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Published: June 22nd 2017
Kremlin 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
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.
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