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The Central Alexander Garden runs from the Troitsky, or Holy Trinity Bridge to the Borovitsky Tower. Within the Central Garden are the kiosks which are the main Entrance Ticket sales point for the Kremlin.
The Kremlin, and the museums within in, are open daily except Thursdays, from 10am to 5pm. You need to buy an Entrance Ticket – they're on sale in two different locations – either the Kiosks by the Main Entrance at the Kutafya Tower, or the Main Ticket Kiosks which are in the Central Alexander Garden. Both ticket outlets operate from 9.30am to 4.30pm. Tickets for the Armoury Chambers are by timed entrance – 10am, 12pm, 2.30pm and 4.30pm. There are discounts for schoolchildren and students, with ID. Other discounts apply for the disabled (with ID), large families (with ID) and war veterans. Children under 7 go free.
You can take photos and videos within the Kremlin without extra fee, but all video and photo is forbidden within the Cathedrals and in the Armoury Chambers. You can be thrown out completely for breaking this rule. Large or heavy bags, briefcases and self-defence equipment are prohibited – they can be left in the baggage-check under the Kutafya Tower (down the steps). Handbags and clutch bags are permitted.
In 1365 the largely wood-built Kremlin of the time was severely ravaged by fire. The young Moscow Grand-Prince Dmitry of the Don ordered the fortress to be rebuilt in stone on the Borovitsky Hill. A vast quantity of limestone was dragged thirty versts – about 19 miles – from the village of Myachkovo over the winter of 1367 – it was easier to haul on sledges than in summer. Thus the first white-stone fortress in the North of Russia appeared – even today Moscow is nicknamed “Whitewall” in popular conversation. By the end of the C15th Moscow's civic architecture already gave it the appearance of a substantial capital city, and was seen as the successor to Kiev and Vladimir – the former seats of the Russian monarchy.
The Fall of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, in 1453, lent an unexpected hand in Moscow's future. The Orthodox Church – which had hitherto made its seat in Constantinople – fled the Turkish invasion to the nearest large country capable of providing safe haven. In practice, this meant Russia, and specifically Moscow. The relocation was confirmed in 1472 by the marriage of Sophia Palaeologus, daughter of the Byzantine Emperor, to Tsar Ivan III of Russia. The double-headed eagle – the historic crest of the Byzantine rulers – became the emblem of Russia, and Russia and its rulers acquired new respect in the royal courts of Europe. Moscow was perceived as the true successor of Byzantium. Ivan III began to invite the finest builders and architects in Europe – primarily from Italy – to rebuild the Moscow Kremlin in a style befitting the newfound grandeur of the Emperor of All Russia. Thus began the grandiose construction of the Moscow Kremlin – seat of Russian monarchs and of the Russian Orthodox Church.
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.