Posted by: Anna | October 12, 2010


One of Moscow’s most famous attractions. Technically, Kremlin means city center. However, Kremlin is used to refer to the Russian government as well as the physical place. The Kremlin is a collection of buildings, including the residence of the Russian President, cathedrals, palaces, a concert hall, administrative buildings, and probably more.

We started at Cathedral Square, the heart of the historical part of the Kremlin. As a tourist, you can visit 3 cathedrals, the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, and the armory. I’m going to let the pictures tell most of the story here. (Note: you are not allowed to take pictures inside anywhere, but I figured there would be some idiots who had taken them and posted to flickr, so I’ve linked to their pictures – we are good rule followers).


Assumption Cathedral, the home church for Russia during tsarist times. Under each archway are frescoes depicting religious scenes. You can't see it in any of our pictures, but there is a special paved walkway showing the path the tsar follows for coronation, which always happened in this cathedral. Of course, he didn't walk on the stones. He would walk on red fabric covered boards - the original red carpet!



Asccension Cathedral - the family cathedral for the royal family. Behind it you can see the palace that is a part of Cathedral Square. Today it serves as the residence for the Russian President. Russian tsars kept trying to build a more elaborate palace at the Kremlin, but never had the funding to do it. I guess they just had to slum it in this palace.



Cathedral of Michael the Archangel, where the royal family is buried. The new tsar would visit this cathedral immediately following coronation to ask for blessings from his or her ancestors.



Assumption Cathedral - Amazing! The most important figures are at the top, while they get less important as you go down. The chandeliers are solid silver - one of them was a gift from Napoleon, before he conquered the Kremlin in 1812. It is a harvest chandelier, with a top that looks like wheat and other harvest-y details.



Ceiling of the Assumption Cathedral. As you can see, every surface is covered in frescoes.



Annunciation Cathedral - the personal worship site for the Royal family during tsarist times. You can see Jesus in the middle surrounded by a blue circle, and on each side are saints in a praying position (standing). In the Russian Orthodox Church (maybe all Orthodox churches), you stand during worship to be humble before God. There are no pews in any of these cathedrals. If it were a functioning church, there would be a few seats in the back for those who are older or disabled in some way. In this picture, you can see the iconostasis, which is a giant freestanding wall of icons in a richly carved frame.



Archangel Cathedral is where the royal family are buried - in this picture you can see that the tombstone is preserved behind glass and the royal is painted on the wall behind the tombstone. They are actually buried under the floor.



The armory is full of all kinds of Russian treasures, including coronation attire for the tsars and tsarinas.



Tommy and I had a draft of which items we would take home from the armory (just kidding, of course). Tommy really wanted this snow leopard, made of silver. It is one of a pair (both are there, just not pictured here) given to the Russians by the English as a diplomatic gift. He says he will be serving Crown & Sprite from one, and water from the other.



This icon frame is amazing - it's hard to tell, but it's about two and a half feet tall. Check out those emeralds!


Our guidebook made a crack that the armory provides fodder for hundreds of angry revolutionaries with all the royal excess. It certainly is beautiful and the work is amazing. I was not able to find pictures of the Faberge eggs on display. Every year for Easter, the royal family would exchange Faberge eggs with a small reminder of some family or political event inside. There was an egg with a miniature working train inside to commemorate the first trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. They were truly amazing works of detail and artistry.



  1. Tommy can have the snow leopards, I will take the emeralds. Wow! I would love to see the Faberge eggs.

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