Just after he conquered the Khanate of Astrakhan Ivan the Terrible ordered to build there a wooden fortress for defense of southern borders on the side of the Volga. However, tension in relations with the Turks, as well as their military campaign against Astrakhan in 1569, forced him to change his plans and already in 1580 it was decided to erect a strong stone fortress in the city.
Astrakhan Kremlin has the shape of an equilateral triangle. Its walls stretch for 1.5 km and the height of the walls reaches 11 m, with the wall base width of 5 m. All kremlin towers have several tiers of defense. For example, the Crimean Tower, the strongest tower of the Kremlin facing the Caspian Sea, has 5 tiers of defense and 20 loopholes. The Astrakhan Kremlin was built taking into account the development of artillery, so its defense force was inferior only to that of the Moscow Kremlin and equal to that of the Smolensk fortress.
The walls of the Astrakhan Kremlin are white. They are dominated by 7 strong towers including two gate towers. You can ascend on the tower of St. Nicholas Church Gate and have a walk along the wall. Prechistinskaya bell tower is above the main entrance to the Kremlin.
In the time of Peter I the borders of the Russian Empire were considerably extended and Astrakhan lost nearly all its defense importance. Consequently, it was not necessary to live behind the fortress walls and they began to decrease the number of residential buildings on the territory of the Kremlin. And when Peter I visited Astrakhan in 1722, most wooden buildings were pulled down at the Kremlin.
There are two large cathedrals at the Astrakhan Kremlin. The Trinity Cathedral is the oldest stone building in Astrakhan (excepting the walls and towers of the Kremlin) surviving to our days. Now it is a vast complex consisting of three churches and two refectories. In 1710 the Assumption Cathedral was built. This high cathedral became a decoration of the Kremlin.
There are 3 museums on the territory of the Kremlin. One of the museums is to the right from the Prechistinskaya bell tower. It occupies the Artillery Tower and the Powder Magazine. The «Red Gate» Tower houses the Museum of Astrakhan Garrison. And the museum «The Guardhouse of the Astrakhan Garrison. 19 century» is in the building of guardhouse.