Wednesday, October 28, 2009

diary of an adventure to Eastern Europe.. Part 21.. The RED SQUARE... MOSCOW, Russia

Woke up at 4:30 am.... it was still dark outside... the temperature in St. Petersburg was minus 1 degree now... as I looked out the window it was drizzling again.... We will have to bring down our suitcases in the lobby and have breakfast before our guide comes over to take us to the airport..

 The flight to Moscow from St. Petersburg was an hour. When we reached Moscow we were met by our tour guide and off we went on a city tour. The weather was chilly that morning... it was 4 degrees when we arrived.  Our guide warned us that tomorrow temperature might even drop further. He said that by mid October the temperature drops to minus 2 degrees and sometimes it starts snowing.

The DOMODEDOVO Airport ... Moscow...

It took us an hour bus ride to the city ... The traffic was bad that day being a work day. While the tour guide was giving us some background history on Moscow... I was busy taking photos on the bus and taking down notes.

Here are some photos of what I saw ...

The building on the left is the KGB headquarters......

The theater were the famous Bolshoi Ballet performs... it is currently under renovation.

Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world. It has 5 airports and 9 railway stations. Moscow is also known as " the city of opportunities ". There are plenty jobs in Moscow. Over 11.5 million people live in Moscow.   Almost 2 million are illegal immigrants from neighboring countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Siberia etc.  The history of the city dates back to the year 1147. Today Moscow is definitely one of the most attractive cities for tourists like me, with its architecture combining different styles and museums with large collections of works all over the world. However, the Russians are very strict when it comes to discipline and rules in entering palaces and museums. we went to the Armory ( inside the Kremlin ).... we were not allowed to take any photos. Inside the Armory you will find the fabulous FABERGE EGGS made of precious jewels, the Czar's collection of coronation robes, fabulous gowns of the queens, carriages, and armor used by the Russians. This Armory goes back to the 15th century where it was used as a repository of jewels and treasures of the grand princes of Moscow. It also contained richly decorated arms , ceremonial robes, gold and silver plates and icons. Over 50 priceless pieces of faberge eggs are on display at the Armory. We also saw the Diamond Treasury which contains the most valuable gems in Russia and on display was the 190 carat Orlov Diamond....

According to our guide, SERGEI, the face of Moscow has changed considerably over the past five years. The once-empty shops have become designer boutiques and expensive restaurants. Another thing we found out... RESTAURANT in RUSSIAN is " RESTAURANTI " ... but when you see PEKTOPAH... that is  how they spell it in Russian and that is how we pronounced it.. ha ha!! And another thing I found out is that we have 26 letters in our alphabet while the Russians have 32 letters in their alphabet.

When we reached the city.... Our bus was stopped by a policeman manning the traffic. We were surprised ... we knew we were not breaking any law... According to our tour guide... He said that the policemen in Moscow have to give tickets to 5 motorists a day ( for no reason at all ?? ).. he even made a joke about it.. he said in Russia they call it " STOP THE BUS !! "... so that day alone ... our bus driver got 2 tickets...

Our first stop... THE RED SQUARE

At the very center of the KREMLIN lies the RED SQUARE

The Lenin Mausoleum... again... we were asked NOT TO TAKE ANY PHOTOS inside the mausoleum. This mausoleum was heavily guarded by the Russian Security Guards ( KGB ). Usually this mausoleum is not open to the public but that day... we were lucky to find out it was opened for public viewing. Before you reach the  mausoleum you will walk through a walkway wherein all the past Russian presidents and rulers have their statues made of granite. Some statues had flowers on it.. I saw the statue to Stalin... As we entered the mausoleum... the whole place was very dark and cold. There was only one spotlight that focused on the coffin of Lenin. The coffin of Lenin was right in the middle. His body was covered with wax ( to preserve his body).. and was kept inside a refrigerated coffin... According to our tour guide, his hair, nails, and skin are real. We had to go in a single file and no one can stop and take a longer look at the body.

Here are the other photos of the Red Square..

The State department store called GUM ( pronounced GOOM ).

The Kazansky Cathedral....  this Cathedral has become the symbol of religion revival in Russia. It was built in 1630 - 1633. It was destroyed in 1930 to have room for heavy military vehicles driving through the square. It was reconstructed in the mid 90's and later in 2005 it was repainted and renovated.

The beautiful Cathedral of the Intercession or St. Basil's Cathedral..... It was built in 1555 to 1560. It consists of 9 little chapels built on a single foundation. The interior of this Cathedral is a maze of galleries winding from chapel to chapel and level to level via narrow stairways and low arches. All the walls are painted in geometric patterns. The tomb of St. Basil the Blessed can be visited in the lower floor, where he lies in a silver casket in gaudy splendor. Upstairs, the Chapel of the Intercession contains the equally splendid blue and white icons.

In the garden ( infront of the St. Basil's Cathedral ) stands the statue of Dmitry Poharsky who rallied the Russian army against the Polish invaders in the late 16th and 17th century. This statue was originally placed in the center of the Red Square but the government felt it obstructed the parades and moved the statue in front of the Cathedral.

We had a group souvenir shot at the Red Square..

Here are the other photos of the Red Square...

The Spasskaya Tower ... showing the most correct Moscow time...

After our tour we checked in our hotel. Tomorrow we will be having another tour .... this time.. the UNDERGROUND METRO .. and the NIGHT TOUR to the RED SQUARE and inside walking tour to the KREMLIN..... What an exhausting day!!!!

 Goodnight all!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment