MOSCOW ARCHITECTURE Moscow’s earliest buildings were made of wood. In the thirteenth century Prince
Daniil (see page 9) ordered the construction of the city’s first stone buildings. Since then magnificent structures in a wide variety of styles have grown up in Russia’s capital. But many of the greatest and oldest buildings still stand in the heart of the city–the Kremlin and Red Square.
When St. Basil’s Cathedral was completed in 1560, it was white with gold “onion” domes. In the seventeenth century it was painted to create the multicolored building that exists today.
The Bell Tower Another important Kremlin landmark is the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. This gold-domed structure was begun in 1505, and reached its present height of 266 feet in 1600. It contains 21 bells, which were rung to warn Muscovites of approaching enemies. The Assumption Bell weighs 72 tons and was tolled three times when a czar died.
The Kremlin In 1367, after several disastrous fires, the original wooden walls of the Kremlin were replaced with dazzling white limestone. Ivan III (see page 9) demolished all this to make way for red brick walls and towers encircling 69 acres (27.9 hectares) of land. He also employed Russian and Italian architects to build splendid structures inside the walls. These included the Cathedral of the Assumption, which was used for coronations, and the Cathedral of the Annunciation (right), the private church of the czars.
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