Moscow at last on day 22

Russia's flag
Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow
March 20th 2014
Published: March 20th 2014
Edit Blog Post

We left Vladimir and on a Sapsan train which meant no cabin just conventional seats. It only took 1 hour 45 minutes to get into Moscow where we headed down to the metro. Steph was brilliant at sorting out the route to our hotel in the Arbat district just off the main pedestrianised street which stretches 1.25 km to the outskirts of Red Square. We checked into the sumptuous Mercure hotel and then headed out for a walk. The lure of Red Square was too much so we walked down Ul Arbat with its cafes, restaurants, shops, street entertainers and musicians,past the tomb of the unknown soldier and entered the square through the Resurrection Gate. The huge imposing walls of the Kremlin dominate the square with Lenin's mausoleum in front of them, the massive GUM shopping mall opposite but the jewel in the crown is St Basil's Cathedral. Ivan The Terrible ordered it to be built to mark the capture of Kazan in 1552 and it was completed in 1560. Originally it was all white to match the white stone Kremlin and the onion domes were gold. However in the 17th century a bell tower was added and a vaulted roof
Goose stepping Russian soldiersGoose stepping Russian soldiersGoose stepping Russian soldiers

We saw the real thing at the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier
to cover the staircase and gallery plus the domes were replaced with decorated ones. Finally in 1860 the cathedral was repainted with the intricate design that remains today. We were lucky to see the building at different parts of the day and it is truly magnificent.

Next morning we headed to Red Square so that we could visit the Kremlin and in particular the Armoury which houses a collection of treasures accumulated by the Russian state and church over the centuries. We also bought a ticket to visit the Ivan The Great Bell Tower. The Armoury was very busy but was such a large exhibition that the crowds soon thinned out, enabling us to see the huge array of eclectic items on display. There were cabinets arranged by countries that had donated gifts; a collection of Faberge eggs plus a large display room of Royal regalia and coaches. We then joined a small group of people for a tour of the bell tower which had an interesting history and offered great views across the Kremlin grounds and beyond the walls. We managed to get some pictures with the Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon before seeing a cavalcade of cars
Tomb Of The Unknown SoldierTomb Of The Unknown SoldierTomb Of The Unknown Soldier

Just outside the Kremlin walls burns the eternal flame
arriving with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

We left the Kremlin and headed to the GUM shopping mall where we got some lunch and to browse at some of the 200 stores. We thought this was just one large department store so found it disappointing that there were lots of "normal" shops. Next we went inside St Basils Cathedral which has 9 main chapels and narrow corridors. It was nice to see the interior but I prefer the view from the outside. We had a wander around the outskirts of Red Square including a look at the exterior of Bolshoi Theatre and then headed off to find a restaurant for dinner. We ate at the quirky Genatsvale On Arbat which had a stream running through the main eating area and fake trees as well as good food.

Next day we ventured out on the famous metro to visit the Novodevichy Convent which was founded in 1524. It houses an interesting collection of buildings but the grounds are dominated by the Smolensk Cathedral which is covered in frescoes. Next door is the impressive Novodevichy Cemetery where Chekhov and Prokofiev are buried as well as President Boris Yeltsin. We travelled
First sightingFirst sightingFirst sighting

St Basil's Cathedral
back on the metro stopping at several stations to admire the marble , mosaics , chandeliers and bas-reliefs generally depicting the happy Soviet people, history or war and sometimes all of them. We took loads of pictures, and didn't have any problems despite what we had heard.

Before heading to St Petersburg we had a brief wander along Ul Arbat to get some last minute souvenirs and then got back on the metro to board the Sapsan train for our final destination.

Additional photos below
Photos: 43, Displayed: 24


Tsar Cannon Tsar Cannon
Tsar Cannon

Cast in 1586 with cannon balls that are too big to fit!
Assumption Cathedral inside the KremlinAssumption Cathedral inside the Kremlin
Assumption Cathedral inside the Kremlin

Built between 1475 and 1479 with a design based on the cathedral in Vladimir
Ivan The Great Bell TowerIvan The Great Bell Tower
Ivan The Great Bell Tower

We went on a tour of the bell tower and had some magnificent views for the top of the tall tower
Steph and the Tsar BellSteph and the Tsar Bell
Steph and the Tsar Bell

The worlds largest bell weighing at a whopping 202 tonnes. In 1737 when cooling off an 11 tonne the chunk weighing 11 tonnes chipped off rendering it useless!
Inside GUM department storeInside GUM department store
Inside GUM department store

The Gosudarstvenny Universalny Magazin has more than 100 shops inside it. The posters show athletes in their Bosco kits ready for the London Olympics

26th March 2014

Having visited Moscow I enjoyed this blog a lot, and realised how much better your photos were than mine ! Next trip ??
1st April 2014

Marvellous Moscow
Fab photos & especially the T-Shirt Coral - very nice! Enjoy the tulips & hopefully we'll get some more excellent photos on your return. So, looking forward to another colourful blog then!!

Tot: 0.108s; Tpl: 0.012s; cc: 11; qc: 57; dbt: 0.0738s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.2mb