Nikolskaya tower of the Moscow Kremlin against the background of a cloudy sky. Red square in MoscowDimensions:

height to the star – 67.1 m, with a star – 70.4 m

Construction start / opening date:



Pietro Antonio Solari

Original name:

Nikolskaya tower

Table of Contents


The height of the Nikolskaya Tower of the Kremlin, together with the star, reaches seventy meters. The original design represented by a simple but massive four-piece. Later, it supplemented with a marquee and a clock, which adorned the facade until the seventeenth century.

In 1806, Gothic motives appeared in the design of the tower. She got a high stone tent, several turrets on the parapet, and the facade became lace-laced. Subsequently, the stone tent replaced with a metal one on a powerful frame. In 1918, the tower painted brick.

One-domed chapels were located near the gates: on the left – Nicholas the Wonderworker, on the right – Alexander Nevsky. They originally made of wood, but later became stone. In 1925, the chapels demolished, and the shrines from them transferred to the Church of St. John the Warrior.

Significance to history

In 1612, the war with Poland ended. The people’s militia led by Minin and Pozharsky passed through the gates of the Nikolskaya tower in Moscow. 125 years later, a fire broke out in the tower, but thanks to the brilliant work of the architect I. Michurin, the architectural monument restored and received a baroque decor. Another architect – K. Blank – supplemented the structure with a low tent and a round top.

In 1812, when the French fled from Moscow, the tower was seriously damaged – its tent collapsed, and part of the gate was destroyed by an explosion. The only thing that survived is a part of the quadrangle with the miraculous icon of Nikola Mozhaisky. Also, the explosion did not affect the lantern with the candle. The tower restored by order of Emperor Alexander I. Under the shrine, he ordered to install a marble plaque with the history of how the tower with the icon was tested.

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Storming the Kremlin

In 1917, the Nikolskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin damaged again as a result of powerful artillery shelling. The restoration work carried out under the direction of the architect Markovnikov. In 1919, the gate image corrected, as a result of which it brought to its previous state and cleared of bullet marks.

Three years later, the painting of the angels placed on the sides of the main image was eliminated, the marble plaque installed by Alexander I was dismantled. They also removed the two-headed eagle that crowned the Nikolskaya tower. In 1935, a semi-precious star appeared in its place, which was replaced by a ruby ​​one a couple of years later.

Icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker

After the assault in 1917, the fresco of Nicholas the Wonderworker himself only partially preserved. Soon the icon disappeared and until recently considered lost. But in the summer of 2010, work began to restore the shrine. The government decided to recreate the historical image of the Kremlin. The experts had to work hard on the restoration of the icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.

For several months it was still possible to restore it thanks to the miraculously preserved ancient documents. The icon returned to its original appearance. In November 2010, the consecration of the renewed icon and the grand opening took place. Today this landmark of the Moscow Kremlin is an adornment of the Nikolskaya Tower.

Interesting Facts

  • The star of the tower has the largest (of all the stars of the Moscow Kremlin) number of faces per ray – twelve.
  • In 1905, the governor of Moscow shot dead near the Nikolskaya tower. A cross erected at this place, but after the revolution it demolished.
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Before the appearance of Red Square, the street of the same name began from the Nikolsky Gate.