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Right behind the current location of the Entrance Ticket kiosk of the Kremlin in the Alexander Gardens we see the Commendant's Tower – just to the South of the Troitsky, or Holy Trinity Tower. It's similar in appearance to the neighbouring Armoury Tower. Long ago it was called the Deaf Tower - and later the Kolymazhnaya Tower.
The building of the Commendant's Tower began in 1493, by Russian stonemasons under the supervision of Italian master mason Aloisio da Carezano. The tower went up in just two years. By the latter C17th, like many other Kremlin towers, a decorative gabled rooftop was added to the tower.
During the C17th it was known both as the Deaf Tower, and the Kolymazhnaya Tower. Kolymazhnaya means Saddlery – the name had arisen from the nearby Royal Riding Yards where riding gear and tack were kept. The name Deaf arose from the absence of gates or windows. The modern name of Commendant's tower arose only in the C19th, due to the nearby Poteshny Palace. In the C19th the Palace was made the Kremlin Commendant's residence, and thus the adjacent tower picked up the name too.
In the C13th Moscow was subject to an onslaught of devastating attacks by the Mongolian hordes of warlord Batu Khan – from which it gradually began to recover. At this time a new dynasty of princely rulers began, beginning from Tsar Daniil – the eldest son of Russian military commander Alexander Nevsky had defeated the invading Teutonic Knights at the decisive battle of Lake Chud. For all its devastation, the rule of the Mongolian Tartar overlords failed to wipe-out the Russian state entirely.
During the Mongolian-Tatar occupation of the C13-14th the Russian Princes continued to be rulers of their own lands – but with the condition that they received annually renewable Permits from the Horde to hold that right. In 1319 the Grand Prince of Novgorod, Yuri Danilovich – eldest son of Prince Daniil of Moscow – received such a Permit. Yuri had moved to northern Novgorod, and left Moscow to his brother Ivan – nicknamed Ivan Kalita, which means Moneybags in Russian. When Ivan, too, received his Permit, he didn't move to Vladimir as was the custom, but remained instead in Moscow. It was a clinching moment in the history of Moscow, and the Moscow Kremlin. In tandem with Ivan's decision to remain in Moscow, the Head of the Church, Mitropolit Peter, resolved to make Moscow the seat of his Patriarchy. From this date Moscow ceased to be merely a defensive citadel, and became the official residence of both the Monarch and the Mitropolit.
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.