"Here are luxury and penury, abundance and the most extreme deprivation, piety, and atheism...and an unbelievable frivolity - warring elements which, out of their constant conflicts, create this marvelous, outrageous, gigantic whole which we know by its collective name: Moscow." (Konstantin Batyushkov)
Among all the world's capitals, few contain governmental seats of power as imposing or impressive as the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. While the name itself is often used as a shorthand to refer to the Russian government, and many people associate it with Red Square, the Kremlin is actually a fortress inside the heart of Moscow, replete with everything from ramparts and towers to decadent churches. The history of Russia is vast and winding, so it should come as no surprise that the same can be said for the Kremlin.
Construction on the site was taking place by the 12th century, and by the 14th century it was imposing enough to withstand sieges. Ivan the Great added artistic flourishes to the Kremlin during the Renaissance, Catherine the Great had a residence built inside it during the 18th century, and Napoleon severely damaged the Kremlin in the course of ordering its destruction during the invasion of Russia in 1812. Even as Russian dynasties came and went, and a transition to the Soviet Union was made, the Kremlin remained - even as constant changes took place within it.