Moscow, as the capital of our country may be called the heart of Russia, while the Kremlin may be called the heart of Moscow. Following this, Cathedral Square is the heart of Kremlin. It means that today we are going on an excursion in the very heart of our Motherland – Cathedral Square of Moscow’s Kremlin.
Everyone, who has ever visited Moscow, visited the Red Square. How could it be otherwise? The Red Square is the main square of Russia. People, who have never visited Russia, know Kremlin from post cards and the president’s wishes on New Year. Some people visit the Red Square but never walk in Kremlin. Though one can find a lot of interesting things inside it. We included Cathedral Square of Kremlin to our Moscow tour as a must.
Besides Cathedral Square, you can visit Armory with Monomakh’s Cap and the crown of Russian Empire, climb the observation deck of Ivan the Great Bell and watch the dissolve of the equestrian and pedestrian guards. To see the excursion programs and prices, please visit the Moscow’s Kremlin official website.
How to get to Cathedral Square of Kremlin
Out of security purposes, there is only one entrance in Cathedral Square. It is situated in Kutafya Tower, which was built in XVI century. It is the only bridgehead tower of the Kremlin, which has survived until now. Such towers were the protection for bridges leading to the Kremlin.
You can take metro to get to Alexander Garden. It is in the center of Moscow and there is a dozen of metro stations around. Lenin’s Library and Alexander Garden are the nearest stations to get to the ticket offices of the museums. Here Vozdvizhenka street crosses Mokhovaya street. You will only need to go by Sapozhkovaya Square and you are near Kutafya Tower. Besides, you can walk in Alexander Garden from Manezhnaya Square ( metro stations: Okhotny Ryad and Manezhnaya Square), and from Zamoskvorechye through the Greater Stone Bridge. It is a good way if you are in Tretyakov Gallery in Lavrushensky Lane, just cross Luzhkov Bridge to Marsh Island and then the Greater Stone Bridge to Alexander Garden.
Troitskaya Tower of Moscow’s Kremlin
The bridge was built on purpose. The bridge was built on purpose. There was the river called Neglinnaya, which flew in the place, where Alexander Garden is now. They built the bridge, leading from Troitskaya Tower. The bridge was protected by Kutafya Tower. In the end of XVII the tower was renovated, decorated and the chimes were installed on it. After which it began to look like Spassksaya Tower. But after fire in 1812 the chimes were restored. We pass through the gate and we are inside the Kremlin.
Troitskaya Square of Kremlin
Now we are on Troitskaya Square of Moscow’s Kremlin. There is the yellow building called Arsenal if you look left from Troitskaya Tower. Peter the First began building of Arsenal in 1702. The building had been lasting for 34 years. According to history, Arsenal was there not so long. During the retreat in 1812, Arsenal was exploded by the armies of Napoleon. Only the foundation has survived. They planned to make Patriotic War Museum in the restored building of Arsenal, that is why a lot of artillery guns of that time was brought there. Now all those cannons are installed in the carriages along the perimeter of Arsenal.
The State Kremlin Palace is located In front of Arsenal, on the right side of Troitskaya Square. The historical appearance of the Kremlin was diluted in 1959-1961. Congress Palace was built on the territory of Moscow’s Kremlin in those years.
Not all the territory of Moscow’s Kremlin is open to the public. The Senate Square and the building of the Senate are not allowed to visit. But honestly, you would hardly ever find something more interesting than Cathedral Square of the Kremlin. By the way, it is forbidden to walk on pavement. The Kremlin’s patrol watches it.
Tsar-cannon and Tsar-bell
Now we turn right and we are on Cathedral Square. We walk along Ivanovskaya Square. Here we will see two interesting showplaces. One of them is Tsar-cannon and another one is Tsar-bell. First of all, we will tell you about Tsar-cannon.
