This tower was built in 1491 by the architect Pietro Antonio Solari, also known as Pyotr Fryazin. It takes its name from the Icon of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Worker mounted above the gates. As with all gate towers, there was a drawbridge across the moat and protective grilles over the entrance.
In 1612, during the struggle with the Polish invaders, a volunteer militia led by Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin rushed through this gate and liberated the Kremlin. In the early 19th century the tower was reconstructed, its older top replaced by a Gothic one with openwork details. The tower’s decorative elements together with the four elegant turrets on the corners of its quadrangular base make it unlike any other Kremlin tower.
In 1812 the tower was blown up by Napoleon’s retreating troops. It was rebuilt in 1816.