Inside the Kremlin: Administrative buildings

This post is part of my Russia travel series: Travel stories | Photo gallery

The apex of political power, the Kremlin, is the kernel of not only Moscow, but entire country.

It was from here that Ivan the terrible orchestrated his terror, Napoleon watches Moscow burn, Lenin fashioned the proletariat dictatorship, Stalin purged his ranks, Khrushchev fought the cold war, Gorbachev unleashed perestroika and Yeltsin concocted the New Russia. (Lonely Planet)

The Moscow Kremlin (RU: Московский Кремль, MR: मॉस्कोव्स्की क्रेम्ल्), sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River. I spent about four hours inside the Kremlin in my second day in Moscow and once again few days later when I visited the place to watch a Ballet show.

What’s a Kremlin?

Kremlin wall and a tower. The Kremlin 18 towers, some being quite distinct and significant.

Kremlin is the fortified power center of a town, and several Russian towns have a Kremlin. The Kremlin at Moscow has a 2.25km long red wall, east of which is the Red Square. Foundation of this Kremlin was laid around 1150 CE.

Former Senate building

Hot spot of Russian Government, the Senate.

This triangular building used to be the office of the Russian president. I don’t know if that’s still the case. But it seems that the building is full of bureaucrats, since everyone was hurrying out as the clock ticked 5pm.
Yellow triangular Senate building

Former Supreme Soviet Building and the Savior Gate Tower

Supreme soviet building. The Savior Gate Tower is seen behind. To the right is the Tsar Tower.

The Savior Gate Tower is the official exit from Kremlin to the Red Square. The clock is huge, distinct and forms an important identity of Kremlin and the Red Square. The clock itself takes 3 floors of the tower, and its chime can be heard everywhere every 15 minutes. You might remember the picture of this tower against the St. Basil’s cathedral from my previous post. The Tsar tower nearby is believed to be the place from where Ivan the terrible watched executions.

I liked the look of this building against the massive tower, especially the flag and the five-pointed red star make a nice complimentary scene against the blue backdrop. I must have stood here for a long time, asking people to take a picture of me, but often people cut my feet (from the picture I mean), or didn’t frame it properly.

Great Kremlin Palace

Residence of the President. Mr. Putin lives here! Guards will shoo you off if you linger around.

This place was the imperial residence for about 10 years. It’s now the official residence of the president and a place to host state visits and receptions.

Great Kremlin Palace to the south-west entrance gate (Borovitskaya Tower). Big shiny black cars with important looking people will zoom past here.


The Armoury houses ‘numbingly opulent’ collection of treasures accumulated over the centuries by the Russian State and the Church. I got a ticket because I heard wonderful things about the museum. Sadly, it was a huge disappointment to me, and if you are not keen about going to a museum that has instructions only in Russian, and displays expensive but not awe-inspiring stuff, then don’t go there. There are some ok detailed jewelery, locomotive, wagons, lamps, dresses,


Entrance ticket for visiting the Kremlin is RUR 300 (USD 15) for adults and RUR 150 (USD 7.5) for students. Photography permit costs extra, but I didn’t buy it, but I still took pictures as you can see! All instructions at the ticket office, located at the Alexandrovsky Garden (west side of Kremlin), are exclusively in Russian. Surprisingly, ticket prices are same for domestic or foreign tourists.

One has to deposit their luggage at the luggage office which is inconspicuously located in a shack under the main street level, just below the ticket office. Cost RUR 40 (USD 2). I suggest not to part with your camera, money and expensive stuff because the place looked kinda shady to me. It took me 20 minutes to figure out the directions people were giving me. I think they were unable to speak my level of Russian. 🙂

Ticket to Armoury, costs RUR 300/175 (adult/student) extra.

This post is part of my Russia travel series: Travel stories | Photo gallery