Construction start / opening date: 1516
Design: Aleviz Fryazin
Original name: Kutafya tower
The Kutafya Tower is part of the Moscow Kremlin. Its name is associated with the outdated word “kutafya” – in ancient times, this was the name for small, plump, clumsy and clumsy women. This is the only tower outside the Kremlin walls. It is located opposite the Trinity Tower, and between them there is a bridge across the Neglinka. Today, the entrance to the Kremlin through the Kutafya Tower is open to everyone.
The Kutafya Tower appeared as an architectural structure in 1516. The work was supervised by the Italian Aleviz Fryazin. In those days, when erecting walls and siege towers, the architects had only fortification tasks – all entrances and entrances to the fortress were closed with special structures.
The Kutafya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin is the only one of its kind that has survived to this day. It was built to protect the entrance to the Trinity Bridge. Additionally, a moat was dug in front of the tower, into which water was then poured.
The Neglinnaya River flowed on the other side. The tower was not distinguished by its exquisite architecture. It was a simple, low structure with two battle tiers and hinged loopholes.
In the Middle Ages, defensive fortresses with huge towers, which housed entrances and loopholes, and thick high walls, appeared one after another in Moscow. The Kutafya Tower was the gate through which the passage to the Trinity Tower, the highest on the territory of the Kremlin, opened. Both structures were connected by a bridge.
On the other side, the Kutafya tower was equipped with a second bridge – a lifting bridge. At any sign of impending danger, the bridge would rise, and the enemy could not approach Kutafya, since in front of her was a deep ditch filled with water.
Throughout the history of its existence, the Kutafya Kremlin tower has been restored many times. In 1685, its roof and the two-horned teeth on which it was installed were completely dismantled.
Instead, an arcade superstructure appeared, which is still the decoration of the tower. When the threat of constant attacks disappeared, the moat that surrounded the fortress was filled up. At the side gate, you can see the slots – they were once used for chains that ensure the operation of lifting mechanisms.
In the wall located on the side of the capital, a gate was built and crowned with a portal. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the roadway near the tower was raised by almost two meters, as a result of which the top and the entrance gate had to be opened. During all these works, damage was caused to the icon above the gate, which depicts St. Vladimir.
Kutafya tower today
Nowadays, the Kutafya Tower is not a formidable guard, but rather a good-natured doorkeeper of the Kremlin. Many tourists enter the Kremlin territory through it. But not everyone is familiar with her heroic past.
But in this tower more than one generation of defenders of Moscow fought with the enemies. Thanks to them and the Kutafya tower – modest and inconspicuous – today we can admire the beauty of the ancient capital and be proud of our ancestors.
In 2011, modern pavilions began to be erected near the tower. Cultural preservation specialists fear that they will have a negative impact on the historical appearance of the monument. In addition, such interference threatens to exclude the Moscow Kremlin from the UNESCO protection lists.
How to get there
The tower is located on the western side of the Kremlin, and its central entrance “looks” towards the Alexander Garden. Many are interested in how to get from the metro to the Kremlin’s Kutafya tower. The nearest stations are the Library named after Lenin and the Alexander Garden.
It is impossible to pass by this sight of the Moscow Kremlin, because it has an impressive size and solid appearance. In addition, there are always crowds of tourists near the tower. The address of the Kutafya tower is st. Vozdvizhenka, 1/13.
- Some historians believe that the name of one of the twenty Kremlin towers, Kutafya, comes from the word “kut”, which means a corner or shelter.
- The Kutafya Tower is the lowest in the Kremlin and the widest – its height is only 13.5 meters (the height of the highest Kremlin tower, Troitskaya, is more than 80 meters). The height of the structure was reduced by as much as 7 meters due to archaeological layers.
- In the Middle Ages, the tower had another name – Predmostnaya.