An imposing red-brick fortress stretching along the banks of the Moskva River, the Moscow Kremlin is the grand centerpiece of Moscow and one of Russia’s most recognizable landmarks. Originally the seat of the Russian grand dukes and later home to Soviet leaders such as Lenin and Stalin, the Kremlin is now the Russian president’s official residence.
No city tour of Moscow is complete without a visit to the Kremlin, and most sightseeing tours include at least a photo stop outside. Admission tickets to the Kremlin complex offer access to Cathedral Square, where you’ll find the Ivan the Great Bell Tower (open to the public from April to September); the Assumption, Archangel, and Annunciation Cathedrals; the Patriarch Palace; and the Church of Laying Our Lady’s Holy Robe. A separate ticket is required to enter the Armoury, which is home to the Diamond Fund plus a huge collection of ceremonial arms and armor, royal garments, horse carriages, and gold- and silverware.
While you can explore independently, a guided walking tour helps you learn more about the Kremlin’s fascinating history. Kremlin tours are often combined with other Moscow attractions such as Red Square, Resurrection Gate, and St. Basil’s Cathedral, or a cruise along the Moskva River.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Kremlin is a must for history, politics, and architecture buffs, and first-time visitors to Moscow.
- Plan around two hours to visit the Kremlin; budget more time if you plan to visit the museums.
- Book a skip-the-line ticket for the church, as visitor numbers are limited and lines can be long, especially in peak season.
- Audio guides are available for the Armoury and the Diamond Fund in multiple languages.
- Some parts of the Kremlin are accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Located in the heart of Moscow, the Kremlin is easily accessible by metro or on foot from nearby attractions like Red Square (a 5-minute walk). The main entrance is by the Kutafya Tower, just northwest of Cathedral Square, and a second entrance is located just south, through the Alexander Garden (Alexandrovsky Sad). The closest metro stations are Borovitskaya (Line 9) and Biblioteka Imeni Lenina (Lenin Library; Line 1).
When to Get There
The Kremlin is open to visitors daily except Thursdays and during public holidays or official events. The busiest time to visit is between May and September, when advance bookings are essential—visit early on a weekday morning to avoid the biggest crowds.
Architecture of Moscow
Moscow’s bold monuments and elaborate architecture are a tribute to Russia’s glorious history, and the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Kremlin and Red Square are the city’s most memorable architectural landmarks. On Cathedral Square, the 15th-century Assumption Church is a visual feast, with golden domes, Corinthian columns, and stunning frescos. Other architectural highlights include the 16th-century Resurrection Gate, a decorative entryway to Red Square, and then the star attractions of Red Square itself—17th-century Kazan Cathedral, rainbow-colored St. Basil’s Cathedral, and the State Historical Museum, with its red baroque facade.