August 2009 and I am back in Moscow to join up with another English Aviation Tour group on a Moscow airports and museum photo safari. Together with 3 other Dutch aviation friend we flew in with Austrian airlines via Vienna which was the cheapest tickets. During the first couple of days we stayed in the Novotel Hotel at Sheremetyevo Airport. On the third day of the tour I decided not to participate and instead make my own little Moscow city centre walking tour.
I inquired at the Novotel front desk how to get to the city. Sheremetyevo Airport lies to the North of Moscow ring road and it can take a couple of hours to reach the city centre depending on the notorious busy traffic. It was very simple the lady answered, you just take the Aeroexpress train from the terminal building to Moscow Savyolovskaya train station which cost only 250 roubles and then hook up with the Metro (number 9). From there it is only 4 stops to the Red Square. I decided to get out at Checkhovskaya station and walk from there. (Metro tickets are only 42 roubles).
The modern bright red train takes about 40 minutes to arrive at Savyolovskaya station. When I got out the weather improved dramatically and the sun was burning. The street in front of the station was crawling with people and traffic. I found the metro station only 30 meters away. After taking some picture and rushed down and bought my metro ticket and followed the line of people down the escalator towards the metro platforms. The Moscow Metro is a very humid and loud place with lots of people. The trains zoom past every 60 seconds. I finally figured which way I was going and got on a train. The metro plan and sign are all in Russian and Cyrillic language, no English. This was my second time in Moscow so I felt a little more confident to travel! I got out at the Chechovskaya station I went topside and got out my Moscow visitors map and tried to get my bearings! After checking direction with a local Russian couple I started walking along the Tverskaya UL towards the Red Square.
Moscow is the capital and the largest city of Russia. It is also the largest metropolitan area in Europe, and ranks among the largest urban areas in the world. Moscow is a major political, economic, cultural, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the world, a global city. It is also the seventh largest city in the world, a megacity. Population of Moscow (as of 1 March 2009) is 10,514,400. It is located on the Moscow River in the Central Federal District, in the European part of Russia. Historically, it was the capital of the former Soviet Union, Russian Empire, Tsardom of Russia and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. It is the site of the Moscow Kremlin, one of the World Heritage Sites in city, which serves as the residence of the President of Russia. The Russian parliament (the State Duma and the Federation Council) and the Government of Russia also sit in Moscow.
Moscow is a major economic centre and is home to one of the largest numbers of billionaires in the world; in 2008 Moscow was named the world's most expensive city for foreign employees for the third year in a row. However, in 2009, Moscow moved to third after Tokyo and Osaka came in first and second, respectively. It is home to many scientific and educational institutions, as well as numerous sport facilities. It possesses a complex transport system, that includes 3 international airports, 9 railroad terminals, and the world's second busiest (after Tokyo) metro system which is famous for its architecture and artwork. Its metro is the busiest single-operator subway in the world.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Red Square is the most famous city square in Moscow, and arguably one of the most famous in the world. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod. As major streets of Moscow radiate from here in all directions, being promoted to major highways outside the city, Red Square is often considered the central square of Moscow and of all Russia.
The rich history of Red Square is reflected in many artworks, including paintings by Vasily Surikov, Konstantin Yuon and others. The square was meant to serve as Moscow's main marketplace. It was also used for various public ceremonies and proclamations, and occasionally as the site of coronation for Russia's czars. The square has been gradually built up since that point and has been used for official ceremonies by all Russian governments since it was established.
The name Red Square derives neither from the color of the bricks around it (which, in fact, were whitewashed at certain points in history) nor from the link between the color red and communism. Rather, the name came about because the Russian word красная (krasnaya) can mean either "red" or "beautiful" (the latter being archaic). This word, with the meaning "beautiful", was originally applied to Saint Basil's Cathedral and was subsequently transferred to the nearby square. It is believed that the square acquired its current name (replacing the older Pozhar, or "burnt-out place") in the 17th century. Several ancient Russian towns, such as Suzdal, Yelets, and Pereslavl-Zalessky, have their main square named Krasnaya ploshchad, namesake of Moscow's Red Square.
During the Soviet era, Red Square maintained its significance, becoming a focal point for the new state. Besides being the official address of the Soviet government, it was renowned as a showcase for military parades. Kazan Cathedral and Iverskaya Chapel with the Resurrection Gates were demolished to make room for heavy military vehicles driving through the square (both were later rebuilt after the fall of the Soviet Union). In 1990, the Kremlin and Red Square were among the very first sites in the USSR added to UNESCO's World Heritage List. In January 2008, Russia announced that they would resume parading military vehicles through Red Square, although recent restoration of Iverski Gate complicated this, by closing one of existing passages along Historical Museum for the heavy vehicles. The buildings surrounding the Square are all significant in some respect. Lenin's Mausoleum, for example, contains the embalmed body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union. Nearby to the south is the elaborate brightly-domed Saint Basil's Cathedral and the palaces and cathedrals of the Kremlin.
On the eastern side of the square is the GUM department store, and next to it the restored Kazan Cathedral. The northern side is occupied by the State Historical Museum, whose outlines echo those of Kremlin towers. The Iberian Gate and Chapel have been rebuilt to the northwest.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is a Church in Moscow, Russia, on the bank of the Moskva River, a few blocks west of the Kremlin. It is the tallest Eastern Orthodox Church. When the last of Napoleon's soldiers left Moscow, Tsar Alexander I signed a manifest, 25 December 1812, declaring his intention to build a Cathedral in honor of Christ the Saviour "to signify Our gratitude to Divine Providence for saving Russia from the doom that overshadowed Her" and as a memorial to the sacrifices of the Russian people. The Cathedral had taken many years to build and did not emerge from its scaffolding until 1860. Some of the best Russian painters (Ivan Kramskoi, Vasily Surikov, Vasily Vereshchagin) continued to embellish the interior for another twenty years. The Cathedral was consecrated on the very day Alexander III was crowned, 26 May 1883. After the Revolution and, more specifically, the death of Lenin, the prominent site of the cathedral was chosen by the Soviets as the site for a monument to socialism known as the Palace of Soviets. This monument was to rise in modernistic, buttressed tiers to support a gigantic statue of Lenin perched atop a dome with his arm raised in blessing.
On 5 December 1931, by order of Stalin's minister Kaganovich, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was dynamited and reduced to rubble. It took more than one blast to destroy the church and more than a year to clear the debris from the site. The original marble high reliefs were preserved and are now on display at the Donskoy Monastery. For a long time, they were the only reminder of the largest Orthodox Church ever built. The construction of the Palace of Soviets was interrupted due to a lack of funds, problems with flooding from the nearby Moskva River, and the outbreak of war. The flooded foundation hole remained on the site until, under Nikita Khrushchev, it was transformed into the world's largest open air swimming pool, and it was called the Moskva Pool.
With the end of the Soviet rule, the Russian Orthodox Church received permission to rebuild the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February 1990. A temporary cornerstone was laid by the end of the year. The restorer Aleksey Denisov was called upon to design a replica of extraordinary accuracy. A construction fund was initiated in 1992 and funds began to pour in from ordinary citizens in the autumn of 1994. When construction was well under way, Denisov was replaced by Zurab Tsereteli, who introduced several controversial innovations. For instance, the original marble high reliefs along the walls gave way to the modern bronze ones, which have few, if any, parallels in Russian church architecture. The lower church was consecrated to the Saviour's Transfiguration in 1996, and the completed Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was consecrated on the Transfiguration day, 19 August 2000.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia