Moscow, the Third Rome

The Kremlin at night

The Kremlin at night ©Sergey Vladimirov/Flick

At the beginning the Kremlin was a triangular wooden fortress protecting the princely palaces of Moscow, however, over the centuries, it has expanded, churches, monasteries, shops and houses being built within the walls.

An old legend says that while the Russian nobleman named Kutcica gave the signal to start the hunting of a boar that came suddenly, being huge and fierful, a bird came from the sky that has cracked down on the beast. The people stopped in their hunting, while the wild bird rushed and grabbed the boar it in its powerful claws, went on the hill that dominates the city.


According to the legend on the exact place where the bird stopped, was digging a hole that was covered with branches and tree trunks, being built a small fortress. Later on this hill – Boroviţchi, where the Neglinnaia flows into the Moscow River – surrounded on all sides by woods, had to be build the symbol of Russia. In 1147, this village belonged to Yuri Dolgoruki and the Russian chronicles mention the end of the construction of this fortress in 1156.

The Cathedral Square in Kremlin

The Cathedral Square in Kremlin ©Honza Soukup/Flick

The development of the Kremlin

At that time, Moscow was surrounded by wooden fences, poles and reinforced with several towers and on the hill was arranged a place surrounded by stone walls or unfired clay bricks. Since Moscow was then a frontier fortress, the Kremlin fortress was designed to protect any passage which could be dangerous. The name of Kremlin was given in 1331.

Prince Ivan Kalita I (1325-1341) gave a real boost to Kremlin, becoming its emblematic figure. He managed to attach the important Principality Vladimir and heavy tribute paid to the Golden Horde had secured the passivity of the Mongols. With great skill in the thirteenth century he knew how to draw in Moscow the Metropolitan of Russia, which had its headquarters in Vladimir.

Under Prince Vasili I (1389-1425) and under his son Vasili II (1425-1462), the Kremlin has continued to grow. Due to the latter, Moscow was liberated from the Asian dominion.

The Kremlin fortification

The Kremlin fortification ©julien.barrier/Flick

Tzars in Kremlin

Followed Ivan III (1462-1503) who considered himself the legitimate inheritor of the Grand Prince of Kiev, and Vasily III (1505-1533), which completed the union of Russian land and the submission under Kremlin of the members of old families of princes and boyars. Kremlin now has the mission to restore the full glory of the true faith. Moscow had become the Third Rome, as predicted, in the thirteenth century, by the monk Filoteu. The three magnificent cathedrals in the middle of the Kremlin, and Bell Tower of Ivan meant to be the center of the Russian Orthodoxy. With Tsar Ivan IV, aka Ivan the Terrible (1547-1584), the Kremlin became imperial, beginning the triumph of Russian Orthodoxy.

The Kremlin at night ©Sergey Vladimirov/Flick

The Kremlin at night ©Sergey Vladimirov/Flick

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