The centrepiece of the tower-studded 18th-century kremlin is the glorious 1686 St Sofia Cathedral. Less eye-catching from the outside, but with splendid arched ceiling murals, is the 1746 Intercession Cathedral. Between the two is a 1799 bell tower, built for the Uglich bell, which famously signalled a revolt against Tsar Boris Godunov. The revolt failed; in a mad fury, Godunov ordered the bell to be publicly flogged, detongued and banished to Tobolsk for its treacherous tolling.

A tatty copy of the bell is displayed in the Deputy's Palace Museum. Built in 1855, The Kremlin prison is now the Castle Prison Museum, where you can get a sense of the grim life behind bars in both Tsarist and Soviet times. The elegant Arkhiereysky Mansion was closed for renovations when we visited and will eventually be reopened as an Orthodox history museum; the intriguing Trading Arches were being converted into yet another museum.

Wooden stairs lead beneath the kremlin’s Pryamskoy Vzvoz (gatehouse) to the wonderfully dilapidated old town full of weather-beaten churches and angled wooden homes sinking between muddy lanes.