Route of the Czars

A trip from October 11 through October 20, 2006

Moscow - Red Square
Gates to Red Square
Our trip started in Moscow, and there is no place more symbolic than Red Square. While this gate is red, and the Kremlin wall is red bricks, the name Red Square comes from translating the medieval name that means either red or beautiful.  This is the north end of "Beautiful" Square.
Kazan Cathedral
Almost adjacent to the gate above, this is the Kazan Cathedral.  Its checked past dates to 1630, but this version was built in 1993 based on the drawings done by an architect who restored it between 1929 and 1932.  What happened in between?  Stalin.  He had it destroyed in 1936.
Russian History Museum
The north end of Red Square is dominated by the State Historical Museum of Russia.  This building dates to the Victorian era, as if that makes any difference here, but it sort of looks Victorian to me.
Lenin's Tomb
The west side of the square is defined by the Kremlin walls.  Kremlin means "fortress," so these walls were designed with a defensive purpose.  Of course the center of the picture is Lenin's Tomb, absent a line-up of aged, overweight leaders.
Savior Gate Tower
The Savior Tower was built in 1491, and its clock was installed in the early 16th century.  Commonly known as the Kremlin Clock, this is the source of official Russian time.
St. Basil's
The extreme south end of Red Square is marked by this church, which has a variety of names, but we know it best as St. Basil's.  This was actually built on the orders of Ivan the Terrible (Ivan IV) some time before his death in 1584.  It is actually a cluster of chapels all on one foundation.  The other thing is its size.  This is a really small building, but it is beautiful inside and out.
Interior of St. Basil's
One wall of each chapel is an iconostasis, meaning the place where the icons stand.  Behind this, there is a high altar, which is only accessible to the priests.
Moscow, the Kremlin
Kremlin Palace
This is the Grand Kremlin Palace.  It is used mainly for state events, not as a residence.  It is fairly modern, dating to 1838, but it was massively renovated in 1990.
Kremlin Church
To the left in this picture is the Palace of Facets, part of a palace that was originally built in 1491.  The church we are facing is the Cathedral of Dormition.  This version was built in about 1479, and Ivan the Terrible was crowned here in 1547.  He was the first czar of all Russia.
Ivan the Terrible's Home
Speaking of Ivan the Terrible, this was his palace.
Putin's Office
At the time we were there, Vladimir Putin had his offices in this building.  Note the extra security.
Stalin's Residence
Here we look over the Kremlin walls to see the top of the palace the Stalin used to live in.
Elsewhere in Moscow
Chirch of the Redeemer
The Cathedral of Christ the Savior is the largest church in Russia, accommodating 10,000 people (all standing, I believe).  It was originally built to celebrate the 1812 victory of Russia over Napoleon, but it wasn't finished until 1883.  However, Stalin didn't care much for churches, so he had it destroyed in 1931.  The current edifice is a rebuild that was done in 1999.  This church is visible from Red Square.
Convent in Moscow
The Novodevichy Convent was the place where wayward royal wives and daughters got to live.  It translates to "New Maidens' Convent."   Remember Ivan the Terrible?  He provided much of its early funding in the form of cash, villages and serfs.  I think this scheme is probably better than Henry VIII's solution to wife problems.
Olympics Area
This area was home to the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympiad.  Several major stadiums are sprinkled through this valley.
Dolls for Sale
Wherever tourists gather, you will find matryoshka dolls for sale.  The prices and workmanship vary all over the map.  The best are magnificent.
Moscow University
This is the Lenin Hills campus of the Moscow State University.  This style of building appears all around Moscow, and it is associated with Joseph Stalin.  The university has about 50,000 students.
Moscow Subway
Finally, the famous Moscow subway.

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