Visit to the Grand Kremlin Palace. The palace was erected between 1838 and 1850 by order of Nicholas I on the site of the previous palace of Grand Prince Ivan III, a baroque structure designed by Rastrelli and partially demolished to make space for the new building. The new palace complex was designed by Konstantin Thon, who also built the Kremlin Armoury and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. He integrated some surviving elements of the former palace, while also recreating architectural elements of the Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassic, and Byzantine-Russian styles. Hence, the interiors of the Grand Kremlin Palace are considered a museum of the Russian Palace, being designed as the tsar’s residence and intended to demonstrate the power and might of the Russian Empire: it has 700 rooms and is 125 meters long, its five main halls corresponding to the five Russian imperial orders. Under communism, the Alexandrovsky and Andreevsky Halls were rebuilt as the Hall of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, which used it as the location for its sessions. Between 1994 and 1998, the interiors were carefully restored according to the original plans from the 19th century. The Grand Kremlin Palace is officially the residence of the President of Russia, but is used for official ceremonies, diplomatic receptions, and signing international treaties. It is closed to casual tourists, as a visit is possible only after going through a long procedure complete with security controls and acquiring special permits.
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