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Cracking the Kremlin

At the heart of Moscow – geographically, politically and culturally – lies the Kremlin. If you lived through the Cold War or even just seen early Bond films, even a mention of the Soviet-era landmark suggests KGB plots and political intrigue. In fact many Russian cities have a kremlin, a fortress that has survived since the Middle Ages. Moscow’s has become The Kremlin only because it was the place that Ivan the Terrible ruled from and created his nation.

Getting inside the Kremlin no longer requires a grappling hook and infra-red sights. The greatest obstacle is the tedium of lines – lines for a ticket, lines for the cloak room and finally the line to get in. But once you’re inside there’s a treasure chest of gold domes and buildings to explore. The world’s largest bell is cracked and broken in the grounds here. There’s a massive cannon built too large to actually fire shot – a curious metaphor for Cold War posturing. The tallest building here is the Ivan the Great Belltower - visible from outside the Kremlin's walls but now dwarfed by skyscrapers. The Kremlin was once spacious enough to bring a small city within its walls during an attack, but modern sprawling Moscow is too big for this medieval courtyard.


  1. I do not know if Ivan the Great Bell Tower was open when you went into the Kremlin, must not have been because you did not mention it, but the bell tower is now open and offers a great view on the Kremlin Cathedral Square.


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