Among the art monuments of the Cathedral Square of the Kremlin Arkhangelsk Cathedral is the most connected with history. This is due to its content: the ancient monument is a tomb temple, in which lies the ashes of many historical figures of Russia from the XIV to the XVIII century. Many memorable and important events are reminded of such names as Ivan Kalita, Dmitry Donskoy, Vladimir the Brave, Vasily Dark, Ivan III, Ivan the Terrible, Vasily Shuisky, Mikhail Skopin-Shuisky, the father of Peter I Alexei Tishayshiy. Well-known, albeit distant in time, characters of our history - all of them are buried in the Archangel Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.
The construction, and then the picturesque design of the cathedral, which was also the tomb of the Moscow rulers, put forward special requirements for the masters. Recent archaeological excavations carried out in the monument showed that in ancient times this building was one of the most significant. It appeared a long time ago, no later than the end of the XIII century, with time, decrepit, rebuilt again. Then it was already considered a very important building. It is known, for example, that the white-stone Archangel Church, built by Ivan Kalita and then became his tomb, was the largest building in Moscow of the XIV century.
The Archangel Cathedral that reached us was built in 1508 according to the project of the architect Aleviz invited from Italy, who received the nickname Novy in Moscow. An ancient letter informs of him an enthusiastic review: "Aleviz is a master, a great Velmi master, not like other masters, a great Velmi master." The architect arrived from distant Venice at the very beginning of the 16th century and immediately received an order from Ivan III to build a new “great” tomb church on the site of the ancient dilapidated church of the Archangel Michael, whose image would be worthy of the essentially newly built capital of Russia then.
It is quite possible to say the same about the Archangel Cathedral that contemporaries spoke of its builder: it is "not like the other" buildings, which together with it then formed a unique ensemble of Cathedral Square. Created in imitation of the largest monumental building of the Kremlin - the Assumption Cathedral, it is still significantly different from it. Its appearance in many ways resembles a secular building, in which elements of the ancient architectural heritage are richly used. Many of the techniques used in the exterior decoration of the cathedral by the master Aleviz, a representative of the Italian Renaissance, then went into Russian construction practice widely. Thanks to such monuments as the Archangel Cathedral, Russia got acquainted with the achievements of Western European art culture.
For more than one century Cathedral of the Archangel attracted attention with his appearance. This sometimes gave rise to the assertion that it was “more elegant” than other Kremlin churches and that it “advantageous” its architecture over them. Particularly amazing was the peculiar crown crowning the main massif of the building, which is made up of huge ribbed white-stone shells of "excellent art". In general, the significant architectural mass of the building with its slender five-domed structure, a large interior area, its high arches - all this was intended to express the dignity, strength and glory of Russia at the beginning of the 16th century.