Kremlin – Red Square Tour
There are many things to do in Moscow and many tours to take, but one that I recommend doing first is a tour of Kremlin and the Red Square. The word Kremlin means strength or fortified city. There are two types of tickets you can get for Kremlin on your own: One to visit the exterior grounds of the Kremlin and the cathedrals square and another to access the museum in the Armory. But I recommend going with a guide and getting access to everything inside and outside.
As for the Red Square, it is right out side of Kremlin along the wall and you do not need tickets for that.
The Kremlin Wall: This historic wall was built as a defensive wall that surrounds the Moscow Kremlin, recognisable by the characteristic notches and its Kremlin towers. The original walls were likely a simple wooden fence with guard towers built in 1156.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral: Although it’s known to everyone as St. Basil’s, it is officially called “The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat”. The popular alternative refers to Basil the Blessed, a Muscovite ‘holy fool’ who was buried on the site. The Cathedral was ordered by Ivan the Terrible to mark the 1552 capture of Kazan from Mongol forces. It was completed in 1560. That’s pretty much all the genuine history that’s known about this celebrated landmark.
Also in front is the The Statue of Minin and Pozharsky this statue commemorates Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and the butcher Kuzma Minin, the were the leaders of the militia that repelled the Polish invasion of 1612, at the height of the Time of Troubles. Designed by the architect I. Martos, it was erected in 1818 and became Russia’s first monumental sculpture.
The Cathedral Square: A spectacular collection of 4 cathedrals in the same plaza.
The Archangel’s Cathedral
The Tsar-Cannon: A gigantic, 38-ton, 890 mm caliber cannon that was put into service in 1586 by the Tsar Fiodor I.
The Tsar-Bell, an enormous bell (said to be the largest in the world), that weighs 216 tons and has a diameter of 6.6 meters. It was formed out of bronze sometime between 1733 and 1735, and in 1737 it was broken during a fire.
The Armory Museum: In spite of its name, it does not only house weapons but also an ample collection of works of art from Russia and Europe from the 5th Century to the 20th Century: one of the largest collections in the world of Faberge eggs, genuine carriages, crowns, tsars’ royal vestments, etc.
The diamond fund: This is a separate exposition within the Armory, it is one of the most important diamond exhibits in the world, comparable to the Crown Jewels of Great Britain.
The Grand Kremlin Palace: from the mid-19th Century, is the palace in which the President of Russia holds official receptions. If you want see The Grand Kremlin Palace it is possible in one of two ways, 1. By invitation from the President of Russia or 2. Through requesting a private visit for a group (subject to availability).
Kremlin State Palace: Constructed in 1961, it is used as the Congressional Palace and as a concert hall. The Palace is the main center for the Kremlin Ballet, one of the most important ballet companies in Russia.
The Resurrection Gate and the Iberian Chapel: After the Revolution, the Soviet government started to destroy sacred sites. In 1929 the chapel was removed, and replaced by a sculpture of some reandom worker. The icon was moved to the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Sokolniki, and by 1931, the Resurrection Gates had been completely removed. A new copy of the original Iberian icon was recently made on Athos, and in 1994 Patriarch Aleksiy II blessed the foundations of a recreation of the Iberian Chapel and the Resurrection Gate. Within a year the project, under the auspices of architect Oleg Zhurin, had been completed, and the new Resurrection Gate was officially unveiled in 1996.
Here Is a map of the Kremlin to give you an idea of how large it it and where everything is located:
I hope you enjoy the Red Square as much as I did. PS I also did this same tour in the summer and it was even more beautiful because everything was so brightly colored.
After walking around for a few hours if you still have energy I say you must check out GUM on the eastern side of the square. Here is Russia’s most famous and breathtaking shopping mall – the State Department Store, GUM. If you are not up for shopping and have just worked up an apatite I say go to GUM for that as well, there are many great restaurants there.