(The). A gigantic pile of buildings in Moscow of every style of architecture: Arabesque palaces, Gothic forts, Greek temples, Italian steeples, Chinese pavilions, and Cyclopean walls. It contains palaces and cathedrals, museums and barracks, arcades and shops, the Russian treasury, government offices, the ancient palace of the patriarch, a throne-room, churches, convents, etc. Built by two Italians, Marco and Pietro Antonio, for Ivan III. in 1485. There had been previously a wooden fortress on the spot. (Russian krem, a fortress.)
“Towers of every form, round, square, and with pointed roofs, belfries, donjons, turrets, spires, sentry-boxes fixed on minarets, steeples of every height, style, and colour: palaces, domes, watch-towers, walls embattlemented and pierced with loop-holes, ramparts, fortifications of every description, chiosks by the side of cathedrals; monuments of pride and caprice, voluptnousness glory, and piety.” —De Custine: Russia, chap. xxii.
Every city in Russia has its kremlin (citadel); but that of Moscow is the most important.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894