Governor's houseOur local guides presented themselves as the Governor's children who were showing us through the 18th century mansion (now a house museum) while their father was away. It was kind of cute and we walked onto the ballroom with a band playing and had a couple of demonstration dances.
Religious iconThis was a more recent icon, because the figure looks more like a real person instead of a stylistic representation. This piece is interesting because it shows very clearly how the painting is covered by a decorated silver or gold "mask", which is shaped to allow the face and hands of the icon figure underneath to be visible.
Icon "mask"I was impressed with the tiny filigree detail on this piece.
Rebuilt CathedralThe 13th century church was rebuilt a few times over the centuries when it was destroyed by fire. After the 1917 revolution, and particularly in Stalin's time (1924-1953), religion was suppressed and this church was demolished with explosives in 1934. The town celebrated its millennium seven years ago and a rich businessmen donated €70 million to rebuild the church, virtually from the ground up. Now they use titanium nitrate for the golden domes as it's cheaper and more durable than gold leaf. The city's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is in the foreground. In good weather schoolchildren vie for the honour of "guarding" the tomb for 30 minutes at a time. Many more girls than boys, apparently.