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Behind the small square that runs adjacent to the grey building of the State Kremlin Palace we see an old white-stone arched building with a five-domed chapel built into its structure. This seemingly fairytale edifice is the Patriarch's Palace, with its domestic church of the Twelve Apostles. By walking through the arches of the Chambers you gain access to Cathedral Square.
The Patriarch's Chambers, with its domestic Church of the Twelve Apostles, were built in the C17th on the orders of Patriarch Nikon. The Chambers have been well preserved. For luxury and space the Patriarch's chambers within the Kremlin were not inferior to the Tsar's – truly palatial, and perhaps even rather grander? The Patriarch himself believed that they displayed the superiority of the Church over the temporal power of the Tsar: ‘Holiness is greater than Majesty’ he declared. However, he later paid for this remark – Tsar Alexei Romanov had the Patriarch exiled for these comments.
The ground floor of the Patriarch's Chambers was used for household needs. The second housed the ceremonial halls and the domestic church of the Patriarch, while the third and uppermost floor was the Patriarch's private quarters. The interiors of the residential apartments have been recreated using authentic furniture, books and vestments of the C17th. The other halls of the Patriarch's Chambers currently house a Museum Exhibition about Applied Art and Life of the C17th. Within the exhibition you can see ecclesiastical robes, utensils, ikons and other items from the Kremlin Armoury Collection. However the most interesting is the Cross Chamber, the ceremonial hall of the Patriarchs.
Among the many rooms within the Patriarch's Chambers, the Myrrh Chamber, or Cross Chamber is of special interest. This large ceremonial hall measures 280 square metres. Spanning this large area without internal columns was a rare achievement in the C17th. In 1763 special urns were installed here in the Cross Hall for the preparation of the Chrism – the holy myrrh oil which is used as an anointing oil at baptisms, coronations and blessings. The preparation here of Myrrh gave the Chamber its second name. The myrrh-preparing urns stand here to this day. Also in this room are displayed examples of Russian national tableware, fabrics and embroidery, along with a collection of C16-17th clocks, and handwritten and printed books.
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.