For many first-time visitors, the Kremlin appears familiar from its appearances on television news reports. However, there is much to see inside this citadel. From sacred sites to key government buildings, Russia’s religious and political spheres revolve around this complex. Discover the many attractions contained inside, from imperial palaces to iconic Russian Orthodox cathedrals.
Learn a bit of history to prepare for your visit. The Kremlin came to prominence as the political hub of Russia during the reign of Ivan the Great, who ruled from 1462 to 1505. As Moscow thrived, the Kremlin consolidated its increasingly enviable position. Church and state ruled from here. Tsars had their coronations in the Kremlin’s Annunciation Cathedral and the Orthodox Church held important meetings on the premises. Peter the Great moved the capital to St. Petersburg, but power returned to the Kremlin in the early 20th century.
Begin by exploring Cathedral Square in the heart of the Kremlin. Here, find prominent religious buildings, such as the Cathedral of the Annunciation, the Cathedral of the Archangel and Ivan the Great Bell Tower. Admire their glittering onion-shaped domes and ponder their fascinating histories. In these buildings Russian tsars worshipped and were buried.
Head to the Senate Building, the home of the Russian president. While you cannot venture inside its enigmatic walls, you can inspect its neoclassical, yellow-and-white exterior. Built between 1776 and 1788, it has survived much political upheaval and has hosted infamous political figures, including Joseph Stalin.
Stop at the Great Kremlin Palace, a magnificent and epic building with more than 700 rooms. Once home to the country’s tsars, most of the building remains inaccessible to the public. Enter part of it to see the collections of the Kremlin Armory Museum, which includes Fabergé eggs, fine gold and silverware, as well as weapons from around the world.
The Kremlin is open every day except Thursdays and can be reached via the nearby Alexandrovsky Sad metro station. Explore the grounds of the complex for free, but pay an admission fee to gain access to the individual attractions.