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The grandiose building with carved white stone decoration is the Grand Kremlin Palace.
The main facade of the Grand Kremlin Palace extends for 125 metres along the brow of the Borovitsky Hill. The windows might suggest a three-storey building, but in fact there are only two – there are State Rooms on the upper level, and the architect built them with a double set of windows. The building was always planned as the residence of Emperors – later the Supreme Soviet of the USSR made its residence there. More than 700 rooms add up to a staggering total of 20,000 sq.m of floorspace!
The palace has no fewer than five grand halls – the St.George Hall, the Vladimir Hall, the Alexander Hall, the Andrei Hall, and the Catherine Hall. The halls take their names from the medals of the Russian Empire. Currently they are used for state and diplomatic ceremonies and official receptions. The Palace is the official ceremonial residence of the Russian President. Presidential inaugural ceremonies take place in the palace.
If you had stood here in the C15th you would have seen an entirely different palace – the Palace of Tsar Ivan III. The palace was finally demolished in the C18th on orders of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, Peter the Great's daughter, and a new palace built. However, just a century later Tsar Nikolas I decreed the palace unsuitable, and built another. Nevertheless the architects have managed to work elements of the C15th and C18th palaces into the present one. The Vladimirsky Hall provides the link between the old and new parts of the palace. The Grand Kremlin Palace links to several other important locations – the Granovitaya, or Faceted Palace, the Tsarina's Golden Chamber, and the Terem Palace. However, since the building is part of the Presidential Residence, access to all these areas is firmly closed to visitors.
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.