Moscow Kremlin

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Europe » Russia
May 27th 2017
Published: June 22nd 2017
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Kremlin Cathedral SquareKremlin Cathedral SquareKremlin Cathedral Square

Around this square were five cathedrals, used for different purposes. Russian Orthodox churches are mostly decorated with icons: religious scenes painted on wood where the people are mostly representative, not life-like. Interesting at first, but they did not hold my attention.
Geo: 55.7497, 37.6135

We started the day with an exclusive, pre-opening visit to the Kremlin museums, followed by viewing several of the churches and palaces in the 28 hectare, triangular-shaped complex. After another fine lunch at the National Hotel we spent most of the afternoon (too long) at the Museum of Cosmonautics.

What a shame that no photos were allowed inside any of the Kremlin buildings. Our first stop at the so-called Armoury Chamber was truly awesome. The vast museum had only a small section of military regalia, but included an AMAZING collection of garments, crowns and royal accoutrements, religious items, ten Faberge Imperial Eggs, etc. Excepting maybe in the Vienna Museum of Fine Art, these were the most wonderful exhibits we have seen. For example, on display was a distinctive, richly decorated 13th century church robe in excellent condition. We later saw the same robe depicted on a 15th century church wall: a 500-year old fresco of a 700-year old robe that we had just seen "in the flesh". Can you imagine! Catherine the Great's crown was made of 4,996 diamonds on a hidden frame, I forget how many carats.

After that numbing experience we visited the separate Diamond Fund, another amazing collection
Tsar BellTsar BellTsar Bell

This 200+ tonne bell, still the largest ever made, was successfully cast in 1735 after many attempts. While the engineers were figuring out how to get it up the bell tower, a fire broke out and the bell was getting dangerously heated. Extinguishing water fell on the bell and a 12 tonne piece cracked out. What a disaster. The bell was never repaired and never rung. At one time it was used as a small chapel. It now sits as a sad curiosity in the Kremlin grounds.
of jewellery and huge gold nuggets. In aggregate, it put the Crown Jewels to shame. We bought books of the museums as there were too many incredible pieces to fully absorb.

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6


Tsar CannonTsar Cannon
Tsar Cannon

This monster 1586 cannon was intended to be used in the wars against the Tartars. It fired grapeshot: the balls are just for show as there was no way to lift these for loading. The cannon was test fired successfully and taken to battle, but never used. The Tartars were awed by the gun and retreated.
Pest controlPest control
Pest control

Rooks (blackbirds) had become too numerous in the Kremlin grounds and were decimating other native species. The grounds are now patrolled by trained falcons, whose handlers launch them at any Rooks that dare to return. Unfortunately, we did not see one in action.
Space MomumentSpace Momument
Space Momument

The museum had some interesting exhibits such as a replica of part of the current space station. Generally however, the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida is better. The titanium monument is impressive.
Belka and StrelkaBelka and Strelka
Belka and Strelka

These dogs survived a space flight in Aug 1960. Here they are stuffed, not replicas.

31st May 2017

Oi Robbie! What are you doing behind his back??????
31st May 2017

They came back? Alive?
31st May 2017

Yes, the dogs were celebrities. Now preserved for posterity.

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