20 Fun Facts about the Largest Fortress in Europe – the Kremlin
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- The Moscow Kremlin is the oldest fortress in Russia
- The Kremlin is the largest fortress on the whole territory of Russia, and the biggest active fortress in Europe! Of course the history knows grander fortresses but Kremlin is the only well preserved and still in use.
- The first settlements in the territory of the Moscow Kremlin relate to the Bronze Age (II millennium BC. E.)
- Moscow and the Kremlin have one father. The fortress was built on the orders of the founder of Moscow – Prince Yuri Dolgoruky.
- Since 1264 was the residence of the feudal princes of Moscow.
- The Moscow Kremlin was first a wooden, then stone and finally a brick structure, used to be a city in itself, surrounded by ramparts, towers and battlements in ancient times.
- The Moscow Kremlin got its power and fame in 14th century, when it became the main part of the city, and Moscow – the strongest city in the ancient Russia.
- In the second half of the 14th century all walls and buildings were made out of wood as it was the most readily available material at that time.
- The Moscow Kremlin was often compared to the Scaligero castle in Verona and Castello Sforzesco in Milan, thanks to the Italian architects who constructed the Kremlin cathedrals in 15th
- Almost until the end of the 19th century the Kremlin walls were always painted white to preserve the bricks for longer.
- Red Square’s name is completely unrelated to the color of its buildings. From the 17th century onward, however, Russians began calling the square by its current name, “Krasnaya Ploschad.” The name is derived from the word krasnyi, which meant beautiful in Old Russian and only later came to mean red.
- The Kremlin walls form the shape of an irregular triangle.
- There are 20 towers around the walls.
- Two paradoxes of Russia: the biggest bell in the world that never rang and the biggest cannon in the world that never shot.
- Tsar Cannon was included in the Guinness Book as the largest cannon by caliber.
- The Kremlin was the residence of Russian princes and tsar from 13th to 18th century, and then for Communist leaders starting with Lenin in 1918. Nowadays it’s the official residence of the President of Russia.
During WWII the Kremlin did not suffer too dramatical damage despite huge bombardment of the city in 1941-42. It’s because the Kremlin was disguised as standard living houses! Golden domes of the churches were painted grey, crosses on top of the domes were removed, green roofs of the towers were repainted brown as well. The walls were decorated with fake windows and doors, and the characteristic notches of the walls were covered with plywood to imitate roofs.
The modern Kremlin Clock was remodeled by the Butenop brothers, Moscow merchants, originally from Holland.
- In 1937 the Kremlin replaced Tsar double-headed eagles with ruby stars as the symbol of Kremlin. The stars are believed to have a powerful energy
- The stars are whirling and easily rotate, turning their “face” to the wind.