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Most of the original Kremlin fortifications, towers, cathedrals and royal household buildings were built by invited Italian architects. C15th Italy had survived atrocious civil wars, making its military engineers the most ingenious and battle-tested in Europe. Russian money – then as now – bought Europe's best. Medieval Muscovy couldn't cope with their foreign names, and gave these men newly-invented Russian names instead. The surname 'Fryazin' might seem to indicate they were all from one family – but in fact these Italian builders were unrelated, and were even professional rivals. Their new surname indicated someone given a plot of land as a royal favour – as many of them were. Scholars have identified many of these so-called Fryazins by their true Italian names – but the identity of others remains unsolved.
The right of the Manège there's a white semicircular tower with defensive arrow-slits and decorative red-and-white crenelations – it's the Kutafya Kremlin Tower. This kind of defensive bastion was always built beyond a fortress's walls, since it protected the bridge and gates. Behind the Kutafya Tower we can see the Troitskaya Tower – the highest of the Kremlin towers.
The Troitsky, or Holy Trinity Bridge spans the distance from the Kutafya to the Troitskaya (Holy Trinity) Tower – the Kremlin's highest tower. It's the main entrance for tourists to the Kremlin. The Kutafya Tower is just 13.5m (or 44 feet), while the Holy Trinity Tower is 80m (or 262 feet). Kutafya is the only surviving ravelin gatehouse – a fortification sitting outside the fortress walls. It was built in 1516 simultaneously with the Holy Trinity Tower. It has two storeys equipped to repel invaders, plus a crenelated roof. In the C16th it had the Neglinnaya River on one side, and a deep moat on the other. This made it an impregnable defence for the Holy Trinity Tower – the Kremlin's second-most point of access.
Italian stonemason Aloisio de Carezano – who took the Russian name Aleviz Fryazin – built the Kutafya Tower. The tower's name has two explanations – “kut” meant a shelter, whereas “kutafya” was a medieval Russian word for a clumsy, squat woman.
Moscow is the capital of the ancient and modern Russian state. It has been playing crucial role for centuries. Here you can face all episodes of rich and gorgeous Russian history.
The city is full of historical buildings, monuments, cathedrals, museums and parks. It started many centuries ago from the Kremlin – medieval city-fortress overlooking the Moskva River. Now it is not only the government seat but open air museum. Behind the tall red brick walls palaces, cathedrals and museums are hidden. You can get there through one of the gates and walk along the streets that saw Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov, Peter the Great and all other Romanovs, and the Soviet leaders.
You can visit all the cathedrals on Sobornaya (Cathedral) Square, climb Ivan the Great Bell Tower, take photos of the Tzar Bell and Tzar Cannon, see state regalia, ceremonial vestments and gold and silver relics in the world-known treasury-house – the Armoury Chamber. To say more, the Kremlin and its vicinities are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
We would like to advise you not to concentrate on the Kremlin only. Now you can get out of the Kremlin through the Spasskiye Gate and find yourself on Red Square – the main square of the country where Victory Day parades take place. In winter there is a skating rink with some kind of souvenir bazar. Red Square is famous for being the part of so called Kitai-Gorod – the second ring of fortified walls. Here you will see the beautiful fairy-tale St. Basil’s Cathedral. It is open for tourists and it’s worth visiting. Other places that pay tourists’ attention are GUM (the main center for shopaholics), Lenin’s Mausoleum, the State History Museum and the small Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of Our Lady. If you go along Nikolskaya Street, you will get to Lubyanka Square with the imposing buildings of former KGB and the biggest in Russia Children's World Department Store.
If you decide to go through the Resurrection Gate you will find yourself on Manezhnaya (Manege) Square at the entrance to the Alexander Garden. It’s a large pedestrian open space and a nice place to walk and relax near the fountains. Underground Trade Centre ”Okhotny Ryad” or “the Hunter’s Row” is a paradise for shopping. You can continue your walk towards Arbat or Tverskaya Street. There are also fine buildings to visit and to take pictures of: The Shilov Art Gallery, hotels “Moskva”, “Nationale”, Pashkov's House, The Former House of the Moscow State Duma etc.
If you decide to turn round Georgy Zhukov’s horse monument you’ll occur on Revolution Square where you can visit the Museum of Patriotic War of 1812. From there it’s very easy to get to Teatralnaya or “Theatre” Square limited by the Metropol Hotel, The Bolshoi and the Maly Theatres. In the center you will find a beautiful fountain by Vitali.
All these sites and even more you will be able to visit and explore with knowledgeable audio excursion with offline map from Your Audio Guide “Attractions around the Kremlin”. You will find Moscow very pleasant for spending holidays.