🙂 March, March, March across Red Square – Do all the things you’d never dare! Moscow Metro! Ordinary people taxis – you just flag down a random car and if they are heading in your direction, you hop in and give them a couple of rubles when you hop out!
THREE things we did not know about Moscow:
- Lenin’s corpse is preserved in a Mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square. Vladimir Lenin died in 1924 and, since then, the maintenance of his remains has cost the Russian state roughly 13 million roubles (over £155,000/$210,000) per annum. Every few days, a team of scientists check on his body to monitor the condition of his skin and keep it looking natural. His body, except his organs, is re-embalmed every 18 months. Every once in a while, the scientists replace damaged tissue with artificial material to keep everything working. Many people speculate that the body isn’t real at all.
- Moscow’s stray dogs can navigate the metro. To survive the city’s harsh winters, Moscow’s dogs have had to develop street smarts. While exploring the city’s beautiful metro system, you might spot one of its clever canine residents hopping on and off the trains. They have learnt to identify metro stops by the tannoy announcements, while others have befriended security guards. And, like St Petersburg’s cats, they keep the rat population down.
- In the 1930s, almost all the residents of Moscow’s House on the Embankment disappeared. After Moscow became Russia’s new capital city in 1918, it was decided that a residential building would needed to house the country’s relocated civil servants. ‘The House of Government’, as it was known then, was a luxurious living space, boasting a communal cinema, salon, tennis court and other amenities. But it came at a cost. During Stalin’s Great Purge of 1937-1938, 800 residents of the building were arrested or killed. It had the highest number of arrests and executions per capita out of all of Moscow’s apartment buildings, earning the building its moniker ‘The House of Preliminary Detention’.
My friend had taken on a contract and was in working in Moscow and invited me for a long weekend. I was so excited as I never ever though that I would ever go to Moscow and march across Red Square! The first thing that blew me away was the astonishing grandeur of the underground stations! Stalin had the vision to create a magnificent Metro system that would resemble “People’s Palaces”. His vision was realised in 1935 when the Metro was opened with just 13 stations. Every station has a unique design indicative of the era and political leader of the time. Lined with marble and decorated with chandeliers, intricate mosaic artworks, heroic statues and gilded trimmings, the Moscow Metro stations are not merely decorated; they are works of art. An entire day can be spent station hopping, admiring beauty and opulence of every station! Today the Moscow metro is nearly 400 kilometres long, with 15 lines serving 269 stations. This includes a monorail and two circle lines connecting suburban stations at different distances from the centre.
My friend lived on the most expensive road in Moscow in an apartment. We had an amusing experience of nearly becoming voyeurs! We were getting ready to go out and I went to get a glass of water – the apartment backed onto another apartment and I had not switched on the light so I could see straight into the opposite room where they just happened to be filming a phonographic film – what a shock! I called my friend and we poured a glass of wine and watched for five minutes before pulling ourselves together – we did have a laugh – only in Moscow!!
We had a great time exploring the City and on one day had a guide to show us around properly. Here are some of the sights and markets. Plenty of animal skins with heads attached!! The best place to buy souvenirs in Moscow, Russia is easily Izmailovsky Market. It’s located just outside the city center and is easy to get to via the metro. Metro Station IZMAILOVO. Technically the market is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm. However, during the week many of the vendors are not there so the best days to visit are Saturdays and Sundays. We enjoyed a glass of Gluhwein whilst strolling around and I bought the girls Troika Dolls as souvenirs.
The March across Red Square made my day! An important public marketplace and meeting place for centuries, Red Square houses the ornate 16th-century St. Basil’s Cathedral, the State Historical Museum and the enormous GUM Department Store, as well as a modernist mausoleum for the revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin. It ss known for its political symbolism, but was actually named for its loveliness: Krasnaya, or “red,” meant “beautiful” in old Russian.
Lenin’s Mausoleum, also known as Lenin’s Tomb, situated on Red Square in the centre of Moscow, is a mausoleum that serves as the resting place of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin. His preserved body has been on public display there since shortly after his death in 1924.
The famous Tsar bell is one of the highlights of the Moscow Kremlin. It is the biggest bell in the world and weights 200 tons! It is6.14m tall and has a 6.6m diameter. The bell was commissioned by Empress Anna Ivanovna, niece of Peter the Great. In May 1737, a terrible fire known as Troitsky broke out and spread to the Kremlin buildings. During the fire extinguishing, cold water fell on the bell itself. Temperature difference caused its crack, and a huge piece of 11.5 ton broke off.
The Cathedral of the Annunciation was built by architects from Pskov in 1484-1489 as part of Grand Duke Ivan III’s plans for a large-scale renovation of the Moscow Kremlin. It was built on the spot of an older 14th-century cathedral of the same name, which had been rebuilt in 1416. The Cathedral of the Annunciation was originally designed as a house church for Russian tsars.
GUM is one of the oldest department stores in the country. It’s famous for the glass roof designed by one of Russia’s most celebrated architects, Vladimir Shukhov. Today it serves as a high-class shopping mall. There are plenty of luxury shops, a supermarket that sells lots of signature Russian goods and several places to eat.
The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, commonly known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral, is an Orthodox church in Red Square of Moscow, and is one of the most popular cultural symbols of Russia. It underwent extensive restoration and became a museum of architecture, history, politics, and religion. Unlike many historical buildings, St Basil’s escaped demolition during Stalin’s regime. The cathedral was originally painted white with golden domes. It was only in the 17th century that Russian architectural styles began including more whimsical color schemes.
At the southwest end stands the incomparable St Basil’s Cathedral. Opposite it you’ll find the Historical Museum, directly behind which a golden circle on the ground marks Moscow’s Kilometre Zero.
You can visit 11 churches on the two tiers of St Basil’s cathedral. The churches are connected with the labyrinth of beautifully painted narrow vaulted corridors and galleries. The colourful flower patterns symbolise the heavenly garden. There is a real mix of east and west as you wander through the churches.
Go to: St Petersburg