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The Borovitskaya Tower is formed as a four-level decreasing pyramid in shape. It's the principle vehicle access to the Kremlin, and used only by top officials. Pedestrian visitors can leave the Kremlin here, and also come in and out for making separate visits to the Armoury and Diamond Fund.
The Borovitskaya Tower is the work of Italian stonemason Pietro Antonio Solari, completed towards the end of the C15th. At that time and before there stood a pinewood forest - “Bor” in Russian - on the slopes of the hill we're now standing on. Thus the hill, and the tower too, are called “Borovitskaya”. The tower was originally to have been called the John The Baptist Tower – after an ancient chapel of St.John The Baptist which had stood on the hill-slope. The church was later dismantled. However, despite a royal decree insisting on the name of St.John The Baptist, the name wouldn't stick, and Muscovites called it the Borovitskaya Tower.
The Borovitskaya Tower stands on the same spot as one of the towers of the preceding white-stone Kremlin of the C14th. The firing-posts around the tower are unusual – because of the bend in the Kremlin Wall at this point they face to the side, rather than directly ahead as on other Kremlin towers. The tower is also a gatehouse. In bygone days the road from here led off to farm buildings beyond. The tower was once more gloriously decorated – the decorations were damaged in the fires of the Napoleonic invasion. In the 1970s some of these stone carvings were restored. They show a familiar theme in ancient art – a knight with a spear, the ancient crest of Moscow, a winged dragon with a tongue of fire, and a lion holding a sword in its paw.
The Moscow Kremlin is a citadel in the centre of Moscow, the sacred heart of religion in Russia, and a treasury of art and precious artifacts. The Kremlin is arranged at the centre of the huge city of Moscow, strategically positioned on a large hilltop. If you look closely, you quickly sense the power of this ancient fortress. Its soaring walls, narrow arrow-slits and defensive bastions all tell that this is a working fortress. But step inside, and you get a different view. Within this bristling castle there are spacious gardens, elegant palaces and ancient ceremonial gold-domed churches, each building commemorating so many epic events and victories, so many famous names... Within the Kremlin the splendour of the old meets the glory of the new... medieval royal apartments jostle with the residence of today's Presidential residence, and world-famous museum collections.
By the third decade of the C12th Old Russia was clearly demarcated into a number of semi-independent Dukedoms. Pride of place among them was held by the powerful dukedom of Rostov-Suzdal. By the latter C12th the Rostov-Suzdal capital was the city of Vladimir. It was to the West of this principality that Moscow appeared. A Prince of Suzdal, Yuri Dolgoruky, invited his fellow Prince Svyatoslav to visit him in Moscow in 1147. This event – mentioned in the Chronicles, is the first recorded mention of the city's name amongst those of ancient Russia. The date is traditionally used to date the city's founding, and to calculate its age.
In the early C12th there was a Slavic settlement on Borovitsky Hill – the site of the present-day Kremlin. This settlement eventually grew into the modern city of Moscow. The Vyatichi – an Eastern Slavic people – had seen the strategic advantage of this large hilltop, and colonised it along with the arable land roundabout. Both the hilltop and flat land were defended by large circular wooden defences. The two areas had different uses – the hilltop had a more ceremonial function. Archaeologists have discovered an ancient cemetery where the Assumption Cathedral now stands – almost certainly a wooden church once stood there. Below people lived and farmed. Here was found the Seal of an C11th Mitropolit of Kiev – a clear indication that this settlement was already a prominent city at the time.
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.