What exactly is a ‘Kremlin’?

When I was young, I knew there was this place called “The Kremlin” and it was a place where the Soviet government conducted business and that outside of it there was this church and military parades.  That is what I knew.  That was it.

What I didn’t know is while the government headquarters for Russia is known as “THE Kremlin” (emphasis on “the”), there are many MANY “kremlins” in Russia.  First, a kremlin is a fortress, typically identified by high walls and constrained entry spaces.  And, in the early times, a kremlin housed the full community of a settlement against invaders.  This makes sense when you realize that fortresses in Russia were similar to fortresses in many of the European and Asian countries that had to continually protect from invaders.  Of course, settlements would outgrow these fortresses and, today, many of the fortresses serve as museums, tourist attractions, or (like in Moscow), the headquarters for the government function.

So, when you think of kremlins, I know you won’t forget the prominent one in Moscow…but know that there are a lot of them throughout Russia.  Here are a few links that have background and pictures to several of them outside of Moscow.



Published on July 6, 2015.

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