What to see in Russia
Tourist attractions Kremlin
Sometimes described as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, the Kremlin, meaning 'fortress within a city', is one of the most important sights in Russia. Linked to almost all of the most pivotal events in Russian history since the 13th-century, it has served as both the residence of the former tsars, the seat of the Presidential Palace and an eternal symbol of the Russian Federation.
Sat on the banks of the Moskva River, the Kremlin’s roots can be traced back to the 12th-century when it began its life as a walled settlement. Covering an area of 70 acres in the heart of Moscow, the complex is surrounded by imposing red-brick walls, built by a team of Italian architects in the 15th-century.
Inside, you’ll find a plethora of glorious architecture along with some of the most significant buildings in the country. Jaw-dropping in its scale and grandeur, a trip to the Kremlin is the chance to understand Russia’s political, military, and religious evolution.
It’s recommended to spend at least half a day exploring the complex to gain a good overview of its incredible collection of monuments and buildings. There are two entrances to the Kremlin, one at Kutafya Tower and another in Alexandrovsky Gardens. The complex is also visible from Red Square and is open to the public every day except for Thursdays.
A UNESCO World Heritage and one of the best things to see in Russia, the Kremlin is home to invaluable treasures, significant religious sites and historic monuments.
Things to see in the Kremlin
Home to museums, churches, palaces and administrative buildings, it can be difficult to know where to begin if you take a tour of the Kremlin. One of the highlights of this architectural ensemble is the Grand Kremlin Palace. Constructed in 1837, it was originally the residence of the Russian Tsars, although today it is the official home of the Russian president. Only guided tour groups are permitted inside the palace, and only a selection of rooms are included on the tour. Nevertheless, the ornate decoration of the interior is worth the visit!
One of the most impressive things to see in the Kremlin is the Armoury. Once home to the most devastating weapons in the arsenal of imperial Russia, today the Armoury is a fascinating museum that showcases an array of Tsar-era weaponry, jewellery and antiques. Be sure to look out for the priceless Faberge eggs and Ivan the Terrible’s ivory throne. Visiting the Armoury is the chance to experience the heritage of Tsarist Russia at its most opulent and powerful!
For more jewels, explore the Diamond Fund, home to the rarest gemstones and priceless jewels imaginable. Opened in 1967, parts of the collection date back to the 18th-century treasury of Peter I. Highlights of the Diamond Fund include a 33-kilogram golden nugget and some of the largest raw diamonds in existence. If you visit the Diamond Fund during a Kremlin tour, expect to be dazzled by this eye-popping array of sparkling stones and jewels.
A more austere sight to explore on a trip to the Kremlin is the Cathedral of the Assumption. Instantly recognisable by its five gold domes, it is one of the most important churches in the country. Its significance comes from the fact that this cathedral was the burial place of the heads of the Russian Orthodox Church for more than 300 years. The interior is bright and spacious, with beautiful frescoes and icons along with a collection of valuable holy relics.
Finally, if you travel to the Kremlin don't miss the famous Tsar Cannon. Cast in 1586, it is the largest cannon ever made! Interestingly, it has never been fired. Nearby you’ll also find the Tsar Bell, which dates back to the 17th-century and measures more than 6-meters in height. Just like the cannon, it is the largest of its kind in existence.