Keml has been the political and religious center of Moscow, the tsar’s residence and the center of the Russian Empire since the 14th century. Over the centuries, the facility has been continuously expanded and lavishly equipped. An architectural highlight is certainly the Assumption Cathedral, the main church of the Russian Orthodox Church. According to aristmarketing, the complex also includes the 500 m long and 150 m wide Red Square with the nine-domed St. Basil’s Cathedral, which is considered an outstanding masterpiece of Old Russian architecture, as well as the Lenin mausoleum and the GUM department store.
Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow: facts
|Official title:||Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow|
|Cultural monument:||the 500 m long and 150 m wide Red Square, formerly the market square and known in the 17th century as “Beautiful Square”, with the adjacent Kremlin, originally the seat of the tsars and in the 13th century just a fortress made of oak stakes, as well as a cathedral square the Lenin mausoleum made of dark red porphyry and black Labrador stone, St. Basil’s Cathedral and the GUM department store with three glass-covered longitudinal passages|
|Meaning:||Center of political power since the 13th century, with an outstanding sacred building of Russian Orthodoxy|
Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow: History
|1403||After the city fire, the market square “Torg” was expanded, now called “Poschar Ploschtschad” (“fire place”)|
|1440-1505||under Tsar Ivan II the Great, Moscow gained in importance as a center of power and the Kremlin expanded to its present form|
|1475-79||Construction of the Assumption Cathedral of the Kremlin|
|1484-89||Construction of the Annunciation Cathedral|
|1485/86||Construction of the secret passage tower of the Kremlin|
|1495||Construction of the 76 m high Trinity Tower in the Kremlin|
|1557-1894||Coronation of the tsars in the Assumption Cathedral|
|1559||Consecration of Pokrovskij Sobor na Rwu
(Cathedral of the Protection and Intercession of the Virgin Mary), now known as St. Basil’s Cathedral
|1875-83||Construction of the historical museum|
|1888-94||Construction of the GUM department store|
|1930||Burial of Lenin, who died in 1924, in the stepped mausoleum|
“The Kremlin stands above Moscow, and only the sky above the Kremlin.”
“You must have been to Red Square on the first evening in Moscow,” noted Christa Wolf in her Moscow novella. Many of those arriving are drawn to the legendary Red Square first. Solemnity and severity determine the paved expanse of the square, which was created in the 15th century as a protection zone in front of the Kremlin after a fire. An architectural focus in the composition of the Red Square, which was once known as a place of fire and later as a trading place before it was given its current name in the 17th century, is the granite block of the Lenin mausoleum rising in steps.
But inevitably another symbol of power from another time attracts attention: the “Cathedral of the Protection and Intercession of the Virgin” or St. Basil’s Cathedral, as it is often called in honor of the “fool of God” Wasilij. This house of God is a fairy tale made of stone – bizarre, imaginative, confusing in the play of shapes and colors and yet carefully thought out in its composition. What lasting effect must this huge building have had on the people living in its low wooden houses in the 16th century? This Temple of Faith, a sign of a triumphant victory over the hated Tatars, was deliberately built outside the Kremlin on the central square and market square, where the common people thronged from morning to evening. The monument in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral, which was erected for Minin and Posharskij, the heroes of the struggle against the Polish-Lithuanian occupation of the early 17th century, commemorates another victory over foreign invaders. To complete the round of history, another building was erected on the opposite side of the square at the end of the 19th century, the Historical Museum.
In the east, what is now Russia’s most famous department store, the GUM, borders the historic square. The imaginative, glass-roofed building was built in the neo-old Russian fairytale style. Huge chandeliers, mirror glass, stucco, ornate bridges and walkways and a fountain in the middle create a festive atmosphere. In line with this, the Kremlin, the “symbol of power”, towers over Red Square. “No, neither the Kremlin nor its serrated walls, its dark passages, its magnificent palaces can be depicted. You have to see, see and feel all that they have to say to the heart and the imagination «, muses the Russian writer Mikhail Lermontov about the encounter with the Kremlin. The wall, which spans more than two kilometers around the Kremlin, is crowned by hundreds of battlements with a two-horned end in the shape of swallowtails. Numerous towers, the distance between which was originally determined by the range of the guns, interrupt the masonry.
The center of the power center of Russian politics is the Cathedral Square with the Assumption Cathedral, the main church of Russian Orthodoxy. The coronation of the tsars took place here since 1498, even after St. Petersburg became the capital of the tsarist empire. The court church of the Russian monarchs was the nearby Cathedral of the Annunciation. On the southern edge of the Cathedral Square, the Archangel Michael, the protector of Moscow’s rulers in life and death, has his own cathedral dedicated, which served as the burial church of the Moscow rulers.
“Ivan the Great”, the bell tower of the Kremlin, became the “highest” symbol of Russia’s central power. At his feet, on a huge pedestal, stands the »Tsar Bell«, a plump lady with a live weight of 210 tons and a popular photo model. The German writer Stefan Zweig said goodbye to Moscow in 1928 with the words: “Nothing fits together here in this most haphazard, apparently improvised of all cities, and it is precisely this incessant contrast that makes them incredibly surprising.” And this surprise in the sight of the opposites is still there today to experience.