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Description of the Trinity Tower
This is one of the
two entrances to Moscow Kremlin, another being Borovitskaya Tower.
Constructed in 1495- 99 it is tallest of the Kremlin towers.
Tower owes its name to Trinity Monastery of Saint Sergius that
once had a mission near its gate. In 1516 it was linked by
bridge to Kutafya Tower over Neglinnaya River that once
ran through Alexandrovsky Garden. It is now buried underground
leaving the bridge seem useless. It was used as an entrance for
the patriarchs as well as tsars' wives, daughters and other
By order of Peter the Great in 1702, the
construction of the Arsenal building began on the burned-out part
between the Trinity and Sobakin towers. Two years later, the Emperor
ordered a new clock for the Spasskaya and Trinity/ Troitsky towers
in Amsterdam, and both mechanisms were installed in 1705. Under the
guidance of master Kuzma Ivanov, five workers from the Zhitny Dvor
raised 34 bells for chimes to the tower.
In 1707, due to the
threat of a Swedish invasion, the gun slits of the Trinity tower
were enlarged to match the heavy guns. Peter I also ordered to build
bolverki along the Kremlin walls, and to fill the ditches drained in
the XVII century with water. In 1707, the loopholes of the tower
were expanded for heavy guns, and the Trinity Bastion was built at
the base of the gate on both sides of the bridge. After a series of
defeats of the Swedish army and the decisive battle of Poltava, the
threat of an attack on Moscow disappeared, but the built ditches and
embankments remained for a long time.
The chimes installed by
order of Peter broke down in 1731. At the end of February 1734,
master Johann Christopher Foerster was invited from St. Petersburg
to repair them. After inspecting the tower, he submitted the
following report to the Senate:
"This Trinity tower is
located in a close place, in the walls and in the wilderness, and
the music from that tower will not be heard, but it should be the
bell music on the Spasskaya tower, because it has become in all its
beauty and velmi that bell music and playing in the Palace and in
Moscow will be heard.»
Nevertheless, in August 1734, the
Senate decided to repair the chimes on the Trinity tower. The
missing eight bells for them were taken from the yard of the Cannon
order: during the Swedish war, more than 600 bells were transported
there "to be poured into cannons". Information about whether the
repair of the Foerster was successful has not been preserved. During
the Trinity fire in 1737, the tower was severely damaged: the entire
clock mechanism burned out, the bells collapsed, and the main one
broke through the building's vault.
Further information about
the state of the tower is fragmentary: it is known that in 1754, the
state Superintendent's office sent the carpenter Erich to fix and
activate the clock mechanism, while before the visit of Elizabeth
Petrovna in 1775, the clock again needed repair. The inventory of
1776 indicated the presence of" dilapidated and cracks " in the
walls of the tower. However, at the funeral of Moscow mayor Grigory
Chernyshev in 1784, " the bell musician even played "Holy God"with
his hands and feet."
The Trinity gate was damaged in the
Patriotic war of 1812, when the Kremlin was mined during the retreat
of the French army. From the explosions and subsequent fire in the
tower, the main clock bell collapsed again, breaking through four
arches. The tower was in a ruined state for more than ten years:
only in 1823 the internal ceilings were repaired, but the clockwork
was not restored. In 1848, the main bell was moved to the Borovitsky
In the period from 1868 to 1870, the tower was
completely rebuilt: it was decided to house the Moscow Department of
the Archives of the Imperial court. To do this, the building was
dismantled to the very Foundation and re-laid, but in the process
many original design details were lost, loopholes were laid. The
project was led by architects A. Porokhovshchikov and N.
Azanchevsky, according to other sources — Alexey Martynov. During
this period, the location of the internal arches and ceilings was
changed, slits for the portcullis and the entrance to the former
bell tower were laid. The estimate was 31,003 rubles, another 4,589
cost a new weather vane-double-headed eagle. In the adjacent branch
strelnitsa since 1870, the office of the archive met, and in the
storage of the Trinity tower there were about 107 thousand cases.
At the end of the XIX century, another restoration of the tower
was carried out according to the project of the Chairman of the
Moscow architectural society Nikolai Shokhin
in 1935, the
Soviets installed a red star on the roof of the Trinity tower.
Before Soviet rule, the tower had an icon of the Holy Trinity on its
exterior. Since this tower was the official entrance for the huge
Communist party congresses, the icon was completely removed, and not
just plastered as on the Spasskaya and Nikolskaya towers.
Trinity tower is the highest tower in the Moscow Kremlin. Its
current height on the side of the Alexander garden together with the
star is 80 meters. Today, the tower gate is the main entrance for
tourists to the Kremlin.
Since 1918, when the Soviet government led by Vladimir Lenin moved
to the Kremlin, a separate military unit was formed to protect it.
It included a special team of 20 people — their duties included
musical accompaniment of drill sessions and ceremonial changing of
the guard. Since 1922, delegations and representative offices of
foreign countries began to come to the Kremlin, and a permanent
group of Kremlin musicians was formed to hold official receptions.
On September 11, 1938, it received the official title of the
orchestra of the commandant's Office of the Moscow Kremlin.
Presumably, at the same time, his main rehearsal venue was the
Trinity tower. On January 11, 1993, by order of Russian President
Boris Yeltsin, the orchestra received its current name-the
Presidential orchestra of the Moscow Kremlin commandant's office of
the Main security Department of the Russian Federation.