It is not just one of the most often asked questions by tourists getting to the city center of Moscow for the first time, but also, the question in its essence so profoundly basic that some people, not to look that they have not a slightest idea about what's happening here, for a surprisingly long time just keep wandering around trying to deduce the meaning of this word from all surrounding, indirect information.
Also, people from so many different countries often with full confidence name all sorts of random buildings in the center as the Kremlin saying that they once saw a guy on their local TV saying that it was it.
To prevent those things happening to you, let's see what are the most frequently mistaken for the Kremlin buildings and then see what the Kremlin actually is.
Is this the Kremlin?
No. But this is the MOST commonly mistaken for it building. I mean... it's sort of close to it, and you constantly see it on TV and on the cover of every book ever written about Russia. So I get how people can start thinking like that. But no, it's called Saint Basil's Cathedral. It is basically Russia's most famous church that now works as a museum. Whomever at home keeps suggesting that it's the Kremlin, please, punch them when you return back.
Is this then?
The second most commonly assumed to be the Kremlin structure is this wonderful-looking State History Museum. It's not too far geographically, but it's still not it.
What about this one?
It's called GUM Department Store. And... it's a very fancy store that's located on Red Square, which does not form part of the Kremlin.
And this one here?
Definitely Nyet! This is way too far from truth at all. Although it is a very important building. It's called Christ the Saviour Cathedral - the tallest and the most important functioning church in Russia. And is something you certainly should visit throughout your stay here.
Then it must be this
This will be the best wrong guess. If you keep showing pictures of this building to everyone and saying that it's the Kremlin, no one would even figure that there's anything wrong with your understanding of this word.
It's the former royal palace on the Kremlin territory and it's Kremlin's most recognizable building. If you google just 'Kremlin', 80% of all pictures will have that building on them. But the building alone is still not all of what the Kremlin is.
So what exactly is the Kremlin?
All of the pictures below show you the Kremlin from different angles:
The Kremlin is a 15th-century fortress right in the middle of the city of Moscow that back in the days used to be all of the city's territory. So the Kremlin is those red walls you see on the pictures above and all of the buildings on the territory beyond said walls.
So more precisely, all of the Kremlin looks like this:
You can also spot how Moscow smog looks like on that picture, by the way.
The word 'Kremlin' used to literally mean 'fortress' in old Russian language. And there are many Kremlins like this one that still exist in the city centers of many of the oldest European Russian cities. Here's the Kremlin of Novgorod, for example:
That's why when comes to the one in Moscow, people normally add the definite article to the word 'Kremlin' stressing its importance and uniqueness among all other, lesser known Kremlins.
Here you go. Now you know what the Kremlin is. Please, share the article if you liked it.
Thanks for reading!