The problem with being 3 months behind in the blog is not remembering any names of any of the buildings (if I didn’t know them to start off with).
Like all first days, today we just wandered around, looking at stuff.
We went to the Kremlin, which should be called “Moscow Kremlin”. Kremlin is just the word for a Russia citadel and there are lots of kremlins all over Russia. But everyone knows which one you’re talking about anyway… It has been occupied since the second century.
The Moscow Kremlin consists of cathedrals and squares and palaces. The really famous building below is St Basil’s Cathedral, or The Cathedral of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat (See! Russians and their church names). It marks the centre of Moscow (geometrically, not geographically – Wikipedia has some really useless facts!) Apparently the shape is meant to be a bonfire. I can see that… The onion domes are really colourful.
This is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Apparently it was commissioned by the Tsar after Napoleon retreated to thank Jesus for being their Savior. Of course building these things take time so it wasn’t completed until around 50 years later. Fun fact: Tchaikovsky wrote 1812 Overture about Russia defeating Napoleon and first debuted the piece in a tent next to the nearly finished church (1882). The gold top was one of the first gold-electroplated things ever! The church itself has amazing carving on the doors and great statues. However these aren’t original. The church was reduced to rubble during the atheist Soviet area and turned into a pool! (they were going to make a “Palace of Soviets” but ran out of steel coz they needed it for the war effort). It was only in 1990 that the church asked to rebuild it. Everything is new, including the bronze statues. The Jesus popping out of the hole looks a bit too much like ‘buddy Jesus’ to me though (Dogma reference).
This other building is a bank. It is AMAZING. It looks exactly like what I think a giant bank should look like. Bruce Wayne should live at the top, or Scrooge McDuck, with piles of money. These buildings are just so imposing! The skyline is ‘onion domes, gold pointy tops, gold onion domes, gigantic tower etc. SO GRAND AND AMAZING!
In front of the Kremlin, in Red Square, where all the tourists bunch, there are some impersonators who you can get your picture with. I saw Stalin and Lenin and Vladomir Putin. This opportunity has caught on in a weird way though, see who you can spot in the picture below… Relevant to Russia how??
There were other great statues and monuments in Moscow. This giant ship with a man on it, flower mosaics on the curbs everywhere… Giant shopping mall of high class brands that was mostly empty.
Sign on the door of our hostel
The subway/metro stations in Moscow are amazing. We did a walking tour of them (well, a metro tour, only the cost of a metro ticket!) that I saw on wikitravel of somewhere. That’s for tomorrows update but this is what we saw today.