Moscow: the Kremlin

Travelers sometimes describe the Kremlin as the Eighth Wonder of the World. A historic fortress complex, this principal symbol of Russia sits on the banks of the Moscow River. Its origins trace back to the very foundation of Moscow in 1147, when it was a “grad” or fortified settlement, with walls built from wood. The Kremlin walls (interspersed with 20 towers, some literal objects of art) encompass the country’s most important ceremonies and meetings, all the while serving as one of its most exhilarating tourist destinations. There are so many sights to see, from its palace buildings to its places of worship, that the better part of a day should be budgeted in any attempt to view it all. A good example of just one important sight is Cathedral Square, the fortress’ most breathtakingly beautiful location. Centered here are the limestone-faced Cathedral of the Dormition (the location of imperial coronations), the gilded-domed Cathedral of the Annunciation (personal chapel of the Imperial Family), and the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael (burial location of many of Russia’s tsars).