Tsar-cannon was called so deservedly. It is made of bronze and its weight is around 40 tons and its caliber shells is around 890 mm. It was made in Moscow cannon factory by order of the Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich in XVI century. It is surprising that Tsar-cannon has never released a whizbang. The specific type of artillery has never been set. Probably, Tsar-cannon was supposed to shoot buckshot, because in ancient documents it was called as the “Shotgun”. The cannon is mounted in the carriage and there is a pyramid, consisting of four hollow cores, next to it. Both, the cores and the carriage, are made of cast iron in 1835.
As Tsar-cannon, Tsar-bell is the outstanding memorial of Russian Foundry of XVIII century. It was made by the order of the Empress Anna Ioannovna. Its weight is 202 tons, that is why it was made not far from the place where it is now. They excavated 10-meter-deep pit for it on Ivanovskaya Square in the east of the bell.
The bell lay in the pit 2 more years after it was made. Then in November, 1737 the terrible fire occurred in the Kremlin. While fire extinguishing, the water was on the hot metal, the metal cracked and a small piece of it seceded. The weight of this piece is 11,5 tons. Tsar-bell was raised from the pit a hundred years after the fire.
Cathedral Square of the Kremlin, Dormition Cathedral
Now we are going to visit Cathedral Square of the Kremlin. Here one will find the real depository of Russia. Cathedral Square occupies the highest part of Borovitsky Hill. It is called so because there are a lot of cathedrals and churches on it. Cathedral Square has had this current view since XV century. This historical place is, no exaggeration, a lullaby of the state. Exactly in Dormition Cathedral (on the central photo) the coronation ceremonies were held. And Archangel Cathedral was the burial place.
Do not forget to take the information booklets by the entrance. They are translated into different languages. One can feel the history spirit while being inside Dormition Cathedral. This cathedral was founded in XIV century by Ivan Kalita the Moscow prince as the Cathedral of the Dormition. In XV century Ivan III the prince gave order to build the new cathedral. The Italian architect Aristotel Fiorovanti built it. Mikhail Fyodorovich’s marriage (the first Tsar from Romanov Dynasty) took place in Dormition Cathedral in 1613. And the last Russian Emperor Nikolay II was crowned here.
Archangel Cathedral of Cathedral Square of the Kremlin
Another famous cathedral on Cathedral Square is the Archangel Mikhail Cathedral in the Kremlin. The building was built in 1508 on the place of moldy cathedral, which was built by Ivan Kalita. The Cathedral is famous by its necropolis. The necropolis of Archangel Cathedral has 54 burials, including the sanctuaries of the saints: the Tsar Dmitry Ivanovich and the younger son of Ivan the Terrible and Mikhail of Chernigov.
Palace of Facets and the Red Porch
Palace of Facets is another famous architectural monument. It is one of the most ancient civil buildings in Moscow. It was built in XV century. It was called so because of the eastern façade, the wall of which is made of faceted rust.
In the south of the Palace of Facets there is the staircase – the Red Porch. It was used as the way out for Tsar to meet people and for coronation processions going to Dormition Cathedral. The last coronation procession climbing up this staircase was the one with Nikolay II in 1896.
On the photo you can see Ivan the Great Bell between Dormition Cathedral and Archangel Cathedral. It was built in XIV century and reconstructed in the beginning of XVI century during the regiment of Boris Godunov. The Bell is 81 meter high. It had been the highest building in Russia till XVIII century. By the way, you can climb the bell. All you need is to buy ticket in the ticket office of the tourist center.
You can leave Cathedral Square by several ways. The first way is through Borovitskaya Tower, but we will not do it so we will leave it through the Central Tower of Kremlin. It is called Spasskaya Tower. But before this, we want to look around in the Grand Kremlin area. It is in the upper part of Taynitsky Garden and open for visiting.
If you see the Kremlin, you will think of it differently. Moscow’s Kremlin will look quite different then when you look at it from the Red Square or Alexander Garden. The whole history of our country is covered behind these red walls. The history of not only buildings but also destinies of people. Cathedral Square of Kremlin changes your mind about Moscow’s Kremlin. Of course, it is a must in your Moscow tour.