Friday, September 2, 2011

Moscow - Russia

(L - Faye arrives in Moscow looking fresh after traveling all that way, and for 12 days)

(R - The porters unload our luggage - gee it is nice not having to lug the cases around!!)

Our train arrived in Moscow mid-morning after traveling over 10,000 kms, through 7 time zones, from the Russian east coast. We unloaded and then started our packed day of touring. The name Moscow first appeared in 1147 when a city was founded on the banks of the Moskva River. This developed into a major trading centre.

Moscow has seven railways stations - radiating to different parts of the country - apart from the city subway

(L - Our coaches lined up for the start of the half day's touring program - these coaches really re well driven considering the terrible traffic congestion that appears almost right through almost all city streets)

(R - We visited the the Novodevitchy Monastery which has a very large cemetery for important people. All plots are taken by famous and renowned people, with elaborate head stones and markers.)

(L - The Moscow University)

(R - Sparrow Hills is a look out spot perched on a hill giving a good view of the city of Moscow.

(L & R- Lookouts from Sparrow Hills - On right picture, note the onion shaped domes near Red Square)

(L - Faye checks out the shopping stands at Sparrow Hills)

(R - The Moscow Metro Subway System Map)

(L - The escalator DOWN to the station - some as deep as 400 meters underground)

(R - Many stations are decorated in great detail)

(L - A Moscow subway train - they run about every 2 minutes on every line - and carry around 8 million passengers a day)

(R - Another underground railway station)

(L - A painting from the railway station)

(R - Passengers wait for a train, or friends - note the statues in bronze around the station)

(L - The entrance to Red Square - now equipped with metal detectors and bag searches after some attacks in Moscow)

(R - GUM – On Red Square - Known as the original shopping centre of Russia. Once virtually the only store in which you could buy imported goods – now stocked with all the world famous clothing brands – seems lots of staff but few shoppers.)

(L - Red Square – currently being prepared for an up-coming Military Pageant, and thus very difficult to see the real size.

(R - St Basil’s Cathedral – overlooking the Square - said to have been erected during the time of Ivan VI - otherwise known as Ivan the Terrible - it is also said that he was so pleased with the beauty of the design that he ordered that the architect should be blinded so that he could not design anything to surpass it.

(L - The domes of St Basil's)

(R - On an interior view of one of the ceilings in St Basil's - the grave of St Basil is contained within the Cathedral)

(L - Another view inside St Basil's)

(R - The view from St Basil's along Red Square toward the entrance gate - the blue are the stands being erected for the visitors expected for the military pageant to be held shortly)

(L - The double headed eagle is the symbol of Russia and appears everywhere)

(R - This huge cannon displayed in the Kremlin grounds has never been fired. It lay buried for many years, and was finally recovered and put on display. A firm offered to supply the cannon balls stacked in front of the cannon - but the size is wrong - they do not fit!!)

(L - Another display in the Kremlin is this 200 ton bell - which has a huge chunk missing out of one side - that alone weighs around 11 tons - we had two stories about the broken piece - first that in hanging the bell, they dropped it and a large piece was cracked out of it - the other that during the cooling period a flood of water surrounded the bell, this causing a piece to split out)

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