Address: Grand Kremlin Palace, Moscow
Nearest Metro: Borovitskaya
The Grand Kremlin Palace, also known as The Great Kremlin Palace was constructed between 1837 and 1849 during the reign of Nicholas the first.
Saint Petersburg remained the capital of Russia until 1918. The idea behind the construction of the Kremlin Palace was to provide tsar’s family members with the temporary residence during their stay in Moscow.
The mastermind behind the palace was Konstantin Thon who not only designed it but also oversaw the construction process. He was one of the most authoritative architects in the Russian Empire. The team of architects led by Konstantin Thon used some of the most innovative construction solutions of that time. Kremlin Palace became the first site where they used cement in Russia. The imposing beauty of this palace was meant to put emphasis on the greatness of the Russian autocracy.
The plot of land allocated to the construction of the Grand Kremlin Palace had two buildings that had to be demolished. The first one was The Baroque Palace designed by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The second one was the Church of St. John the Baptist designed by another Italian architect Aloisio the New.
THE GRAND KREMLIN PALACE ARCHITECTURE
The entire being of the palace breathes nobility. Even though the Kremlin Palace consists of just two floors, from the outside it looks like it has three floors. The reason for that is the top floor of the building that was constructed with two sets of windows.
The palace’s first floor houses the half of the Imperial Majesty used solely by the royal family.
KREMLIN PALACE INTERIORS
The total area of almost 275,000 square feet occupied by The Grand Kremlin Palace includes several churches and 5 reception halls. The interiors of the Kremlin Palace feature a mix of styles from various eras that include Renaissance and Russian-Byzantine.
Kremlin Palace reception halls:
- Andreyevsky Hall is the largest out of 5 reception halls located inside the Kremlin Palace. Initially it was used for all major events like coronation of Alexander the 2nd , Alexander the 3rd and Nicholas the 2nd. The throne of the current emperor, decorated with precious stones was located in the middle of the hall.
At the end of the 19th century one seat of the throne was replaced by three seats: one for the emperor Nicholas the 2nd, one for his wife Alexandra Feodorovna and one for his mother Maria Feodorovna.
They were the only ones who had a right to seat during all official ceremonies taking place at Andreevsky Hall.
During the Soviet times, the throne’s place was occupied by a headstone of V. Lenin and the hall was used to hold Communist Party meetings.
Today, this is where the inauguration of presidents of Russia takes place. Right above the throne is the Eye of Providence (also known as the All-Seeing Eye) and it represents the sovereignty of God over all those who govern.
- Ekaterininsky Hall named after the Order of Saint Ekatherine is located in the west wing of the Kremlin Palace. One of the hall’s key design features is wall piers decorated with malachite stones.
During the Soviet times Ekaterininsky Hall was used to hold high level meetings and awards.
Today the hall is closed for tourists because it is used to hold meetings between the president of Russia and foreign delegations.
- Georgievsky Hall that covers the area of almost 14,000 square feet is the second largest hall at the palace after the Andreyevsky hall.
It was named after the order of St. George the Conqueror and was initially used to award top ranking government and military officials. The hall was used to hold the welcome meeting of Yuri Gagarin after his flight to space in 1961.
The interior of Georgievsky Hall is decorated with 18 twisted columns and 6 gilded bronze chandeliers. Marble plaques installed on the walls list the names of honoured soldiers and military units written with golden letters.
The hall’s flooring was created using more than 20 types of wood including rosewood, sycamore, ash, plane trees and birch.
Today Georgievsky Hall is used for all kinds of official state award ceremonies and reception meetings.
- Vladimirsky Hall is located in the centre of the Kremlin Palace and interconnects it with other buildings like Palace of Facets and Terem Palace. You can think of it as a central hub that connects older 15 century buildings with the more modern premises of the palace.
- Aleksandrovsky Hall was named after the order of St. Alexander Nevsky that was founded in 1725 by the empress Catherine I. The walls of the hall are decorated with the paintings of Prince Alexander Nevsky.
Today you can often see Alexander Hall on TV when they broadcast State Council meetings.
Buildings and Churches Around The Grand Kremlin Place
Now aside from reception halls, there is a number of ancient churches you will find within the walls of the Grand Kremlin Place. Here are 5 churches we'd like to mention:
- Annunciation Cathedral is an Orthodox church located on the south west side of the palace. Originally, it was a personal chapel for the tsars until the late 20th century when it was opened to the public.
- Assumption Cathedral also known as Dormition Cathedral is located on the north side of Kremlin. Assumption Cathedral is used as the burial center for Moscow patriarchs and metropolitans of the Orthodox Church.
- Church of Deposition of The Robe is situated on Cathedral Square of the Kremlin and is adjacent to Annunciation Cathedral. It used to be a private chapel under the patronage of Moscow Patriarchs until the mid-17th century when the royal family of Russia took over it.
- Archangel Michael Cathedral is located inside the Kremlin walls between the Ivan Tower and Kremlin Palace. It is famous for the icon of Michael the Archangel that was gifted to Princess Eudoxia in memory of the Kulikovo Battle.
- Church of Twelve Apostles is a cathedral that also serves as one of the museums adjacent to the Kremlin palace. Its exterior walls are decorated with belts of arches and an outline of five domes.
Other buildings within the Grand Kremlin Palace include:
- Armoury Museum which is one of the national prides of Russia as it boasts its rich collection of coronation dresses, Russian artwork, carriages and ambassadorial gifts from all over the globe.
- The Kremlin Towers - there are 20 towers that are constructed along the red walls of Kremlin. The tallest one is called Troitskaya tower.
The Grand Kremlin Palace is located in the heart of Moscow close to Mokhovaya Street and 2 metro stations: Biblioteka im. Lenina and Borovitskaya.
There are no single tickets that you can purchase to explore the palace yourself. Instead you can go on one of the group tours that cover various parts of Kremlin including The Grand Kremlin Palace.
The Kremlin opening hours are 10:00 till 18:00 during week days. Please note that on Thursdays Kremlin is closed to the general public.