Kremlin and The Red Square, Moscow (1990)

Московский Кремль

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Inextricably linked to all the most important historical and political events in Russia since the 13th century, the Kremlin (built between the 14th and 17th centuries by outstanding Russian and foreign architects) was the residence of the Great Prince and also a religious centre. At the foot of its ramparts, on Red Square, St Basil's Basilica is one of the most beautiful Russian Orthodox monuments. 

The official name is "Cathedral of the Protecting Veil", but is more commonly known as the "Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed" after the saint who was well-known in Moscow when it was built, and whose grave is next to it. 

Russia 1996. Czar Ivan IV "The Terrible". First Russian Czar.

The cathedral was built between 1555 and 1560 on the order of Ivan IV The Terrible to commemorate the victory over the Kazan Khanate (on this site). It is believed to have been erected by a Russian master builder, Postnik Barma. 

  • Russia 1996. Czar Ivan IV "The Terrible" (1530-84) - the first Russian Czar. Scenes of coronation in Assumption (Moscow Kremlin) and executions of the Oprichniki [Life guards]. 

Having created this complex composition of nine tower-like churches built on a common foundation, the great master builder lost his sight. Tradition has it that the cruel czar ordered the master to be deliberately blinded so that he could not create anything else that would be as beautiful. Incidentally, contrary to Russian tradition, the cathedral was built in a market square, apparently still another manifestation of the willful czar's capricious character. 

Each of the nine domes of the cathedral forms the top of a separate church, each dedicated to a saint on whose feast day the Russian army achieved a victory. After decades of use as a branch of the Historical Museum, St. Basil's was finally returned to the Orthodox Church for the Easter festivities of 1991.  

  • Russia 1994. St. Basil's Cathedral. 

Russia 1994. St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow.

Russia 1992. Definitive stamp. The Kremlin, Moscow.  

Russia 1992. Definitive stamp. St. Basil Cathedral, Moscow.

The Kremlin sits high on a hill 
like the crown of sovereignty 
on the brow of an awesome ruler  
(M.J. Lermontov)  

  • Russia 1992. Definitive stamps. The Kremlin and St. Basil Cathedral. 

Lermontov (1814-1841) wrote these words back in 1833, and his impression is as valid today as it was then.  Visiting Moscow is a breathtaking experience one will never forget.  The mere sight of the Kremlin and the Red Square against the light of the setting sun is unforgettable, and certainly makes one feel the silent wings of history sweeping in the air. For many people around the world the picture of St. Basil's,  the epitome of Russia, has become the potent symbol of this enormous country, reaching from the Baltic Sea in the west to the Bering Sea, the Okhotsk Sea, and the Japanese Sea in the east, stretching over 11 time zones, and a climate that varies from arctic cold in the polar regions to tropical heat in the deep south.  

Among the first stamps to be issued by Russia after the fall of the communism, were these three cathedrals situated within the area of Moscow Kremlin. Three more stamps followed in 1993; there are shown below on this page. 

Russia 1992. Blagoweshshenski Cathedral, Kremlin, Moscow. Russia 1992. Uspenski Cathedral, Kremlin, Moscow. Russia 1992. Cathedral of the Archangel, Kremlin, Moscow.

Russia 1997. Souvenir sheet. Moscow's 850th city anniversary.

  • Russia 1997.  Souvenir sheet issued in commemoration of Moscow's 850th city anniversary.  The stamp shows Moscow's Anniversary emblem, St. George, who is the patron saint of Moscow -- in the selvedge the characteristic images of The Red Square with the Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral. 


Russia 1978. St. George. Moscow's patron saint.

  • (above) Russia 1978. St. George

  • (below) Russia 1992. St. George. 

Russia 1992. Definitive stamp. St. George, Moscow's patron saint.

Russia 1967. Cathedral of the Annunciation, Kremlin, Moscow.

In this spectacular set of buildings from the  Kremlin, Moscow's famous skyline with onion-shaped towers crowning Moscow's churches, has been depicted. 
  • Russia 1967. 
    • (horiz). 6k. Cathedral of the Annunciation 
    • 4k. Armoury, Commandant and Trinity towers 
    • 10k. Konstantinoeleninskaya, Alarm and Spassky towers
    • 12k. Ivan the Great Bell-tower
    • 16k. Kutafya and Trinity towers.
Russia 1967. Commandant and Trinity towers, Kremlin, Moscow. Russia 1967. Konstantinoeleninskaya, Alarm, and Spassky Towers, Moscow, Kremlin. Russia 1967. Ivan the Great Bell-Tower, Moscow, Kremlin. Russia 1967. Kutafya and Trinity Towers, Moscow, Kremlin.
Russia 1993. Architecture from the Moscow Kremlin. Faceted hall, XVc. Russia 1993. Architecture from the Moscow Kremlin. Church of the Deposition of the Virgin's Robe, XV century. Russia 1993. Architecture from the Moscow Kremlin. Grand Palace of the Czar, XVII century.

Apart from churches and cathedrals, the Moscow Kremlin has several very fine museums, mainly dedicated to the history of Moscow, and the Czar families. 

The set below shows fine table silver, manufactured in Moscow and used by the bourgeois. After the October Revolution in 1918 is was confiscated, and is now at display in the Kremlin Museums.

  • Russia 1993. Sheet. Bonbonnière and Bread Baskets. 

    • Snuff Tobacco and Cup, 1849.

    • Teapot, 1896-1908

    • Fruit Bowl,  1896-1908.

    • Candle Stick and Tray, 1896-1908.

    • Coffee Set,  1852.

Russia 1993. Silverware. Sheet. Bonbonnière and Bread Baskets. 
Russia 1993. Silverware. Snuff Tobacco and Cup. Russia 1993. Silverware. Teapot. Russia 1993. Silverware. Fruit Bowl. Russia 1993. Silverware. Candle Stick and Tray. Russia 1993. Silverware. Coffee Set.

Peter Carl Fabergé (1846 - 1920) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, to the jeweler Gustav Fabergé. He was educated first in St. Petersburg and later in Dresden (Germany), as a jeweler and businessman. In the mid-1860 he began working for his father's firm in St. Petersburg. By 1866 Fabergé was active for the Imperial Cabinet, the body that oversaw the czar's treasure house and all new jewelry orders. Contrary to the popular belief, the Fabergés themselves did not make jewelry. They stood at the apex of a pyramid, overseeing a design studio and delegating production to a head work master. Final approval of the finished item, however, lay with Carl Fabergé himself.

Russia 1995. Jewelry. Fabergé Artworks. Souvenir sheet.

What differentiated Fabergé from all his contemporaries was his constant quest for novelty. 

Fabergé's fame was spread by his two chief patronesses, both daughters of King Christian IX of Denmark: Czarina (later Dowager Empress) Maria Feodorovna and her sister, Alexandra, princes of Wales (queen of England, 1901-1910, wife of Edward VII).  

Although Fabergé worked most in St. Petersburg, some of his masterworks are displayed at the Kremlin museums - and on postage stamps, for all of us to enjoy. :-) 

  • Russia 1995.  Souvenir sheet from the set showing artworks by Fabergé.  The art work shows a model of the Moscow Kremlin, topped with a Russian Easter egg and a gilded onion dome in traditional Russian style.  Made 1904-06.  You can compare it to the souvenir sheet 1997 below on this page and see the striking similarity.  

Russia 1995. Jewelry. Fabergé Artworks. Se-tenant strip.

Russia 2000. Souvenir Sheet. Christianity 2000 years.

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Russia (on this web site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Russia-section, for further information on such sites. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
Copyright © 1999 Heindorffhus 
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