Close up view of Annunciation Cathedral cupola

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Annunciation Cathedral


The Annunciation Cathedral, at the southwest corner of Sobornaya pl, contains impressive murals in the gallery and an archaeology exhibit in the basement. The central chapel contains the celebrated icons of master painters Theophanes the Greek and Andrei Rublyov.

Many of the murals in the gallery date from the 1560s. Among them are the Capture of Jericho in the porch, Jonah and the Whale in the northern arm of the gallery, and the Tree of Jesus on its ceiling. Other murals feature ancient philosophers Aristotle, Plutarch, Plato, Socrates and others holding scrolls with their own wise words.

The small central part of the cathedral has a lovely jasper floor. The 16th-century frescoes include Russian princes on the north pillar and Byzantine emperors on the south, both with Apocalypse scenes above them.

But the chapel's real treasure is the iconostasis, where restorers in the 1920s uncovered early 15th-century icons by three of the greatest medieval Russian artists. Theophanes likely painted the six icons at the right-hand end of the deesis row, the biggest of the six tiers of the iconostasis. Andrei Rublyov is reckoned to be the artist of most of the paintings at the left end of the festival row – above the deesis row – while the seven at the right-hand end are attributed to Prokhor of Gorodets.

The basement – which remains from the previous 14th-century cathedral on this site – contains a fascinating exhibit on the archaeology of the Kremlin. The artefacts date from the 12th to 14th centuries, showing the growth of Moscow during this period.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Moscow attractions

1. Hall of Facets

0.03 MILES

Named for its Italian Renaissance stone facing, the Hall of Facets was designed and built by Marco Ruffo and Pietro Solario between 1487 and 1491, during…

2. Archangel Cathedral

0.04 MILES

The Archangel Cathedral at the southeastern corner of Sobornaya pl was for centuries the coronation, wedding and burial church of tsars. It was built by…

3. Great Kremlin Palace

0.04 MILES

The 700-room Great Kremlin Palace, built as an imperial residence between 1838 and 1849, is now an official residence of the Russian president, used for…

4. Church of the Deposition of the Robe

0.05 MILES

This delicate single-domed church was built between 1484 and 1486 in exclusively Russian style. It was the private chapel of the heads of the Church, who…

5. Terem Palace

0.06 MILES

The 16th- and 17th-century Terem Palace is the most splendid of the Kremlin palaces. Made of stone and built by Vasily III, the palace’s living quarters…

6. Assumption Cathedral

0.06 MILES

On the northern side of Sobornaya pl, with five golden helmet domes and four semicircular gables, the Assumption Cathedral is the focal church of pre…

7. Tsar Bell

0.07 MILES

Beside (not inside) the Ivan the Great Bell Tower stands the world’s biggest bell, a 202-tonne monster that has never rung. Bas-reliefs of Empress Anna…

8. Ivan the Great Bell Tower

0.08 MILES

With its two golden domes rising above the eastern side of Sobornaya pl, the Ivan the Great Bell Tower is the Kremlin's tallest structure – a landmark…