What to see in the Moscow Kremlin: tips, prices and how to get there

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Joel Fulleda
@joelfulleda
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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If you are in Moscow for a few days, you probably already know what you absolutely must not exclude from the list of things to see: the Kremlin, the oldest part of the city, as well as one of the most important artistic centers in the whole country.
Center of the political life of all of Russia, it is considered by many to be the most beautiful attraction in the city. Organizing the visit can be a bit confusing, as there are so many things to see and there are different types of entrance tickets. We advise you to evaluate immediately if you want to see everything or if you prefer to select only areas, so as not to find yourself running around in circles. Here is some information for you that may be useful for you to better organize your visit and on what to see in the Moscow Kremlin.



Index

  1. What to see and how to visit the Kremlin
  2. Cathedral of the Annunciation
  3. Dormition Cathedral
  4. Cathedral of the Archangel
  5. The Tsar's Bell
  6. The Tsar's Cannon
  7. Bell tower of Ivan the Terrible
  8. Armory Museum
  9. Fund of Diamonds
  10. Palazzo del Patriarca and Church of the 12 apostles
  11. Hours and prices
  12. Online tickets and guided tours
  13. User questions and comments

What to see and how to visit the Kremlin

The Moscow Kremlin is a huge museum complex that includes multiple points of interest. A real fortified city located between the Moskva River and Borovitsky Hill.

To enter this small fortress city, you will have to cross the immense Door of the Trinity, the highest in the entire Kremlin, which is mainly divided into two different areas: theArmeria, which is a former arsenal dating back to around the th century and which is now a museum where royal treasures are kept, and the Square of the cathedrals, where you will see three different cathedrals, two churches and the Bell tower of Ivan the Terrible. The bell tower is the highest point in the entire Kremlin and you will need to buy a separate ticket to access it.

As you can imagine, there are so many things to visit. Now we are going to present the different areas and what are the main churches and palaces from absolutely see in the Moscow Kremlin.



1 - Cathedral of the Annuciation

In the beginning, the Cathedral of the Annunciation was the personal church of the Moscow tsars. Before the Russian Revolution it was therefore one of the most important churches in Moscow, as well as being the burial place of the patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church. Transformed into a museum, inside you can admire some of the Russia's oldest icons. The walls contain several fragments of murals made by Theodosius and other artists. Finally, the Throne of Monomakh, built for Ivan the Terrible in 1551.

  • Date: 1484/1489; renovated and changed several times over the years
  • Location: Square of the Cathedrals

2 - Cathedral of the Dormition

La Dormition Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Assumption, it is the mother church of the Grand Duchy of Muscovy. In 1547 it was the site of the first coronation of the first Tsar of Russia, Ivan the Terrible, and since 1721 all imperial coronations have been held here.
According to one story, in the winter of 1941, when the Nazis entered Moscow, Stalin ordered that a secret mass be celebrated in the Cathedral, to pray for the salvation of Russia.

  • Date: 1475/1479
  • Location: Square of the Cathedrals

3 - Cathedral of the Archangel

La Cathedral of the Archangel Michael it was designed by the Italian architect Aloisio Nuovo over another cathedral built at the behest of Ivan I of Russia in 1333. Inside there are numerous frescoes made between the th and th centuries by the likes of Kazan, Ryazan and Vladimirov. Here the victories of the Tsarist armies were celebrated and, until the end of the th century, the Tsars and Princes of Moscow were buried, there are in fact 46 tombstones.



  • Date: 1505/1508
  • Location: Square of the Cathedrals

4 - The Tsar's Bell

La Tsar bell it's a really huge bell, the largest in the world. Made of cast bronze, think it weighs 216 tons and has a diameter of 6,6 meters. It was commissioned by the sovereign Anna, niece of Peter the Great.

Small curiosity: he never played. During a fire in 1737, a piece of about 11 tons detached from the bell while it was still in the casting pit. In 1836 both the bell and the broken piece were exhibited in the Piazza delle Cathedrali, near the bell tower of Ivan the Great.

  • Date: 1733/1735
  • Location: Square of the Cathedrals

5 - The Tsar's Cannon

The cannon Zar-puska was commissioned by Tsar Fedor, weighs 38 tons and is 5,34 meters long. It entered the World Guinness Record as the largest howitzer (artillery firearm) ever built. In addition, it is decorated with various reliefs, including that of Tsar Fedor on horseback.

  • Date: 1589
  • Location: Square of the Cathedrals

6 - Ivan the Terrible bell tower

Il Bell tower of Ivan the Terrible it was the tallest building in Moscow for more than 400, until it was surpassed by a Stalinist skyscraper. Despite the various revolutions, the bell tower has resisted over the years and today it is one of the symbols of the city. To go up you will have to pay a separate ticket of 350 RUB (about € 5,00).



