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Assumption Cathedral is the enormous church with five golden domes, reminiscent of ancient warriors' helmets. The walls rise to semicircular shoulders. The South Facade of the Cathedral, which looks onto Cathedral square is considered to be its main face.
Assumption Cathedral was the greatest church of Old Russia. Here the decrees of the country's governance were blessed, and Grand-Prince swore allegiance to the throne. Later Grand-Princes and Tsars were crowned here, and Emperors took their brides.
Assumption Cathedral was built in 1475 by Italian stonemason Aristotele Fioravanti – specially invited to Russia by Tsar Ivan III. It stands on the site of a previous Assumption Cathedral. Fioravanti took as his model another Church of the Assumption, in the city of Vladimir. However, the new church was far from a replica of its namesake. The Kremlin Church of the Assumption is distinguished by the elegant simplicity of its facades. White stone was the main material, with the arches made from brick.
Assumption Cathedral is a unique monument of ancient Russian art. Chronicles relate that the church was painted by the famed artist of Old Russia, Dionysus, with his pupils. The ikonostasis, or ikon-screen is decorated in silver and gold and displays ikons of incalculable value. In front of the ikonostasis are praying places for the Tsar, the Tsaritsa, and the Patriarch. The Southern end of the Cathedral displays the Throne of Ivan The Terrible – an extraordinary work of Russian woodcarving. There is an openwork copper awning from the early C17th at the West Door. Under this awning is found an ark, containing the Holy Relics of Patriarch Hermogen.
The Reliquary of the Assumption Cathedral holds several important relics – the Nail Of Our Lord, and the Staff Of St.Peter of Kiev and All Russia. The Cathedral likewise contains the tombs of the patriarchs of Moscow. There are 19 tombs in total. With the blessing of the Patriarch, Holy Worship was restored in the Cathedral in 1990.
Moscow Kremlin is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River to the south, Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square to the east, and the Alexander Garden to the west. It is the best known of Kremlins (Russian citadels) and includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. The complex serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation. It is also open-air museum. Tourists can just walk outdoors there or can visit cathedrals, Big Kremlin Palace and the Armory Chamber. The Kremlin Museums were established in 1961 and the complex was among the first Soviet patrimonies inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1990.
The site has been continuously inhabited since the 2nd century BC, and originates from a Vyatich fortified structure on Borovitsky Hill where the Neglinnaya River flowed into the Moskva River. Up to the 14th century, the site was known as the 'grad of Moscow'. The grad was greatly extended by Prince Yuri Dolgorukiy in 1156, destroyed by the Mongols in 1237 and rebuilt in oak in 1339. Later in 1366–1368Dmitri Donskoy replaced the oak walls with a strong citadel of white limestone on the basic foundations of the current walls. This fortification withstood a siege by Khan Tokhtamysh.
Grand Prince Ivan III organised the reconstruction of the Kremlin, inviting a number of skilled architects from Renaissance Italy who designed the new Kremlin wall and its towers, and the new palace for the prince. It was during his reign that three extant cathedrals of the Kremlin, the Deposition Church, and the Palace of Facets were constructed. The highest building of the city and Muscovite Russia was the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, built in 1505–08. The Kremlin walls as they now appear were built between 1485 and 1495. During the Time of Troubles, the Kremlin was held by the Polish forces for two years, between 21 September 1610 and 26 October 1612. The Kremlin's liberation by the volunteer army of Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin paved the way for the election of Mikhail Romanov as the new czar. During his reign and that of his son Alexis, the eleven-domed Upper Saviour Cathedral, Armorial Gate, Terem Palace, Amusement Palace and the palace of Patriarch Nikon were built. During the Imperial period, from the early 18th and until the late 19th century, Kremlin walls were traditionally painted white, in accordance with the time's fashion. During the Soviet period the Chudov Monastery and Ascension Convent, with their 16th-century cathedrals, were dismantled to make room for the military school and Palace of Congresses. The Little Nicholas Palace and the old Saviour Cathedral were pulled down as well. Now the plans of the government are to restore those lost masterpieces. And probably soon the Kremlin will return all its former buildings.