At the heart of the city stands the Kremlin. This old fortress was the centre of the Soviet Union's government until that nation was dissolved in 1991.
Since then, it has been the centre of the Russian government. Inside its walls, which extend almost 11.2 miles are beautiful cathedrals and palaces, as well as government buildings. Many czars are buried in the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael.
The Grand Kremlin Palace was built in the early 1800 s as an imperial residence. The building later was the meeting place of the Supreme Soviet, the parliament of the Soviet Union.
In 1992, Russia's Congress of People's Deputies met in the Grand Kremlin Palace. The Palace of Congresses, built in 1961, is used for cultural performances and government meetings and receptions. From 1961 to 1990, it also housed Soviet Communist Party meetings.
The Kremlin has a long history as a seat of government in Russia. Beginning in the 1100 s, when Moscow was the centre of one of many Russian states, its princes ruled from the Kremlin. The Kremlin was the centre of czarist rule until 1712, when Peter the Great moved the Russian capital to St. Petersburg.
. The variety of styles and lavish decoration give an impression of powerful magnificence. Today, many Kremlin buildings serve as museums. The Kremlins historical treasures include paintings, jewels, and crowns worn by Russia's czars.
The first Kremlin on the site was built in 1156. The present Kremlin walls have stood since the late 1400's, when Moscow became the most powerful Russian city. At that time, architects from northern Italy and from throughout Russia were called to work on the Kremlin.
Buildings added during the 1900's include the Presidium (1932-1934) and the Palace of Congresses (1960-1961). The great hall of the Palace of Congresses houses government meetings and performances of ballets and operas.