Top Russian Kremlins apart from Moscow Kremlin

What comes to your mind when you hear the word "kremlin"? For most it will mean one thing – Moscow Kremlin. But do you know how many other kremlins still stand firm on the Russian soil?
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There are 12 kremlins, which fully or partially survived and you can visit them.

What is a kremlin? It is a fortified kernel of a historical Russian city, its center and the oldest part protected by thick walls with towers.

Here are top 6 Russian kremlins which are in no way inferior to the one in Moscow. And since everyone knows about the Moscow Kremlin it is not on this list. Here you go.

6. Zaraysk Kremlin

Where: Zaraysk, 162km southeast of Moscow
Zaraysk Kremlin
This relatively small stone kremlin was built in the mid-16th century by the father of the Russian Tsar who later became known as Ivan the Terrible. The Zaraysk Kremlin repelled several assaults by the Crimean Khanate troops.
Zaraysk Kremlin
It is still intact and all of its 7 original impressive towers are still there. Besides there's a nice museum in one of the Kremlin buildings where you can see some rare items like a figure of a bison and two female statuettes dating some 22,000 years back!

5. Kazan Kremlin

Where: Kazan, 820km east of Moscow
View of Kazan Kremlin
Kazan Kremlin is one of the oldest citadels in Russia. The present-day complex was built over the ruins of the previous kremlin – the stronghold of the Kazan Khanate where the Khan and his entourage resided.
The fortress was almost totally destroyed during the siege of Kazan by the troops led by Moscow tsar Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century. Take a walk through its vast squares, past the newly-built Qul-Sharif mosque and climb the Soyembika Tower, one of the few leaning towers in Russia

4. Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin

Where: Nizhny Novgorod, 420km south of Moscow
Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin. Photo credits: Яндекс.Путешествия
The imposing Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin stands on a hill above the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers. The northwestern part of this fortress runs down to the foot of the hill. Built in the beginning of the 16th century by an Italian architect the fortress had 15 towers and gave the city the so much needed protection against the Tatarsю
Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin
Basically, the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin was used by the Muscovites as a base to move eastwards towards the Kazan Khanate, which they finally conquered. Interestingly a huge part of this magnificent fortification was about to be pulled down during the Soviet times but WWII changed the plans completely. Now you can book a room at the Sheraton Hotel right next to the ancient kremlin wall and enjoy a great view.
Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin. Photo credits:

3. Kolomna Kremlin

Where: Kolomna, 100kms southeast of Moscow
Kolomna Kremlin
One of the strongest Muscovites' fortresses, the Kolomna Kremlin was built in the mid-16th century when Muscovites thought they had enough of Tatar incursions. Tatars kept seizing Kolomna and burning its wooden fortress during each of their raids. Once the redbrick kremlin was built Tatars could no longer seize and burn it.
It is believed that the walls and the towers of this kremlin were built under the supervision of Italian architects - which was often a case in the medieval Rus'. Those who visited castles and fortresses in Northern Italy will surely find similarities. The Kolomna Kremlin had 16 towers out of which only 7 survived – after losing the military importance the kremlin degraded and locals used the bricks for their own purposes. Now the area around it is well-looked after and you can enjoy a stroll along the redbrick towers chewing on a local delicacy – kalach.

2. Veliky Novgorod Kremlin

Where: Veliky Novgorod, 570km northwest of Moscow
Veliky Novgorod Kremlin
This northwestern Russian kremlin on the Volkhov river was completed in stone already in the first half of the 15th century. Why? Because the Novgorod Republic, which back then was an independent medieval state and a member of the Hanseatic League needed to protect itself from Swedes and Muscovites who were more than happy to lay their hands on it.
Veliky Novgorod Kremlin. Photo credits: Ludvig14
Finally, Muscovites did it and they rebuilt the Veliky Novgorod Kremlin to make it even stronger and more up-to-date. Some of the towers have gate churches which is quite a rarity for Russian kremlins while the 38.5m tall Kokuy tower was used as an observation point by Nazis who occupied the city during WWII.

1. Pskov Kremlin

Where: Pskov, 750km northwest of Moscow
Pskov Kremlin. Photo credits: Наталия Ефимова
The Pskov Kremlin also known as Pskov Krom withstood 26 major assaults during its history. Germans, Danes, Swedes, Lithuanians sought to destroy it and conquer the independent medieval Republic of Pskov. Already in the 10th century some turns of the kremlin wall were made of stone, which makes the Pskov kremlin one of the oldest stone fortresses of Russia.
Pskov Kremlin. Photo credits: terranova2017
You will be fascinated by the various shapes of the kremlin towers and the views of the surroundings they offer. There's also an open-air archaeological site called Dovmontov gorod (the city of Dovmont) adjacent to the Pskov Kremlin wall. Back in the Middle Ages it had 17 churches and several administrative buildings to run the flourishing republic. Muscovites annexed Pskov in 1510 as the unification of traditional Russian lands was coming to an end.