Moscow Pt 2
I returned to Moscow in May 2015 but it was generally just to be a transit point in my journey between Ryazan and Chelyabinsk. Unfortunately Olya became ill days before my trip and I switched my days in Ryazan to Moscow and I was able to meet three of my friends there.
My earlier trip to Moscow is on this site and detailed. During that trip the Kremlin was closed during my entire stay in Moscow, well opening the day I was departing to St Petersburg. Something I couldn’t understand.
Having visited neither the Kremlin nor St Basil’s cathedral (although seeing from a distance) I was determined to see the places which attracted me from childhood.
And so the visit to the Kremlin… Visits to the Armoury can only be bought 30 mins before set times and only limited tickets (and the queues get huge and you can’t buy the tickets earlier than that also – at least not on site). Kind of horrible disorganisation but I made a visit to the armoury which is famous for its extensive collection including a large collection of Imperial Fabergé Eggs. The museum is impressive but a little bit of a hassle to get into. Having seen a similar (although different) kind of museum at the Tower of London I would be hesitant calling it a must see in my circumstances. If you have plenty of time do visit though.
Also it is possible to buy tickets for the Patriarch gardens and cathedrals. And this where it got a little disappointing for me… The cathedral’s themselves are architecturally very impressive and you are given free paper sheets (guides) in colour.
However all sanctity seems to be lost in the hordes of tourist and non-of the usual church etiquette applies.
It was nice to see for the architecture but the aura was lost to me.
The cathedrals all served an important role. The assumption cathedral is where Tsars were once coronated and the cathedral of the deposition of the robe is interesting. Dedicated to the robe of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary). The robe that the Byzantine Empire credited with defeating pre-Orthodox Rus in 860.
The Kremlin as a fortification has been breached. During the Time of troubles it was occupied by the Polish – Lithuanian commonwealth and also Napoleon occupied it and attempted to burn it down.
Immediately next to the Kremlin is Alexander Gardens. Moscow is full of beautiful gardens and parks and of course Alexander Gardens is one of them.
Another classic place to visit is Red Square were large events are held and one cultural event was going on whilst I was there. After I visited St Basil’s cathedral, which gets mixed reviews from some but (as a museum) it was fine. A male ensemble of the Russian Orthodox Choir Doros often perform there and sell CDs.
Although only Lyubov knew about my trip to Moscow before short notice not going to Ryazan I was able to meet to meet three good friends of mine during my visit.
Lyubov met me in the afternoons on most of my days there despite her busy studies and exams and she gave me a lovely gift.
Another was Kseniya that I first met in St Petersburg and then in London now in Moscow. And Albina.
For me one of the highlights in Moscow to visit the monasteries there and I visited Donskoy monastery to venerate the relics of one of my favourite saints – St Tikhon of Moscow.
The first Patriarch of the restored Patriarchy he was a confessor who suffered greatly under the soviets. During the time he served a patriarchate it is known that the sewerage pipes burst under the Lenin mausoleum leading the Patriarch to remark
“The balm accords with the relics” (По мощам и елей)
At the monastery I met a welcoming monk Constantine we had a long conversation and he kindly invited me for tea and a snack.
During my trip it was also great to meet with Albina who met me after her work. We went to the beautiful Cиреневый сад / Syringa garden a bit far from the centre north of Moscow. And afterwards we had dinner in the excellent Azeri restaurant that translates something like “Fires of Baku“. A restaurant that I recommend thoroughly.
So all together I have spent 9 ½ days at least in Moscow and still have more to see.