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The ceremonial wrought-iron gates topped with the gilded double-headed eagles mark the main entrance of the Alexander Gardens – one of Moscow's principle memorial parks. The Gardens run the length of the North-West walls of the Moscow Kremlin.
The massive wrought-iron gates of the Alexander Gardens are decorated with military insignia commemorating Russia's victory over Napoleon in 1812. They were made to drawings by the architect Pascale. In fact very many civic projects in Moscow in the early C19th are connected with the name of Tsar Alexander I, during whose rule the victory over France was won. It was Alexander's name, above all others, that people associated with ridding Europe of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1820 Tsar Alexander I gave royal approval to the building of ornamental gardens along the Kremlin's northern wall. It was a period when the rebuilding of the country after the ravages of war had become the nation's number one priority.
The Alexander Gardens consist of three sections – the Upper Garden, the Central Garden, and the Lower Garden. Here we're in the Upper Garden, which runs for 350m from Arsenal Tower – adjacent with the main gates – to the Troitsky, or Holy Trinity Tower, across whose bridge visitors enter the Kremlin. The yellow building behind the Kremlin Walls is the Arsenal itself. Today it provides barracks accommodation and the administrative quarters of the Kremlin Commendant's Office.
There are three sections to the Alexander Gardens – the Upper, Central and Lower Gardens, covering ten hectares in total. They'd originally been named The Kremlin Gardens. They were opened in the 1820s by imperial decree of Russian Tsar Alexander I. They were renamed in his honour in 1856, on the coronation of his successor Alexander II.
The Gardens run through the former riverbed and right embankments of the Neglinnaya river – the left embankment ran under the Kremlin hill, below the walls and towers of the Kremlin. The hill used to appear a lot higher than it does now.
The farther border of the Gardens is enclosed by elegant wrought-iron railings. The ground-level of this part of the Gardens is noticeably below the street-level of the surrounding pedestrian areas of Manège square.
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.