The main sight in Moscow, along with St Basil’s, is of course the Kremlin. The political centre of Russia, it’s still the seat of government in Russia, much of it is not able to be visited. When it comes to sightseeing, what you can visit is the churches and the Armoury.
Moscow’s history really begins with the Kremlin. Although evidence points to human habitation of the site as far back as 500 BCE, documented history in the area began in 1147 CE when the Grand Duke of Kiev decided to build a wooden fort there. The city grew rapidly. Razed by the Mongols in 1208, by 1326 the Russian Orthodox Church moved its seat from Vladimir to Moscow, setting the stage for it to become the centre of the Russian state under Ivan the Great in the late fifteenth century. By the fourteenth century the Kremlin had been expanded and fortified with stone walls, and the city grew around it. And from the beginning, both church and state powers had been joined within the walls of the Kremlin.
The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries saw the construction [in some case reconstruction on earlier churches] of the Cathedral of the Annunciation, the Cathedral of the Assumption and the Cathedral of the Archangel, as well as the Church of the Deposition of the Robe. All these are able to be visited today; other cathedrals and chapels that formed part of the palace cannot be visited.
The cathedrals above are all centred around a common square, making them easily accessible and the view of the square extra special. I may have gone a little photo crazy. The sky was being incredibly cooperative.
You can’t take pictures inside any of the churches or cathedrals, which was disappointing although expected. The interiors are absolutely stunning, and the queues weren’t exceptionally long. The Cathedral of the Archangel holds the tombs of forty-six Muscovy and Russian rulers, from the 14th century until the capital was moved to St Petersburg by Peter the Great – all above ground, which makes for an interesting feel inside. Moscow once again became the capital under Communist rule.
We had a wander around the gardens, and laughed at the security guard who was clearly becoming very frustrated with a large tour group who refused to move off the road when he whistled again…and again…and again. We also got a pretty good selfie!
We didn’t visit the Armoury, as it was quite expensive and we would have had to wait for an hour before tickets became available for sale. There’s always next time, after all!