Capital of the Federation of Russia
Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow
Defense, religion, and politics
Location and site
In the heart of Moscow, the Kremlin, 28 ha. in area, occupies the summit of the Borovitsky Hill. At the foot of its eastern wall is Red Square, a site of 7 ha. The Moskva River passes through the city along the south side of the Kremlin wall and south of Red Square.
The triangular enclosure of the Kremlin, which is 2.2 km. in length, is reinforced by 19 towers, each different, that date to between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 17th century. The plan of the city expresses its continuity: from the beginning, routes radiated outwards from the hill of the Kremlin across the country, and the radial plan of the modern city was laid out and developed so that its streets originated from this same centre.
At the end of the 15th century, the Kremlin had the general appearance that it maintains to this day. Italian and Russian architects worked together on the realisation of its first nucleus, Cathedral Square, leading to a successful blend of Italian Renaissance and Russian traditions. Immense buildings are integrated into the 18th-19th centuries ensemble. The famous Cathedral of Saint Basil facing Red Square is one of the great monuments of Orthodox art.
Criterion (i): The Kremlin contains within its walls a unique series of masterpieces of architecture and the plastic arts.
Criterion (ii): Throughout its history, Russian architecture has clearly been affected many times by influences emanating from the Kremlin. A particular example was the Italian Renaissance. […]
Criterion (iv): With its triangular enceinte pierced by four gates and reinforced with 20 towers, the Moscow Kremlin preserves the memory of the wooden fortifications erected by Yuri Dolgoruki around 1156 on the hill at the confluence of the Moskova and Neglinnaya rivers […]. By its layout and its history of transformations […], the Moscow Kremlin is the prototype of a Kremlin – the citadel at the centre of Old Russian towns such as Pskov, Tula, Kazan or Smolensk.
Criterion (vi): From the 13th century to the founding of St Petersburg, the Moscow Kremlin was directly and tangibly associated with every major event in Russian history.
- An earlier Kremlin (fortress), constructed of wood, was erected in the 12th century. At the intersection of the river routes, a small market town developed out of this nucleus.
- Russian principalities fell under the yoke of the Golden Hord and Moscow became the victim of a Mongol invasion in 1238. The Kremlin was severely damaged and was reconstructed immediately.
- Under the rule of Ivan Kalita, the Great Principality of Moscow was established at the beginning of the 14th century. The Kremlin became the residence of the princes and a religious centre. Its wooden palisade was replaced by a stone wall at the end of the 14th century, and a brick wall replaced the stone wall at the end of the 15th century.
- Ivan III put an end to three centuries of Mongol rule in 1480 and undertook the unification of the Russian State. The Kremlin monuments reflected the new political-religious unity.
- Originally a market in the 15th century, Red Square became the main square of the capital. Under the rule of Ivan IV, the Terrible (1547-1584), the unity of the State was consolidated. In 1555, he constructed the Cathedral of Saint Basil on Red Square as a symbol of the Russian victories over the Kazar.
- In the 16-17th centuries, the Kremlin was the residence of the tsars. After the transfer of political power to Saint Petersburg in 1703, it remained a religious centre. When Moscow regained its status as capital in 1918, it served as the seat of government once again.
Ensemble of the Novodevichy Convent
Directly associated with the political, cultural and religious history of Russia, and the Moscow Kremlin
Location and site
The Novodevichy Convent, in south-western Moscow, built in the 16th and 17th centuries in the so-called Moscow Baroque style, was part of a chain of monastic ensembles that were integrated into the defence system of the city. The convent was directly associated with the political, cultural and religious history of Russia, and closely linked to the Moscow Kremlin. It was used by women of the Tsar’s family and the aristocracy. Members of the Tsar’s family and entourage were also buried in its cemetery. The convent provides an example of the highest accomplishments of Russian architecture with rich interiors and an important collection of paintings and artefacts.
The Novodevichy Convent, situated in the south-western part of the historic town of Moscow at the crossing of the Moscow River, was founded by Grand Duke Vasily III in the 1520s and was a part of a chain of monastic ensembles that were integrated into the defence system of the city. It is an outstanding example of Orthodox architecture. The ensemble consists of 14 buildings, including 8 cathedrals (a shrine, 4 churches, a belfry with the Barlaam and Josaphat church and two chapels) and a number of residential and service buildings. The monastery is sometimes called “the Moscow Kremlin in miniature”. Its oldest building is a stone cathedral dedicated to the Icon of the Mother God of Smolensk built in 1524–1525 after the fashion of the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin.
The Convent is a major centrepiece of the south-western part of the historic town of Moscow and the Moscow River, and has a high town-planning value. Even though the character of the city’s urban surroundings has greatly changed, the Convent still remains an integral part of the landscape, unlike other monastic complexes.
Criterion (i): The Novodevichy Convent is the most outstanding example of the so-called “Moscow Baroque”, which became a fashionable style in the region of Moscow. Apart from its fine architecture and decorative details, the site is characterised by its town-planning values.
Criterion (iv): The Novodevichy Convent is an outstanding example of an exceptionally well-preserved monastic complex, representing particularly the “Moscow baroque” style in the architecture of the late 17th century.
Criterion (vi): The Novodevichy Convent ensemble integrates the political and cultural nature of the existing World Heritage property of Moscow Kremlin. It is itself closely related to Russian Orthodoxy, as well as with Russian history especially in the 16th and 17th centuries.