TODAY

TODAY   |  February 11, 2014

Take a rare look inside Russia’s Kremlin

The giant fortress in the heart of Moscow is the seat of Russian government and home to some of the world’s most beautiful palaces. NBC correspondent Stephanie Gosk reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the beautiful coast of the black sea . about 1,000 miles north, i'm told it's that way, lies the russian capital of moscow and the heart of the city is the kremlin .

>> in america, the iconic fortress inspired spy novels among other things, but there's much more to it. stephanie gosk got a unique look inside. great to see you.

>> good to see you, too. the kremlin is the seat of the russian government , but it is also home to some of the most beautiful palaces, cathedrals and museums in the world. i got the once unheard of chance to go behind those walls and take a look inside.

>> russia's fortress as recognizable as it is formidable. the red walls of the kremlin has stood on this hill in the center of moscow for more than five centuries.

>> really wasn't that long ago it was unheard of to find an american just strolling around here. today, it's a little bit more common. but for someone like myself who grew up in the final throes of the cold war , this is still pretty cool.

>> reporter: the kremlin remains the russian seat of government where president putin lives and works, but it's much more. museums, palaces and cathedrals. the glittering domes are a rare bright spot in a city that can often feel dark and gritty. this is where the czars were kor nat.

>> it's so important and so special it was for katherine the great, the russian empress.

>> her most impressive collection is still kept here, including the great imperial crown , diamonds lined with pearls and topped one of the most precious stones in the world. from every angle of the kremlin , an era of russian history comes to life. and above it all, a clock that has beautifully marked the passage of time. 226 steps up a winding staircase to the top.

>> historians say there's been a clock in this tower in the kremlin since the 16th century . a number of them burned down, one was even actually mortared in 1917 . peter the great had his own clock here, he brought it all the way from amsterdam. none of that exists. but some of these pieces are still incredibly old, dating back to the early 1800s . it has to be maintained every single day.

>> reporter: at noon, the national anthem rings out across red square . the bells are like a daily reminder. the kremlin is where russia's history began, a symbol of power filled with centuries of mystique.

>> reporter: walking on the kremlin , you get a sense of the breadth of russian history . also one of those rare opportunities where you can live like a bond girl .

>> at least for a day, right?

>> wow. that's cool.

>> great report. guys, we've got to get up there. we've got to get to moscow .

>> it's fantastic.

>> the ring of steel.