The Kremlin Автор: Маслеников Игорь, 11 класс “Г” школа №1173, Москва
The history of the Moscow Kremlin The history of thе Moscow Kremlin goes back to olden times. The first written record of Moscow dates back to 1147, to the reign of Great PrinceYuri of Kiev, Vladimir Monomakh's son. He was nicknamed "Dolgoruky" (Long-armed), iof .e., one reaching out for other principalities, for his unification policy. Yuri Dolgoruky is considered to be the founder of Moscow and in commemoration of this an equestrian statue by the sculptor S.V. Orlov was erected in Tverskaya Street in 1954. One of the most remarkable exhibits of the Kremlin museums linked to the genealogy of Russian princes is the Cap of Monomakh, the Russian Tsars' inherited crown. It even became proverbial. There is a saying: "How heavy you are, the Cap of Monomakh!" meaning the heavy burden of responsibility. Since time immemorial the Moscow Kremlin has been the centre of Russian statehood, the residence of Russian tsars and hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church. Under Dmitry Donskoy in 1367-1368, the white-stone walls and towers of the Kremlin were erected and Moscow began to be called "white-stone". In 1485-1495, the Kremlin was totally rebuilt. It was then that the first brickbuildings appeared there and it largely acquired its present appearance and dimensions. At the beginning of the 18th century, Peter I transferred the capital of Russian to St.Petersburg, however, according to tradition, the Russian tsars were coronated in Moscow.
In 1917 the Soviet government transferred the Russian capital back to Moscow. The Kremlin became the seat of the highest state bodies, a sort of preserve, where only those who lived or worked there were admitted. It was only in 1955 that its unique museums have again become accessible to everyone. Church services have recently been resumed in the old cathedrals and the Kremlin bells which have been silent for over 70 years have come to life. The Kremlin has been the residence of the President of the Russian Federation and his Administration since 1992. The Kremlin has been and remains a unique monument of Russian culture and a symbol of Russian statehood.
Sights of the Kremlin: The Armoury Chamber A world-wide known treasure-house presents ancient Russian regalia, ceremonial tsar's dress, church hierarchs' vestments, gold and silverware by Russian, European and Eastern masters, arms and armouries, royal carriages and horse ceremonial harness.The famous museum's exhibits are of special interest because of precious materials, high artistic level and their particular value for the history and culture of the Russian State.
The Assumption Cathedral For six centuries the Assumption Cathedral had been the state and cultural center of Russia: Great Princes were set for reigning and local princes swore fealty, inaugurations of Tsars and coronations of Emperors took place here. Bishops, Metropolitans and Patriarchs were inaugurated, statements and ceremonial documents were publicly read, church services before military campaigns and in case of a victory were held at the Assumption Cathedral. The first stone cathedral’s foundation was laid in 1326 by the first Moscow Metropolitan Peter and Prince Ivan Kalita (Money-bag). In late XV century, Great Prince Ivan III who had consolidated all Russian princedoms under the power of Moscow, began the construction of the new residence from rebuilding of the Assumption Cathedral. It was erected by a specially invited Italian architect in 1479. Because of ceremonial functions, particular attention was paid to the cathedral’s interior. Its wall-paintings, icons and various secular utensils are artworks of international artistic value.
The murals of 1642-1943 and the grand iconostasis of 1653 create the present-day look of the cathedral. In front of the iconostasis you can see Tsar’s, Tsarina’s and Patriarch’s praying-seats. The Tsar’s one is of special interest. At the south-western corner higher its bronze marquee. In XIV-XVII centuries, the Assumption Cathedral was the burial place of the Russian Orthodox Church heads - Metropolitans and Patriarchs. After the Revolution of 1917, the Assumption Cathedral became a museum. Making the exposition, the staff tried to preserve the interior. Thanks to permanent restoration works practically all the icons and murals were open up. Since 1990, church services have been recommenced.
