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The two-storey building which stands right at the entrance to Red Square from the Resurrection Gates – opposite the red-brick building of the History Museum – is the former Royal Mint.
The Royal Mint functioned here on Red Square from 1700, and every silver coin until the currency reforms of 1718 was struck here by hand. The reform-minded Tsar Peter I referred to them grumpily as 'lice'. Kopeks, struck in silver, were the working daily currency of Russia in the C16th and C17th – but disappeared from use after the 1718 reforms. With the withdrawal of silver kopeks from circulation, the Mint became redundant, and was closed. Its premises were taken over as government offices at the end of the C18th.
The former Mint was extensively rebuilt in the 1730s. New buildings were erected around the old Mint, which had been put up in Peter I's time. These resulted in a new courtyard between the buildings – although unfortunately there is no access for the public to this courtyard. The main facade of the pale-blue two-storey building and adjoining arch retains its characteristic baroque appearance.
Nowdays the building of the old Mint has passed under the administration of the History Museum, for use as museum premises. It seems likely that in future you'll only be able to look inside by buying a ticket and the building itself will become an exhibit. You can still see the right-hand wing of the old Mint – from the interiors of the adjacent Kazan Cathedral.
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.