiful place in the whole complex is Cathedral Square, which is home to Cathedral of the Dormition where coronations of Russian Emperors were held, Cathedral of the Annunciation which used to be the personal chapel of the Czar’s family and the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael where many emperors are buried. If you’re a gun enthusiast – check out the Armory, which hosts gorgeous examples of Russian weapons from different periods in history.