The Moscow Kremlin, located right in the centre of the city epitomises modern Russia - The medieval cathedrals and monuments dotted around the grounds contrast sharply with a sixties Concert Hall and the President's residence.
Visiting the Kremlin might seem a little complicated. With a fairly large territory surrounded by walls, the first thing to do is to find the entrance. As it happens, there are many entrances into the Kremlin with almost every tower having a way in, but tourists are only allowed through two of these: the main entrance over the bridge through Troitskaya and the smaller unadvertised entrance through the Borovitskaya tower. Both of these face Alexandrovskiy Garden with the Borovitskaya being a few hundred yards further down from the Red Square.
In order to enter the Kremlin, you have to pay the entry fee and buy any other tickets to the museums inside separately. The Diamond Fund tickets are purchased once inside.
With a range of options to choose from, figure out what you'd like to see before you get there or you'll get stuck with countless other tourists scratching their heads. Note that students with international student cards get discounts of over 50% in all the museums.
Aside from the weaponry one would assume the Armoury would house, there is plenty more to see here. From Faberge eggs to luxurious tableware and numerous Tzarist robes, we highly recommend a visit here to get a quick overview of Russian pre-Communist history.
Although not officially one of Kremlin's museums, the Diamond Fund is definitely worth a visit. You can find it right next to the Armoury and buy the ticket once inside. A huge collection of diamonds, sapphires and precious metals (look out for a huge block of platinum) is topped off with the Imperial Russian crown.
Located towards the north end, this square is surrounded by beautiful Russian Cathedrals. Your ticket will let you into Archangel Michael and the Anunciation cathedrals and the 15th century Church of the Deposition of the Robe.
The tower stands just behind the cathedrals and houses a number of special exhibits from the Armoury's collection. With fixed viewings throughout the day, don't be too disappointed if you don't make it in.
Located in the Assumption Belfry and One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace, these can be difficult to get tickets for. Expect to see collections of Russian art and cultural exhibits.
Aside from the museums and exhibitions, there is lots to see inside the Kremlin. The Tzar Bell is the first well-known item. This is the third remake of the same bell from the same metal. The original bell was installed on the Bell-Tower, but fell during a fire and the current version weighing in at 201,924kg is the largest bell in the world albeit it's got a piece missing and sitting on the ground.
The Tzar Cannon is another mysterious large object with the world's largest caliber. With no clues as to why it was ever cast, we think it was mostly to scare off invaders as it was placed on the Lobnoye Mesto in the middle of the Red Square for long periods of time. With cannon balls weighing in at 2 tonnes each, we're not surprised that it was never fired.
Completed in 1961, this is the most modern building within the Kremlin walls and we'll leave you to form your own opinion of its showcasing of Soviet architecture. Used for a variety of purposes over time, it is now a concert hall with performances ranging from Russian Ballet to world-known rockstars and Russian pop artists.
Right at the southmost tip of the Kremlin is the Grand Kremlin Palace - official residence used by the Government. Entry can often be resticted if VIPs are making their way in or out or if there is a State visit. Whilst you can't go inside, it is interesting to look at the bright yellow classic buildings close up. As is the case almost everywhere else around the Kremlin, taking photos is not allowed.
The original Kremlin was built on this site in the dark ages with the first wooden version complete by the end of the 12th century by Yuri Dolgorukiy. Its location made it a real citadel with large rivers on two sides (Neglinnaya river which is now underground and the Moskva river) leaving only a narrow eastern side open to attack. Despite this, many did attack and the Kremlin was first destroyed in 1235 by the Mongols. Known at the time as the 'Grad' or City of Moscow, it took the Russians an entire century to rebuild the entire structure out of oak. some twenty years later, the oak walls were replaced with white stone by Dmitri Donskoi and were reconstructed in the red brick of today in the 1490s.
The next successful invasion of the Kremlin took place in 1610 when the Polish forces took over and occupied the Kremlin for two years. Liberation came in October 1612 when Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin led the troops. Their monument can be found on the Red Square in front of St Basil's Cathedral.
Early in the 18th century, Peter the Great decided to move away from the Kremlin and set up a new Capital in the marshes now known as St Petersburg. The Kremlin was largely unused and neglected for two centuries despite a restoration in the 1770s. In 1812, Napoleon invaded a deserted Moscow and occupied the Kremlin. When he fled after 2 months, the Kremlin was blown up and a large section of the walls, numerous buildings and Cathedrals were destroyed. Most of today's grand builings were constructed over the next 3 decades.
As the Soviet Government moved the capital back to Moscow in 1918, a century of Communist rule descended unto Russia. From that day on, all Soviet and Russian rulers have been based in the Kremlin. Tourists were first allowed in in 1955 with a real boom taking place once the Soviet Union dismantled in the 1990s.
October 1st to December 31st
January 1st to May 15th
May 16th to September 30th
Kremlin Square - Historical Memoirs