The Grand Kremlin Palace as we know it today was built in 1938-1849 by order of the Russian tzar Nicholas I after a long century of construction works by other Russian rulers. First of all, the importance of a palace in that place should be noted. In the 18-19th centuries, the Russian capital was situated in Petersburg. However, Moscow remained the spiritual center of Russia. It was particularly emphasized by the fact that even if the capital was on the river of Neva, all tzars and tzarinas went to Moscow Kremlin to be crowned.
The coronation ceremony was not the only reason to come from time to time to the ancient city: besides Russian tzar families came regularly to Moscow to take part in big Russian Orthodox church feasts such as Easter or Christmas, or to celebrate their birthdays. But where were they supposed to stay? Since the capital had been moved to Petersburg almost nothing was constructed in Moscow because all the best palaces were built in the new city of Peter the Great on one hand, and it was no more possible to stay in the Kremlin's old wooden palaces on the other hand. In the middle of the 18th century, there were attempts made by the Russian tzarina Elisabeth I to build a new palace. It was the famous Bartolomeo Rastrelli – the one who had built the Winter Palace in Petersburg - who participated in the construction of a new palace in the Kremlin's territory. However, by the end of the 18th century, one of the greatest Russian tzarinas Catherine II noticed that it didn't comply with the splendor of the Russian Empire, and therefore it was necessary to create something more majestic. Catherine II's favorite architects Bazhenov and then Kazakov got engaged with the new project, but eventually, it became obvious that it was impossible to erect anything in such an ancient place: the Kremlin's walls and even medieval churches got damaged during their works. The further Great fire started by Moskovites in 1812 to stop Napoleon's invasion burnt almost all remaining parts. Thus, by the times of Nicholas I's reign, there were many things to do on the Borovitsky hill.