Ivan the Great Bell-Tower complex The Ivan the Great Bell-Tower complex had been formed for two centuries. The Bell-Tower was erected in 1505-1508 by Italian architect Bon Friazin. A century later another one arcade for bells was added to the Bell-Tower so that its total height achieved 81 m. The memorial inscription under the dome includes this information, the year of 1600 and the names of Tsar Boris Godunov and his son Fyodor. In 1532-1552, a new church was built near the Bell-Tower on the project of Italian architect Petrok Maliy. In late XVII century it was dismantled and transformed into a belfry named Uspenskaya (Assumption). In 1624, Bazhen Ogurtsov (Cucumber) added to the Uspenskaya another one belfry with a marquee-top - the Filaret’s Annex. In 1812, while retreating from Moscow, the Napoleon’s Army blew up the Ivan the Great Bell-Tower ensemble. However, the pillar of the bell-tower survived. The Belfry and the Filaret’s Annex were completely destroyed and restored in original dimensions in 1814-1815. At present, 24 bells of XVI-XVII centuries are located on the bell-tower and belfry. The ground floor of the Assumption Belfry houses an exhibition hall of Moscow Kremlin Museums. Artworks both from the Kremlin’s collections and those of other Russian and foreign museums are exhibited in the hall.
The Archangel’s Cathedral The history of the Archangel’s Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin dates back to the XIV century: in 1333, the first Great Moscow Prince Ivan Kalita (Money-bag) ordered to lay the foundation of a white-stone church devoted to St. Archangel Michael respected in Rus as a guardian of soldiers and Russian princes in their feats of arms. In 1505-1508, a new majestic cathedral was erected on the place of the old church. Venetian architect Aleviz Novy was especially invited by Great Prince to supervise the construction project. Up to the XVIII century, the Archangel’s Cathedral had been a burial place of Moscow Princes and Tsars. The white-stone gravestones of Princes adorned with praying words and epitafhs stand under the cathedral’s vaults in strict order. The tombs of the Ryurikovich dynasty are located endlong the cathedral’s walls. The tombs of the Romanov dynasty are situated near the south-western and north-western pillars. The first Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible and two his sons are buried in a special tsar’s shrine set in the altar part of the cathedral.
Among the most respected reliquaries of the Archangel’s Cathedral are the one with the relics of St. Prince Michael Chernigovcky murdered in the Golden Horde in 1254 and the one with the relics of Tsarevich Dmitry, the younger son of Ivan the Terrible. The remnants of Saints had never been covered with sod but placed in special reliquaries set up for belivers’ worship. The reliquary of Tsarevich Dmitry is placed at the south-western pillar under the stone carved marquee. The cathedral was first adorned with wall-painting in the reign of Ivan the Terrible. The ancient murals have not survived except small fragments on pillars and several compositions of the altar and the tsars’ shrine. In 1652-1666, the cathedral was painted anew by a big team of Russian masters. The works were supervised by famous tsar’s isograf (icon-painter) Simon Ushakov. The program of the new wall-painting had the same idea of the one of Ivan the Terrible’s times. One of the main themes was the glorification of the Great Princes’ and Tsars’ power through the images of Saint Russian Princes. Among the Saints, painted on the cathedral’s pillars, there are Princess Olga, Great Prince Vladimir who had set up the Orthodoxy in Ancient Rus in 988, his martyred sons Boris and Gleb, Princes Alexander Bogolyubsky, Alexander Nevsky, Daniyl Moskovsky and others. The particular point of the cathedral’s wall-painting is the circle of tombstone portraits: the ideational portraits of Princes from the Ryurikovich dynasty are painted over their tombs in the lower tier. The “portrait” gallery of historical persons is opened with the image of Moscow Great Prince Ivan Kalita and ended with the image of George Vasilyevich, the younger brother of Ivan the Terrible.
The cathedral’s iconostasis crowned with the scene of Crucifixion was created in the reign of Tsar Feodor Alekseevich Romanov in 1679-1681. All the icons were painted by masters of the Tsar’s Armoury Chamber. Only several ancient icons in the lower local row there have been saved. To the right of the King’s Gate there is the cathedral’s icon “Archangel Michael in gests”. According to a legend, the icon was painted on the order of nun Eudokia, the widow of Great Prince Dmitry Donskoi, to the memory of Great Prince and his victory in the Battle on the Kulikovo Field.