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Above the Moskva and still higher above the walls of the Kremlin looms the suitably-named Great Kremlin Palace. Erected on the orders of Nicholas I from 1838 to 1849, the rigorously classical facade measures 125 meters from east to west. The huge (61 meters long, 20.5 meters wide, 17.5 meters high) St. George's Hall is used for state awards ceremonies, while St. Vladimir's Hall is where foreign guests go to sign international treaties. Normal visitors will not get to see any of this because the palace is normally out of bounds unless you are on state business.
Church of the Twelve Apostles is one of the lesser significant cathedrals that are nestled in Moscow Kremlin, the renowned cultural and historical focal point of Moscow. This cathedral is a part of the magnificent Patriarch's Palace, and is devoted entirely to Philip the Apostle - one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. This attractive house of prayer was constructed at the behest of Patriarch Nikon of Moscow. At present, this architectural gem houses a museum pertaining to applied arts.
At 81 meters (266 feet), Ivan the Great Bell Tower was Moscow's tallest for nearly 350 years. Viewed from some distance, the tower looks like a giant whitewashed lipstick. Three octahedral tiers carry a short cylinder on top, crowned with a glistening golden onion dome. The 'Ivan the Great' in the tower's name is not referring to Ivan (IV) the Terrible as popularly believed, but to his grandfather Ivan III who ruled from 1462 to 1505.
The largest, oldest and the most important cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin is the Dormition Cathedral. An Italian architect named Aristotle Fioravanti (who was commissioned by Ivan III) designed and built the cathedral between 1474 and 1478. After its construction, the cathedral became the primary church of the Russian State and as a result, the site of coronations, victory services, weddings and funerals of Russian monarchs. The cathedral's frescoes and icons are of particular interest.
The State Kremlin Palace, built under Nikkita Khruschev, is a large modern building found inside the Moscow Kremlin. The Palace is a public building as well as a theater. Each of the 6,000 seats in this hall is equipped with buttons for electronic voting and earphones for simultaneous translations. A movable stage of 450 square meters provides enough space for the biggest of choirs to sing on it.
It has the honor of being the largest bell in the world, but is something of a historical curiosity. The Tsar Bell has never been rung. When fire swept the Kremlin in 1737, the newly forged bell was grounded in the Kremlin's forgery. The water used to douse the flames came into contact with the super-heated bell, causing an 11 ton (1000 kilogram) chunk to break off the 200 ton (18500 kilogram) bell. It has remained in two pieces ever since. The bell that never rang makes for a bizarre but appropriate companion to the nearby Tsar Cannon, which has never been fired.