Moscow

My first trip but second night in Moscow. I had been before but involuntary – stranded in Moscow as a result of Aeroflot when returning from Armenia to the UK my connecting flight from Moscow left before my flight from Yerevan took off.
Fortunately several years later I was in Moscow again but this time of my own will. I had taken a bus from Vladimir and made my way to the Transiberian hostel.

There are some places in my childhood I either saw on TV or read that made an impression on me. One was the Golden Gate Bridge another was the Kremlin. Too see the Kremlin and also especially to see St Basil’s Cathedral (The Intercession cathedral) are reason enough for me to visit Moscow, so it was some disappointment therefore that in the 5 days I was in Moscow the Kremlin was closed for 5 days.. and in fact reopened on the day I arrived in St Petersburg all because of a concert. It is a bit like the Eiffel tower closing for a week. It just should not happen!

My initial impression of Moscow was not do favourable maybe because of the damp weather, or crowds and having come from the beautiful cities of Vladimir, and Suzdal and the nice atmosphere of Ryazan. However after a day or two my impressions became more favourable. This is similar to a German friend Jochen I made in Moscow who also had initial unfavourable impressions but grew to like Moscow.
While in Moscow I attended a Divine Liturgy at a ROCOR church with Olya and Lisa. My friend Olya (from Moscow not my friend from Ryazan) managed to find a church with priests who could take confessions in English. The parish was friendly and although bigger reminded me a little of my home parish.

After liturgy there was a heavy downpour of rain that wrecked our chances of visiting some places. We did pass through another church. We then stayed in a cafe. After some time Olya showed me the Tretyakov Gallery . One of the famous galleries in the world and displays a huge collection of Russian art.
It holds masterpieces such as as a portrait of Alexander Pushkin by Orest Kiprensky and Demon seated in the garden 1890 by Mikhail Vrubel and also some of the most famous holy icons.
The museum actually has a functioning church on its premises with the the Our Lady of Vladimir icon as well as an icon display in the actual museum including The Holy Trinity (1425-1427) and Our Lady of the Don. Some icons stretch back as far as the 12th century.

Miraculous icon – Our Lady of the Don.
The icon of Our Lady of the Don was given to Dmitry Donskoyon the eve of the battle of Kulikovo in 1380. The Russians battled to an important victory over the Tatars in fact the first for over 140 years and victory was attributed to the wonderworking icon.
Ivan the terrible also carried the icon as he besieged Kazan. Today the icon is one of several famous icons viewable in the Tretyakov Gallery. There are also a lot of wonderworking icons still in churches throughout Russia.
See Wonderworking icons of Russia

On another day I also visited the church which Father Daniel of St Thomas Church used to be priest before his martyrdom.

During my trip by chance I could meet one of my best friends Valeriya from Ukraine. She was in Moscow to see a festival with Cure and the dates she was in Moscow coincided with mine so we were able to meet in central Moscow and walk around the centre as well as spend time in a cafe in a shopping centre. We passed by the barricaded Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral as well which looked beautiful in the glowing light of pre-sunset.

One of the highlights of Moscow was the Kolomenskoe Museum reserve. Once a royal estate it contains several historical churches, wooden houses set in beautiful parkland and borders the Moskovoy river.
Not surprisingly it was also a popular places for couples to spend time together.One of the highlights of Moscow was the Kolomenskoe Museum reserve. Once a royal estate it contains several historical churches, wooden houses set in beautiful parkland and borders the Moskovoy river.A negative thing about the museum reserve is that almost everything costs money and if it is on two levels say a church with a crypt you will have to buy tickets for both separately. You can probably get an all inclusive ticket but it debatable whether you will want to see everything.
And usually for a church in my experience charges an admission fee you are allowed to take pictures. I fully understand churches that do not as they are places of worship not made for tourist attractions. But when charges and acts more as a museum (I have doubts it is actually active on a regular bases there was no where to purchase candles etc) as one not allowing photos (as the babushka said when asked) seems to be ‘stingy to say the least.

Another ‘must-see’ place in Moscow is the huge Christ the Saviour cathedral. An attractive bridge leads to the cathedral. The original was destroyed by the communists. However Stalin plans to build a new tower with a 100m statue of Lenin were never fulfilled.

Another place of interest to many is Arbat

“Arbat, my Arbat, You are my calling
You are my happiness and my misfortune.” – Bulat Okudzhava

Arbat is the equivalent of Kreschatik in Ukraine. A main shopping street and area with restaurants, cafes, shops and the like. Although at the time it seemed to be less busy than its Ukrainian counterpart. My kind friend Kate showed me around as well as taking me to a shopping centre with a glass lift which is you ascend to the top you have a nice view of Moscow.

My final day in Moscow was spent first touring the metro and then meeting some Moldovan friends in Moscow at that time Natalia, her nephew and Aliona. Due to the national holiday the Planetarium was free and we attempted to join but after moving nowhere and on advice of a staff from the Planetarium decided to leave. the queue extended for considerable length and it would be quite some time if those in our position would get in if at all and we were nowhere ear the end of the queue when we left. Instead we visited Moscow Zoo, something I unfortunately can not recommend. The animals seemed to be in distress and without ample space or surroundings. Better was the park we passed through, and I enjoyed the day.

Moscow Metro

The Moscow metro is a masterpiece and probably unanimously recognised as having the most beautiful subway stations in the world.

Depending on the stations you go to you will find soviet statues and murals purporting their ‘glorious’ revolution. murals depicting Belorussian culture and stained glass windows.

It is best to simply take a tour of line no 5, the brown line and get off at each stop to tour before regaining the train.
I did this on the morning of my last day and it was time worth spending.