The Kremlin wall | 4Walks
The Kremlin wall
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By the XVII century in such large city as Moscow internal fortifications which defended only a small central part of it, in general, lost their point. The Kremlin walls and ditches were not part of the military-defensive system. However, the Kremlin walls retained their importance for the protection of the royal court. Besides, the majestic walls and towers of the Kremlin have given a special splendor to the Czar's residence.

Spasskaya Tower is the main tower of the Kremlin (1491, architect Pietro Antonio Solari from Milan), 71 m high. There is a Holy Gate facing the Red Square. On both sides of the gate there are stone commemorative plaques with the text about the construction of the tower in Latin (outside) and in Russian. A figure top beginning with a tier of white stone carvings has been built above the tower within the period from 1624 to 1625. A tier with tower clock and a bell cote with tent were set above it. The construction has been carried out by Russian stone-cutters under the leadership of Bazhen Ogurtsov. The new clock was ordered by the English clockmaker Christopher Galovey. Until 1936 the tent has been crowned by a large forged double-headed eagle. With the participation of С. Galovey the clock was mounted on the tower. The modern mechanism was manufactured in 1851 by the Butenop brothers' company. The clock occupies 3 floors. The length of the minute hand is 3 m 28 cm. Ten bells manufactured in XVII-XVIII centuries located on the belfry under the tent beat every quarter of an hour.

The tower has been called Frolovskaya until 1658. It has been renamed in honor of the miraculous icon of the Savior Not Made by Hands brought to Moscow from Vyatka in 1645 and later kept in the Novospassky Monastery. The image copy of this icon is exhibited in the monastery cathedral. Since 1658 till nowadays the custom to take off the hat when passing through the Spassky Gates has been established. They say that Napoleon when riding through this gate did not take off his hat and the wind has blown it away.

The Senate tower is located on the Red Square behind the mausoleum. It was erected in the 1490s; the hipped roof was constructed in the 1680's. In the Soviet era the tower was turned into the passage to the mausoleum for members of the Politbureau of the CPSU (Communist party’s) Central Committee.

Nikolskaya tower (Strelnitskaya) is the second gate tower on the Red Square. It was built in 1491 (architect Pietro Antonio Solari). Frequently, in the Middle Ages, the troops arranged in the Kremlin passed through the St. Nicholas Gate for war campaigns. In 1812 the upper tiers of the tower were blown up by the army of Napoleon. The gothic top was built within the period from 1816 to 1817 upon the project of O. I. Bove. During the revolutionary events of 1917, it was damaged, but quickly restored later. However, the gate icon of Nicholas the Wonderworker remained unharmed.

The angular Arsenalnaya (Sobakina) tower at the corner near the Alexander Garden, the most powerful Kremlin tower, was constructed in 1492 (architect P.A. Solari); a stone tent was mounted within the period from 1672 to 1686. The name "Sobakina" was used until the beginning of the XVIII century. The tower was called so by the name of the boyars, whose chambers were located nearby. The Trinity Tower in the middle of the north-western wall is a gate tower; the Trinity Bridge (1516) is leading to its gate. It was built within the period from 1495 to 1499 and raised up in the late 17th century after the model of the Spasskaya Tower, but it does not copy it.

Kutafya Tower has been protecting the entrance to the Trinity Bridge. It was built in 1516. Its chiseled stone crown appeared in 1685.

Borovitskaya Tower is also a gate tower that faces the Borovitskaya Square. It was built in 1490 (architect Pietro Antonio Solari). The name came from the Borovitsky Hill, on which the Kremlin rises. By a decree of 1658 the tower was renamed to Predtechenskaya, but the new name did not get accustomized. The graded top was constructed within 1666-1680s.

The Vodovzvodnaya (Sviblova) tower is a corner tower located near the Stone Bridge. In 1633 the Kremlin's Sviblovskaya Tower was adapted for a water pipe that served all the palace buildings. In 1812 it was blown up by the army of Napoleon. It was rebuilt within the period from 1817 to 1819 under the leadership of architect O.I.Bove.

The Blagoveschenskaya tower is the next one after the Vodovzvodnaya on the southern wall, on the embankment. It was built within the period from 1485 to 1488, the tent was erected in the 1680s. It is believed, that the white stone lower part of the tower (1368) has remained from the Kremlin of the times of Dmitry Donskoy. From the side of the Kremlin the church of the Annunciation famous for the miraculous icon-fresco, which appeared on the wall in the XVI century. In 1731 a church was jointed to the wall. Since that time the tower served as a bell tower and was crowned with a cross, not with a weather vane.

Beklemishevskaya (Moskvoretskaya) tower at Moskvoretsky bridge and Vasilyevsky slope is a corner one. It was built within the period from 1487 to 1488 (architect Marko Fryasin). The tent was built in 1680.

The most slender tower of the Kremlin, the Konstantin-Yeleninskaya (Timofeevskaya) tower, situated next to Beklemishevskaya tower, faces the Vasilievsky slope. It was constructed in 1490; the tent was erected within the period from 1670 to 1680. Until the XVII century it was a gate tower. The top of the covered arch of the gate is still visible on the facade. In XVII century it served as one of the most terrible prisons. The alarm tower is located next to Konstantin-Yeleninskaya tower. It was built in the 1490s; the tent was put within the period from 1676 to 1686. It is famous for its alarm bell which ringing served as a signal to the terrible Moscow plague riot of 1771, after which its tongue was torn from the bell at the behest of Catherine II (now stored in the Armoury Chamber’s collection).

The Czar's Tower, the most modest one, stands directly on the wall between the Nabatnaya and the Spasskay towers. It was built in the 1680s and served as a belfry for Spasskaya tower’s fire warning bell.