Kremlin Grounds and Cathedrals

Architectural Ensemble of Moscow Kremlin
«Unclouded Blue Sky Above Moscow Kremlin in Summer Morning» - See picture in Moscow Kremlin Album

Welcome to Moscow and one of the most spectacular live guided tours of Kremlin grounds and cathedrals. During this sightseeing tour, you will have a chance to visit Moscow's most famous landmarks and immerse yourself into the atmosphere of glorious past as you are strolling among the stunning buildings designed and raised centuries ago. 

  • Duration: 1-1,5 hours
  • Admission fee: 700 RUB per person, tickets for visitors under 16 are free of charge.
  • Photography: Amateur photography and video filming allowed outdoors only, in the museums–cathedrals are prohibited.
AThe Key Map of Moscow Kremlin
«The Key Map of Moscow Kremlin» - See picture in Kremlin Grounds and Cathedrals Album

During the personal tour of the grounds and cathedrals of Moscow Kremlin, you will discover lots of interesting cultural facts and fascinating historical details about the Moscow Kremlin with one of the best expert guides.

This tour offers you a real insight into the most astonishing world heritage sites, including Cathedral Square with its elaborately ornamented churches and gorgeous sprawling palaces. You are bound to experience unforgettable emotions from visiting the cathedrals and then strolling through Tainitsky Garden. You will be delighted to see President's Helipad as well as other attractions, such Tsar Cannon and the Tsar Bell, the Residence of the President of Russia, the Arsenal, and the State Kremlin building. If we are lucky, we will make our time to attend Patriarchy Palace, along with the small museum of the 17th century where you will see a splendid collection of silverware. Plus, you will also see beautifully carved wooden icons of 16-17th centuries in the church of Deposition of Our Lady of the Robe.

During our walking tour, you will be able to capture the images of all the architectural masterpieces you will come upon; however, you should keep in mind that taking photographs and videotaping is not allowed inside the museum churches.

But before you contemplate the beauty of Moscow Kremlin with your own eyes, let's make a small introduction to what you are going to see there.

What you’ll see on this tour

Overview Cathedral Square from Taynitsky Garden
«Overview Cathedral Square from Taynitsky Garden» - See picture in Kremlin Grounds & Cathedrals Album

Cathedral Square or Sobornaya Square is the main square of the Moscow Kremlin that owes its name to the three cathedrals facing it.

It is here that solemn coronation and funeral processions of all the Russian tzars, patriarchs, and grand dukes of Moscow took place. Even these days, this square serves as a site for holding the inauguration ceremony of the President of Russia.

Assumption Cathedral of Moscow Kremlin
«The Magnificent Assumption Cathedral framed by Trees» - See picture in Kremlin Grounds and Cathedrals Album

Cathedral of Dormition or Uspensky Sobor is a Russian Orthodox Church dedicated to Dormition of the Theotokos that refers to the Great Feast commemorating the death of Mary, Jesus' mother, and her resurrection before she rose to heaven. The church was built between 1475 and 1479, during the reign of Ivan III. The design of the construction with its five domes symbolizing Jesus and four Evangelists was subsequently used as a model for the other churches to be built across the country. The interior of the church is decorated by fresco painting, while the walls are adorned with the oldest icons collected by tzars as a trophy after having conquered various lands.

The Cathedral of the Archangel or Arkhangelsky sobor. The years of its construction fall between 1505 and 1508. It was used as the main necropolis for Russian tzars and grand princes before its relocation to St. Petersgurg. Today you can find 54 burials here, including 46 ornamented tombstones and bronze cases. Unlike the other Kremlin cathedrals, this one represents a great influence of Italian Renaissance style, which is clear from the exterior dominated by floral ornaments and arch-shaped frames. However, the interior of the church with its numerous icons, including the one of Archangel Michael, is constructed in a typical Russian manner.

Annunciation Cathedral of Moscow Kremlin
«Gold-Domed Cathedral of the Annunciation» - See picture in Kremlin Grounds and Cathedrals Album

The Cathedral of the Annunciation, or Blagoveschensky sobor is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos that refers to the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus. The church building is attached to Grand Kremlin Palace, abutting to the Palace of Facets. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it remained a personal chapel for royal family members where they confided their sins to the abbot. Since the cathedral was built largely by local architects, its design maintained the traditions of Russian architecture. The most striking distinction of the building is its nine gilded onion domes and roof with kokoshnik ornamentation. The interior is represented by murals showcasing the biblical episodes along with glorious figures of Russian princes and dukes.

