Our trip to Moscow was memorable for several reasons.  It was a very long day (13 hours) that began with a plane ride from St. Petersburg on a "no-frills" flight in what can only be described as a flying jalopy.  The takeoffs and landings were great, but we wondered about the flight-worthiness of the aircraft.  There were some security checks, but the Russians were very friendly.  In between, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to a city that we grew up believing we would never see.  It was a thrilling experience, as the photos below attempt to demonstrate.

this is the Moscow airport

The primary focus of our visit to Moscow was the Kremlin and Red Square.  The Kremlin ("fortified town") has been the main seat of Russian power since the 12th century.  Within its stone walls are the castles, towers, cathedrals and government buildings that represent Russia's rich history.  Red Square (which refers to the Russian word which means both "beautiful" and "red") is located just outside the Kremlin's eastern wall.

Inside the Kremlin is the Grand Kremlin Palace

Grand Kremlin Palace

and the 14th,15th and 16th century churches of 
 Sobornaya (Cathedral) Square

Ivan the Great Bell Tower (1505-08)

Cathedral of the Annunciation (1484-1489)
once the private chapel of the Russian Princes and Czars

(l. to r. Patriarch's Palace and the Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles (17th century), Church of the Deposition of the Robe (1484-86), Cathedral of the Archangel Michael (1501-08), Cathedral of the Dormition (1475-79)

the domes of the Terem Churches (back)
Church of the Deposition of the Virgin's Robe (right)

interior of the Cathedral of the Dormition (Assumption Cathedral)

The adjoining Ivanovskaya (Ivan's Square) displays two world famous bronze castings 

the czar's bell (200 tons) - 1733
originally intended for the Ivan the Great Bell Tower
it cracked and a 11.5 ton piece broke off

the czar's cannon - world's largest, but never fired (1586)

The Armoury Museum contains many historical treasures, including

the royal carriage of Catherine the Great (1769)
(Nancy wants one - George thinks it would make a great golf cart)

One of the great highlights of our Kremlin visit was a stop at the State Kremlin Palace.  This building was built in 1960-61 while Nikita Krushchev was in power.  You may remember it as the Palace of Congresses.  The huge dining hall was used to host formal State dinners with international dignitaries.  We had lunch there.

Kremlin State Palace

foyer of the Kremlin State Palace

the State Dining Room

musical entertainment during lunch

View from the State Dining Room
(l. to r., Moscow University, Patriarch's Palace and the Church of the Twelve Apostles, the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, Cathedral of the Archangel Michael)

There are 20 different towers around the walls of the Kremlin.
Here are a few we liked:

Borovitskaya Tower              St. Nicholas Tower               Troitskaya Tower  

here's Borovitskaya Tower showing the entrance gate underneath
(that's Christ the Saviour Church on the left; Armory on the right)

and now ... on to Red Square

It's difficult to stand in Red Square without visualizing tanks, soldiers and military equipment entering from the south gate and parading before the reviewing stand filled with Soviet leaders.  The square is huge - it could hold a dozen football fields.  We loved it!

View of Red Square looking north 
GUM department store on the left, St. Basil's Cathedral straight ahead,
 Spasskaya Tower on the right

View of Red Square looking south
Lenin's Tomb on the left, State History Museum straight ahead,
GUM department store on the right

One of the most recognized landmarks in all of Russia is the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed in Red Square  It is officially named The Pokrovsky Cathedral, but it is also known as The Cathedral of the Intercession, or The Cathedral of the Protection of the Mother of God.  The popular name, St. Basil's Cathedral comes from the fact that St. Basil, who lived during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, is buried where the church now stands. 

St. Basil's Cathedral (1555-57)

Other notable sights in Red Square include:

Spasskaya (Savior's) Tower
largest Kremlin gate tower - dominant structure in Red Square

two views of Lenin's Mausoleum
 (the Senate building is behind the wall in the background)

GUM (pronounced "goom") Department Store
an enclosed shopping mall

fountain in the center of the GUM shopping mall

Resurrection Gate at the south end of Red Square

State History Museum

Kazan Cathedral

After leaving Red Square, we made a couple of stops on the way to the airport for our return flight to St. Petersburg

Novodevichy Monastery (early 16th century)
burial site of Chekhov, Krushchev and Raisa Gorbachev

services inside a Russian Orthodox church

Moscow State University

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