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In front of the Ruins Grotto, and perched on a large stone pediment we find a tall granite obelisk to famous philosophers, formerly called the Romanov Obelisk.
The obelisk here was originally put up in 1914 to mark the three-hundredth anniversary of the Romanov family as Russia's monarchs. It was a jubilee the Royal family planned to celebrate in grand style. A contest was held for the best design of a suitable monument. However, after the winners were announced, it was declared that the runner-up would be built – the winning design proved to be more expensive than the budget permitted.
The Romanov Obelisk was originally situated at the Main Entrance to the Alexander Gardens. In the original design it was topped by double-headed eagle figurines, the crest of Russian monarchs - while below the eagles was a lion armed with a shield, the crest of the Romanov family. On the faces of the obelisk were carved the names of all of Russia's Romanov monarchs, from Mikhail I through to Nicholas II – along with the crests of provinces and regions of Russia, and the coats-of-arms of the Grand-Princes. After the Revolution, instead of knocking down the obelisk, it was instead remodelled along suggestions made by Lenin. The eagles and lion were removed, and the coats-of-arms of the Romanovs effaced. In place of the names of monarchs, a somewhat peculiar list of important world thinkers – personally drawn-up by Lenin – was engraved instead. In 1966 the obelisk was moved along the Gardens to its present location, to make space for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier memorial monument.
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.