Ivan the Great Bell-Tower
«The Ivan the Great Bell-Tower Touching the Skies» - See picture in Kremlin Grounds and Cathedrals Album

Ivan the Great Bell Tower is the tallest of the towers in the Moscow Kremlin, with a total height of 81 meters. It was constructed in 1508 to commemorate Ivan III, the grand duke of all Rus. The tower was of unparalleled height, and for many years, it was prohibited to erect any buildings in Moscow taller than the Bell Tower. The external walls of the building are painted in the way to harmoniously blend in to the buildings adjacent to it. The tower is formed by three octagonal drums, with a gilded dome and a seven-meter cross atop it.  Nowadays, the tower houses 18 small bells and four large bells, including Uspenskii Bell that weighs 65.5 tons. It rings occasionally during the greatest religious celebrations, such as Easter.

The Grand Kremlin Palace was built in the period from 1837 to 1849 on the spot of the demolished mansion that had belonged to the grand princes. Its construction was aimed at highlighting the great power of tzarist autocracy. The palace has tremendous dimensions, with a total area of 25,000 square meters. The building contains more than 700 rooms, including five reception halls, which are used for signing treaties with other countries and holding diplomatic receptions, meetings, conferences and official ceremonies.

The Faceted Chamber (Granovitaya Palata)
«The Faceted Chamber (Granovitaya Palata)» - See picture in Kremlin Grounds and Cathedrals Album

The Palace of the Facets is a truly mesmerizing building with only one big, vaulted room inside that is as large as 500 square meters. This room was formerly used by the tzars as a throne room and main banqueting hall. However, even these days, the formal diplomatic receptions take place here, which is why the admission to the palace is limited. The construction of the building was started in 1487 by Marco Ruffo, an Italian architect. Most importantly, the palace gained its epithet ''faceted'' due to its facade decorated with sharp-edged blocks that resemble diamonds with their four facets. Adjacent to the side of the palace is the Red porch that used to serve as a staircase where the rulers appeared before they proceeded to the place of their coronation.

Cupolas of Terem Palace
«Gilded Cupolas of Terem Palace Churches Against Beautiful Skies» - See picture in Kremlin Grounds and Cathedrals Album

Terem Palace is a five-storied building that was used as a royal residence for Russian tzars and their family members. The upper story that looks like a marquee served as a hall where Russian rulers summoned the members of boyar duma.  The building was originally constructed in the 16th century, but later in 1635-1936 was totally rebuilt by the first Romanov tzar.  The exterior is embellished with flamboyant ornamental stones and vibrant tiles. Inside the palace, the walls are covered with murals that were renewed in 1837 after a series of fires. At the eastern side of the Terem Palace there is a group of home churches and the palace's cathedral complex. Among them are the earliest St. Cathrene Church built in 1627, Eudokia church (1654), Church of the Vernicle (1635-1636) and the Verkhospasskiy (Upper Savior’s) cathedral.

The Tzar Cannon is one of the most popular tourist attractions. Being a purely symbolic display, it was never used in military purposes. However, the traces of firing are still found there. The cannon is deemed to be the largest bombarder (if judged by caliber) in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. It is made of bronze and weighs 39.312 tons.

Czar Bell
«Czar Bell and Archangel Michael Cathedral» - See picture in Kremlin Grounds and Cathedrals Album

The Tsar Bell is the largest bell in the world with a weight of 201,924 kilograms and a height of 6.14 meters. However, since it was broken during metal casting, it was impossible to ring it. It is sometimes called a Kolokol III (Bell III), because it belongs to the third generation.

The Kremlin Arsenal was formerly used as an armory and was erected in 1736. Currently, it serves as a home for Russian military regiment that ensures the security of the highest state officials. The two-storied building has a trapezoid shape and is painted in yellow like the other official buildings on the Kremlin's area

The State Kremlin Palace or the Kremlin Palace of Congresses is a large modern building, faced with white marble that was constructed at the initiative of Nikita Khrushchev in 1961. Its main hall can accommodate six thousand people. Having been used as a place for holding party congresses over many years, it now serves as a popular concert hall.

The architectural ensemble of the Cathedral Square is open for public daily except Thursday,
from 15 May to 30 September – from 930 to 1800; from 1 October to 14 May – from 1000 to 1700.
Tickets for visitors under 16 are free of charge. 

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About Me in Short

Guide, Driver and Photographer Arthur Lookyanov

My name's Arthur Lookyanov, I'm a private tour guide, personal driver and photographer in Moscow, Russia. I work in my business and run my website from 2002. Read more about me and my services, check out testimonials of my former business and travel clients from all over the World, hit me up on Twitter or other social websites. I hope that you will like my photos as well.

See you in Moscow!