The Kremlin is the heart of Moscow. It is surrounded by a high wall of 2.5 kilometres long, built by the Russian builders by order of Ivan III (1462-1505), and supervised by the Italian architects. The twenty towers on the Kremlin wall, which give it a unique aspect, were built for decoration and have no military significance. They were constructed in the seventeenth century when Moscow had ceased to be a fortress. Among the ancient buildings in the Kremlin there are the churches and a tall bell tower built in 1600 by Russian architects under Boris Godunov and known as the Bell Tower of Ivan the Great. The largest cathedral, the Assumption, was built in 1475-1479 by Aristotle Fiorovante. There are some very fine old frescoes, some of which were restored in the 20th century, It was there that the Russian tsars and emperors were crowned.
The Archangel Cathedral was built in 1505 by the Italian architect, Aleviso Novy. The tombs of the Moscow grand dukes and tsars are here, among them the graves of Ivan the Terrible, of his son Ivan, and of his second son, Tsar Fyodor. The Annunciation Cathedral was built in 1484 by architects from Pskov. It is noted for the unusual oil paintings done in the fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries by Andrei Rublyov and his pupils, the greatest artists of the time.
Facing the same square is a very beautiful building known as Faceted Hall which was built in the end of the 15th century by Marco Ruffo and Pietro Solari. In this palace the Moscow tsars held magnificent receptions in honour of foreign ambassadors. The Granovitaya Palace is connected with the enormous Grand Kremlin Palace.
Among other historical monuments in the Kremlin are the Tsar Cannon (sixteenth century) and the Tsar Bell (eighteenth century), both of enormous size and made by Russian masters. In a large wing of the Palace is the Armoury and a museum of applied art where imperial collections of utensils, furniture, weapon and garments of eastern and western workmanship are on display.
In the north-eastern section of the Kremlin is a beautiful building of classic design built by the most famous Russian architect of the eighteenth century, m. Kazakov. In the square opposite this building is the former Arsenal, along the facade of which are numerous cannons captured by the Russian Army from Napoleon in 1812-1814.