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Moscow Kremlin: TOP-6 buildings that we have lost
Moscow Kremlin: TOP-6 buildings that we have lost

The Moscow Kremlin is perhaps the most famous Russian architectural complex. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that it has dozens of structures of various purposes. But there are buildings that, for a number of reasons, have not survived to us, remaining only in old photographs or references in literature.

We would like to bring to your attention the "six" architectural objects of the Moscow Kremlin, which were irretrievably lost.

Scheme of the Kremlin of the 17th century - parts of the buildings marked there no longer exist

1. Cathedral of the Savior on Bor

Irretrievably lost, the oldest Moscow church

This unique architectural monument was located behind the Terem Palace. The Cathedral of the Savior on Bor is one of the oldest churches in Moscow: the first mention of it dates back to 1272. Initially, there was a wooden structure on this site, and only in 1328 Ivan Kalita ordered the construction of the second stone cathedral in the future Russian capital.

Cathedral of the Savior on Bor inside, 1910s

Throughout its history, the building has been rebuilt several times. In the 15th century, the building ceased to be a haven for monks who moved to a new location - today the Novospassky Monastery is located there. But the cathedral received the status of a courtier. Over the next centuries, the building, as can be understood from its surviving images, the temple has repeatedly undergone transformations.

Cathedral during demolition, spring 1933

But in the first third of the twentieth century, the history of the unique building ended: the Soviet authorities did not spare the church as part of the first wave of destruction of churches - the Cathedral of the Savior on Bor was destroyed on May 1, 1933. Today, nothing has been built in its place, but an unoccupied site has been left behind the Grand Kremlin Palace.

Temple-monument to the destroyed Kremlin cathedral in Korolev

But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the lost relic was suddenly remembered. Since 1992, church leaders had an idea to perpetuate the memory of the destroyed Kremlin Cathedral, albeit in a different place.

It took almost two decades to agree on the site and obtain the necessary permits. But ultimately, in 2012, construction began on the Church of the Holy Martyr Vladimir, which was located in the science city of Korolev. They tried to make the project of the church as similar to the original cathedral as possible. The first liturgy was served in February 2013.

2. Miracles monastery

Miracles Monastery on a pre-revolutionary postcard

The second oldest architectural monument of the Moscow Kremlin, which was lost, is the Chudov Monastery, which, according to information that has come down to us, was built in 1365 on the initiative of Metropolitan Alexy. Many memorable events in the history of the Russian state are associated with this building.

The interior decoration of the Alekseevskaya Church of the Chudov Monastery

For example, according to official information, it was from the Chudov Monastery that Grishka Otrepiev and False Dmitry I fled the walls of the sacred building.

Chudnov Monastery on the Kremlin plan of the early 20th century

But even in peacetime, the Miracle Monastery was very popular: many official celebrations or holidays were held here. However, after the October Revolution, as a sacred place, the building fell into disrepair.

Back in 1917, all the monks were expelled from the monastery, which, among other things, was damaged by the shelling of heavy artillery, and the premises were given over to various structures. In 1923, the Chudov Monastery was declared an architectural monument, which, however, did not prevent the Soviet authorities from destroying it six years later.

Demolition of the Wonderful Monastery, 1929

In 1934, the 14th building of the Kremlin was built on the site of the destroyed structure, which has also ceased to exist today.And on the site where one of the oldest Moscow churches stood for more than five hundred years, a new museum of archeology of the Chudov Monastery was opened in November 2020, which has no analogues in Russia.

The exhibition features surviving fragments of buildings, sarcophagi and even a reconstruction of the Northern portal of the Chudov Monastery Cathedral.

3. Monument to Alexander II

Monument to Alexander II on postcards of the early 20th century

Not only the buildings located on the territory of the Moscow Kremlin have been lost. Thus, in the upper part of the Kremlin garden, a monument to Emperor Alexander II was laid.

The statue was unveiled in 1898. It was part of an architectural ensemble dedicated to the Russian monarchs: the sculpture by Alexander Opekushin was located under a tent canopy, which was surrounded by a covered gallery with mosaic portraits of the rulers of the Russian State.

Remains of the monument immediately after the demolition, 1918

The coming of the Bolsheviks to power marked the beginning of activities to erase the traces of the monarchy from history. This sad fate befell the monument. The statue of the Russian emperor was dismantled back in 1918 according to the decision of the Council of People's Commissars. The tent canopy and gallery with monarchs stood a little longer: these buildings were demolished in 1928.

And more than eighty years later, they remembered the monument - the idea to restore its pedestal was first voiced, because the place where the statue stood remained empty.

4. Lion's Gate

Lion's Gate, 19th century watercolor painting

The Lion Gate was not only a part of the architectural ensemble of the Amusement Palace, but also one of the most striking visiting cards of the entire Moscow Kremlin.

The monumental architectural and decorative structure, erected in the middle of the 17th century, has two more documented names - "Preobrazhensky Gate" or "Preobrazhensky Portal" - and is an arched portal decorated with solid carved patterns and ornaments. The vivid elements of the latter are the images of lions, which gave the gate its name.

Image of a winged lion (griffin) on a preserved fragment of the gate

It cannot be said that the Lion Gate was destroyed, but today they have been preserved in the form of separate parts. The thing is that at the end of the 18th century they changed their location - they were moved from the ensemble of the Amusement Palace to the Preobrazhensky almshouse of the Old Believer community.

And already in the Soviet period, at the end of the twenties, everything that remained at that time from the arched portal went to the Kolomenskoye museum. Fragments of the ornament still form part of the exposition of the latter.

5. Small Nikolaevsky Palace

Coronation of Nicholas

At the corner of Ivanovskaya Square and Spasskaya Street in the Moscow Kremlin, as if uniting two monastic complexes, was the Small Nikolaevsky Palace, built at the end of the 18th century by the project of Matvey Kazakov. This place has also witnessed a number of significant events for pre-revolutionary Russia.

The future Alexander II was born here, and the coronation ceremony of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II was held next to him.

Porch of the Small Nikolaevsky Palace

Interesting fact:Within the walls of the Small Nicholas Palace, another interesting event took place, but rather for literary discourse - it was here, in 1826, that the famous conversation between Emperor Nicholas I and Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin took place, who was brought to Moscow straight from exile especially for this conversation.

Damage to the facade of the palace after shelling

After the October armed uprising in the capital in November 1917, the Small Nicholas Palace was among the structures damaged as a result of shelling, including the territory of the Moscow Kremlin by heavy artillery. However, after that it stood for another twelve years - it was dismantled together with the Chudov and Ascension Monasteries in 1929.

6. Church of Constantine and Helena in Podil

A church in the Kremlin with a history spanning over 500 years

The Church of Constantine and Helen in Podil was located near the tower of the same name. The exact date of its construction is unknown, and the first mentions date back to the XIV century. Until 1651, the building was wooden, and after it was rebuilt in stone.The Church of Constantine and Helena in Podil has gone through many difficult chapters in the history of the Russian state.

In particular, it was restored after it caught fire in 1738, and the Moscow fire of 1812 did not touch it at all.

Church of Constantine and Helena in Podil on the territory of Taynitsky garden, 19th century

However, this "luck" ended after the Bolsheviks came to power. The Church of Constantine and Helena in Podol was among those structures of the Moscow Kremlin, which it was decided to demolish in the first wave of destruction of churches. Moreover, according to the preserved information, it became the first in this list among the religious buildings of the Kremlin.

The pretext for its dismantling was the following: "the expansion of the area of ​​the Kremlin garden." Today outbuildings and part of the helipad are located on the site of the church.

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