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TOP 5 Kremlin Secrets
TOP 5 Kremlin Secrets

The oldest street in Moscow, a chandelier remelted from church silver stolen by the French and ancient frescoes that have been hidden for several centuries. What should you ask a tour guide in the Kremlin about if he does not tell you about it?

1. Ancient frescoes under the iconostasis


The Assumption Cathedral, built at the end of the 15th century, is the main temple of the Kremlin, where the rulers of Russia were crowned. A fire in 1626 severely damaged the temple, and in 1642-1643 Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich ordered to knock down old frescoes and paint the temple anew.

What a surprise it was for modern restorers when an ancient painting appeared under the iconostasis. “We found three tiers of ornaments without inscriptions and above are medallions with images of saints,” says the cathedral's curator Alexei Barkov. - The two upper compositions are paintings from 1643, like most of the paintings in the temple. The lower ones are either at the end of the 15th century, when the first iconostasis was painted, or in 1515, this is the date of the completion of the complete painting of the cathedral. " On one of the frescoes, traces of the mountings of the first iconostasis were found, and this allows us to understand why the frescoes have survived. Most likely, it was inconvenient to shoot them down. Restorers will continue their search for ancient painting now on the other side.

2. Stolen Silver Chandelier


After the visit of Napoleon's army to Moscow in 1812, almost all the silver disappeared from the Assumption Cathedral. Only the tomb with the relics of Metropolitan Jonah has survived, who, according to legend, appeared to the French with a threatening fist, and they did not risk it.

But when Napoleon's army retreated, the looted (and this is about 300 kg of valuable metal!) Managed to be recaptured and returned to the temple. At that time, it was already melted down, and in 1817 a church chandelier - chandelier - with the image of flowers and vines was cast from it. She can be seen in the Assumption Cathedral today.

3. The oldest street


Several centuries ago, boyars and merchants lived on the territory of the Moscow Kremlin, the courtyards of monasteries and official apartments were located. There were narrow narrow streets lined with various buildings.

Since the time of Ivan III, something has been constantly rebuilt here: they laid new streets, demolished old buildings and erected new ones, erected and removed monuments. The Kremlin today is spacious squares and green squares, but one unnamed street has survived here. It is located between the Patriarch's Chambers and the Assumption Cathedral and leads, on the one hand, to Cathedral Square, and on the other, to the central entrance to the Cathedral. Want to see what the Kremlin was like hundreds of years ago? Focus on the cross on the left side of the building of the Assumption Cathedral.

4. Ghosts of destroyed buildings


The Kremlin has lost many architectural monuments, both in the first decade after the revolution, and during numerous reconstructions before it. Interesting artifacts remained in place of some of them.

Fragments of the foundation of the Small Nicholas Palace, where Emperor Nicholas I liked to visit, open on the square opposite the Tsar Bell. Fragments of the Chudov Monastery, destroyed in 1929, can also be seen through the glass nearby. Behind this archaeological site is a new underground museum, which is preparing to open soon.

5. Secret well


The only surviving well of the Kremlin and one of the oldest in Moscow is located in the Corner Arsenal Tower. The tower was built at the end of the 15th century on the site of a spring, in order to provide the fortress with water in the event of a siege. The character of this spring turned out to be wayward: the water level rose several times so that it flooded the entire room.

Only in 1975 did Soviet specialists manage to understand how this problem was solved in antiquity.It turns out that a gallery leads from the well to the already underground river Neglinka, where excess water is drained. And when the gallery is clogged with debris, the spring heats up the tower. Now nobody uses the well, although technically it works and everything also drains water into Neglinka. Tourists are not allowed to enter this well for safety reasons.

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