  • Date: 1329
  • Location: Square of the Cathedrals

7 - Museum of the Armory

Il Palazzo dell'Armeria, now used as a museum, dates back to 1581. Initially, it consisted of a series of workshops that were used to produce weapons for the Russian tsars, mainly blades and firearms. Today it contains a large collection of works from Russia and Europe from the 4.000th to the th century and has works of art on display, including jewels from the Diamond Fund. Moreover, is one of the largest collections in the world of royal carriages, crowns and costumes of the tsars and Fabergè eggs. The first egg was commissioned by Tsar Alexander III of Russia, who wanted to give it as a gift for Easter to his wife Maria Fedorovna.

  • Date: 1581

8 - Fund of Diamonds

By purchasing a separate ticket, you can also see the Fund of Diamonds, the most beautiful collection of jewels in all of Russia, as well as one of the most beautiful exhibitions in the world. Among the most important jewels on display you will find the crown built for Catherine the Great, the Shah diamond, the Daffodil Bouquet, the Orlov diamond and the gold nugget "The Great Triangle". This section can only be visited by taking part in a private tour, it is absolutely forbidden to enter alone.

  • Location: Museum of the Armory

9 - Palace of the Patriarch and Church of the 12 apostles

Near the Cathedral of the Assumption is the Patriarch's Palace. It takes its name from Patriarch Nikon who had it built between 1652 and 1656. On the ground floor there were various offices, while on the second floor there were private apartments. On the first floor was the Great Hall of the Cross, a place where the meetings of the Ecumenical Council took place or large receptions were organized. Today you will find a museum on Russian culture. Inside the Palazzo del Patriarca the Church of the 12 apostles, originally dedicated to Philip the Apostle. In the Muscovite Baroque style, it was severely damaged during the 1917 Revolution, which was followed by major restoration works. Inside today you will find an incredible Icon collection.

  • Date: 1652/1656
  • Location: Square of the Cathedrals

Hours and prices

  • from 15 May to 30 September from Monday to Sunday from 9:30 to 18:00; from 1 October to 14 May from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00; the ticket offices close one hour earlier; closed on Thursdays; closed for political events or state visits.
  • Best time to avoid queues: as soon as it opens in the morning. If you need to buy your ticket at the ticket office, plan to arrive in time so as not to queue too long.
  • There are different types of tickets, based on what you want to see. Armeria: RUB 1.000,00 (approximately € 14,00); if you also want to access the Diamond Fund you will have to pay a supplement of 500,00 RUB (approximately € 7,00); Square of the Cathedrals: 700 RUB (about € 10,00) this square includes most of the palaces and cathedrals; the ticket does NOT include the Ivan the Terrible Bell Tower; Bell tower of Ivan the Terrible: 350 RUB (about € 5,00) the ticket can only be purchased at the ticket offices, it is not possible to buy it online.
  • Free: there are only two types of tickets, the normal one for adults with the above prices and the free one for children under 16.

Online tickets and guided tours

Useful tips for visiting the attraction

  1. Get up early: this is one of the most visited attractions in all of Moscow. We strongly recommend that you get your ticket online or go to the ticket office at least an hour before opening, so as not to waste a lot of time in the queue and to enjoy the visit of the San Basilio Cathedral and the Red Square in the extreme vicinity.
  2. Buy the city card: if you spend several days in Moscow you can buy the City Pass Moscow. The pass also includes priority entry to the Kremlin, the Tretyakov Gallery and St. Basil's Cathedral, as well as free entry to many other attractions. You can find it for 1 day (€ 49,00), 2 days (€ 79,00), 3 days (€ 99,00) or 5 days (€ 139,00) - Buy online
  3. Priority ticket: buy your ticket online to avoid the queues. Once you have purchased your ticket on the official Kremlin website, go with the printed receipt to ticket offices 6, 7, and 8 - Buy the ticket online for the Kremlin entrance
  4. Watch out for restrictions: Some attractions and museums are not allowed to bring water or food, make sure you don't have any with you
  5. Minimum time: as you could understand, the Kremlin is really very large and consists of several parts. To be able to see everything well, we recommend that you dedicate an entire morning or an entire afternoon to it, in principle at least 4 hours.

Where is it and how to get there

  • On foot: located in the geographic and historical center of Moscow, just one kilometer away from the Basilica of St. Basil - Get directions
  • By bus: the nearest stop is St. M. Biblioteka Im. Lenina, where lines 1, 144, N2, N11, m1, m2, m3, m6, m27 pass.
  • By metro: to get there you can get off at the following stops, Aleksandrovskiy sad stop, line 4; Biblioteka im stop. Lenina, line 1; Borovitskaya stop, line 9.

Historical notes and curiosities: what to know in brief

The term Kremlin indicates the Russian fortress and there are some scattered throughout Russia. But only the Moscow Kremlin has become the symbol of this vast nation. Some of the most important characters in history have lived and passed between these walls, just think of Ivan the Terrible, Napoleon, Lenin, Stalin and Gorbachev.

In the beginning, this fortress was made entirely of wood, only to be replaced with the white stone. It was only in the second half of the th century that the red stones that we know well today were added. The various renovations and the various works carried out have meant that today the Kremlin is a union of different styles and historical periods:you will see some large typical medieval churches near palaces built during the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.

Today the President of Russia and his administration reside in the Kremlin, so as you can imagine a large part of the complex is closed to the public.


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