The first church was built on the site of current Cathedral of the Annunciation in 1397 by order of Grand Duke Vassily I. The present building dates from 1484, when Ivan III (the Great), the great Muscovite empire-builder, ordered a new cathedral. It was completed in 1489 by Krivtsov and Mishkin, masons from Pskov, who blended Greek and Russian styles in their design.
Generations of princes and tsars added to and altered the Cathedral. Ivan IV (the Terrible) had the cathedral rebuilt in the 16th century and added four small side chapels, each with a single dome, while two more domes were added at the rear of the building and all nine domes were gilded. The Tsar was put under church penance when he married for the fourth time (three was the maximum the church would tolerate), and not allowed inside. This led to the construction of a new porch for him to stand under during services.
The cathedral is famous for its magnificent iconostasis, shielding the sacred part of the church from view. Icons by various artists from the 14th to 19th centuries make up the screen. Icons on the diesis (prayer) tier are ascribed to the legendary Russian Painter Andrei Rublev, the greatest of the Russian icon-painters (whose work can also be seen in the State Tretyakov Gallery) and Theosofanus the Greek, possibly Rublev's mentor, with whom he frequently collaborated.
The Cathedral of the Annunciation was originally built as the domestic church of the Grand Dukes and tsars and was connected (along with the Cathedral of the Archangel) by passages to the private quarters of the royal family. The cathedral was used to celebrate name-days, weddings, baptisms and so forth. The Cathedral of the Annunciation was badly damaged during the Revolution, when the Kremlin came under attack from artillery fire. In 1918, the cathedral was closed as a place of worship and now it operates officially as a museum.References:
Easter Aquhorthies stone circle, located near Inverurie, is one of the best-preserved examples of a recumbent stone circle, and one of the few that still have their full complement of stones. It consists of a ring of nine stones, eight of which are grey granite and one red jasper. Two more grey granite stones flank a recumbent of red granite flecked with crystals and lines of quartz. The circle is particularly notable for its builders' use of polychromy in the stones, with the reddish ones situated on the SSW side and the grey ones opposite.
The placename Aquhorthies derives from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning 'field of prayer', and may indicate a 'long continuity of sanctity' between the Stone or Bronze Age circle builders and their much later Gaelic successors millennia later. The circle's surroundings were landscaped in the late 19th century, and it sits within a small fenced and walled enclosure. A stone dyke, known as a roundel, was built around the circle some time between 1847 and 1866–7.