In Ancient Russia, only those settlements were called cities that were located behind a fortified wall with loopholes and towers, that is, inside the Kremlin. In Russia, the Kremlin is in Rostov, Veliky Novgorod, Suzdal, Tula and some other cities. But the most famous and largest, of course, is the Moscow Kremlin.
By the 10th century AD, Vyatichi had settled on the top of Borovitsky Hill. The center of their village was located where the Cathedral Square is now located. The settlement was protected by a moat, palisade and rampart. Moscow is first encountered in chronicles dated 1147. It is known that fortifications were built around the city with an area of about 3 hectares, around which a ditch was dug about 17 meters wide and at least 5 meters deep. Moscow was a typical fortress. In 1238 it was destroyed by the Tatar-Mongols. In 1339, the city was surrounded by oak walls and towers.
The oldest church in Moscow, the Cathedral of the Savior on Bor, which was razed to the ground in 1933, belongs to the 30s of the XIV century. In 1365, the Chudov Monastery was founded - one more ancient structure of the Moscow Kremlin. It was also destroyed in 1929.
In the middle of the XIV century, Prince Dmitry Donskoy ordered to erect stone walls instead of wooden Kremlin walls. The builders used white stone quarried near the city. Wooden fortifications remained only partially, but they often burned, and therefore were also replaced by stone ones. However, construction technologies were imperfect, and therefore, by the middle of the 15th century, the need for reconstruction arose.
In the second half of the 15th century, Ivan III the Great started a major overhaul of the Kremlin. Russian architects Myshkin and Krivtsov were entrusted with the construction of a new Assumption Cathedral. The building was brought to the vaults when an earthquake struck in 1471. The structure collapsed. To work on creating a more beautiful and durable structure, Ivan III invited the Italian Aristotle Fioravanti. It is believed that in 1485 the construction of the Grand Ducal Palace began. Fragments of its front, designed by Italian architects Marco Fryazin and Pietro Antoni Solari, have survived to this day.
At the beginning of the 16th century, at least 4 new churches were built on the territory of the Moscow Kremlin, and one temple (John the Baptist near the Borovitsky Gate) was rebuilt. For half a century, the walls of the Kremlin were gradually dismantled and erected again. The fragile white stone was replaced with new fired brick. The top of the wall was jagged. Historians believe that the Kremlin acquired its modern shape in the form of an irregular triangle by the beginning of the 16th century after the annexation of several dozen hectares in the northwest.
By the middle of the 16th century, the Moscow Kremlin had become impregnable. A moat stretched along the walls, surrounding the fortress from all sides. By that time, the main streets of the Kremlin were expanded: Chudovskaya, Nikolskaya and Spasskaya.
Tsar Peter I, who came to power, forbade the construction of wooden buildings on the territory of the Kremlin and the reconstruction of those burnt out in the fire of 1701. In 1702, in addition to the royal chambers, the chambers of the courtiers and cathedrals, secular buildings appeared in the Kremlin, for example, the tseikhhauz (arsenal), which was built from 1702 to 1736. Empress Elizaveta Petrovna ordered the repair of the Kremlin buildings, and if this was impossible, then the new buildings should be an exact copy of the demolished ones.
In 1768, construction began on the new Kremlin Palace. The chief architect was V. I. Bazhenov. The project was so large-scale that it was necessary to dismantle part of the Kremlin wall, as well as to demolish some of the architectural monuments of Ancient Russia. Bazhenov believed that the Kremlin needed a complete redevelopment. However, the plans were not destined to come true. By that time, the capital had long been moved to St. Petersburg, and Catherine II, who came to power, did not like Moscow. Until the end of the 18th century, attempts at a large-scale reconstruction of the Kremlin were made several times, but things did not go beyond projects.
In the new century, the inhabitants of Russia began to perceive the Kremlin as a historical symbol. At the beginning of the 19th century, many buildings were demolished on the territory of the complex, for example, the Heraldic Gate, part of the temples of the Ascension Monastery, Trinity Compound and others. Napoleon, leaving Moscow after the capture, ordered to blow up the Kremlin. Those of the shells that went off did enormous damage. During the reconstruction, the Nikolskaya Tower acquired Gothic elements; trophy cannons appeared around the Arsenal, re-finished by architects Mironovsky, Bakarev and Tamansky. The Kremlin was completely restored only by 1836.
From 1839 to 1849, the construction of the Grand Kremlin Palace continued. Because of this, the oldest church and several dozen other buildings had to be dismantled. Terem Palace, Small Gold and Faceted Chambers became part of the new palace complex.
Over the next 50 years, the Kremlin practically did not change its appearance. In 1917, the Kremlin was damaged by artillery shells. Moscow again became the capital of the country. Since 1918, Soviet leaders have lived in the Moscow Kremlin.
Scientists and ordinary citizens begged the government not to threaten the integrity of the architectural monuments. Nevertheless, in Soviet times, more than half of the buildings, according to the estimates of the historian K. Mikhailov, were destroyed. Dozens of buildings were "reoriented": a hospital was opened in the Chudov Monastery, a public dining room in the Faceted Chamber, and a club for workers of Soviet institutions in the Small Nikolaevsky Palace.
During the Great Patriotic War, several dozen bombs were dropped on the Kremlin, but they did not cause serious destruction, since the entire complex was carefully camouflaged. In the second half of the 20th century, clay tiles on parts of buildings were replaced with metal sheets, a memorial "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" was erected. In the 90s, by decree of the Government of Russia, large-scale restoration work was carried out: the towers and walls were repaired, some buildings were restored.