The Saviour (Spasskaya) and The Sts. Constantine and Helen Towers

More than 8th centuries have passed since the Kremlin, the ancient fortress that marked the beginning of the city of Moscow, was built on Borovitsky Hill.

The approaches to the fortress were protected by the River Moskva in the south and the River Neglinnaya in the west. In the reign of Ivan Kalita ("moneybag") the first timber fortifications were replaced by walls and towers of oak, and in the reign of Dmitry Donskoy, the Kremlin was rebuilt in white stone. Most of the towers were erected in the 1480s and 1490s when Italian architects took part in the construction of a new magnificent Kremlin ensemble on the order of Ivan III. They were completed in 1495, demarcating the territory of the Kremlin as it is today.

Towers and walls of the Moscow Kremlin at night

The Kremlin walls, supplied with fortification towers, encircle Borovitsky Hill and run for 2.235 km along the River Moskva, the Alexandrovsky Garden and Red Square. Two of the corner Kremlin towers are cylindrical and the third is sixteen-edged. The rest are of rectangular form. Each of the corner towers contained a well. Six towers served as carriageways and had a portcullis. The only porticullis that preserved till nowadays is in front of the Kutafia Tower, erected in 1516 opposite the Trinity Gate. The spires of the Saviour, Nicholas, Borovitskaya and Trinity Towers are topped with double-headed eagles, the coat-of-arms of the Russian Empire. In 1935 the eagles were replaced by five-pointed stars with semi-precious stones, which were later on replaced by luminescent stars made of ruby-coloured glass, one also being mounted to the top of the Water Supplying Tower. Each star weights more than a ton and range from 3 to 3.75 metres in diameter.

The Kremlin starsThe Kutafiya and Trinity (Troitskaya) Towers