Moscow, the capital city of Russia, provides a feast for those who are interested in architecture. Old churches and government buildings are mixed with newer structures such as a major hotel at left which was built during the 1930s.
The Novodevichy Convent, which was once used as a fortress, provides a look at another interesting architecural style. It was founded in 1524 to ommemorate the 1514 victory of Russia over the Polish and Lithuanian forces.
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour near the center of Moscow is a replica of the original structure built finished in 1889 taking 12 years and 10,000 workers to complete. It was demolished in 1931 during the Stalin regime. In the 1990's people from all over the country donated the money necessary to reconstruct the beautiful structure.
Must sites during a visit to Moscow are Red Square and the Kremlin. The square, with Lenin's Tomb at the right in this photo, was the site of the many May Day parades during which the Soviet regime flexed its military muscle. Today it a place for Russians to sun themselves and enjoy a stroll. On this particular day they were celebrating Independence Day. The many structures inside the Kremlin are seen just beyond the tall wals.
Probably the most famous image representing Russia can be seen from Red Square. It's the Cathedral of the Intercession, more popularly known as Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed. It's multi-colored onion towers provide a sight that signifies Russia to people throughout the world. It really is a collection of nine churches set on pedestals grouped around a central church.
Another structure surrounding Red Square, and busy on this Independence Day, is the famous GUM (prounced GOOM) department store. Now that Russians are aware of the free market economy this big shopping center is busy even though residents don't have a lot of money to spend.
Among the sites to visit inside the Kremlin is the Grave of the Unknown Soldier, similar to America's located in Arlington Cemetery. It is guarded day and night by young Russian soldiers who look almost like large toy soldiers.
Located inside the Kremlin walls are not only the offices of the Russian government but a number of churches. This is the Cathedral of the Dormition which was once Russia's main cathedral. It was built in 1475. The heads of the Russian Orthodox Church were buried here until 1721.
Another impressive structure inside the Kremlin is this 81 meeter bell tower whic was added to the Church of St. John Climacus in 1505. It houses the largest bell in Russia still in working order - the Dormition, or Festive, Bell.
There are many monuments through Moscow, many dedicated to those who lost their lives in one of the many wars in which the country was involved. This is the Victory Memorial dedicated to the Russian victory in what is known in Russia as the Great Patriortic War from 1941-45. Included on the site is a museum with artifacts from that war.
A visit to Moscow would not be complete without going underground for a visit to the Metro. This is the most elaborate and beautiful subway system in the world. It is known as the "underground palace" of the city. The station walls are decorated wioth more than twenty kinds of marble from throughout the country. The work was done in the late 1930's and are fine examples of the architecture of the time.
What do Russians do for entertainment? They go to the famous Moscow Circus (actually several different circuses). The one-ring circus is unlike those experienced in America. It is more like a big variety show or a Las Vegas extravaganza. Acts include aerialists, acrobats, clowns and car-driving bears.
In Moscow, as everywhere throughout the country one of the most visible souvenirs is the matrushka. They are the wooden figures which, when opened up, reveal a succession of even smaller figures. Most are the traditional Russian peasants although some are now being created with western themes for visitors from the U.S.
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