From Russia With Love. Red Square, Moscow.

Red Square, MoscowWe arrived into Moscow on the 003 overnight train from St Petersburg. We had shared our  4 berth kupe with a friendly Russian lady who could speak a little bit of English. In the morning the Provodnitsa woke us and offered hot drinks and a sandwich to accompany the little box of breakfast treasure that had greeted us the night before, we were wondering what the mustard and mayonnaise was for! The train pulled into Moscow at 8 am and we didn’t fancy rush hour on the Mockba Metro so we sat it out in the train station reading for an hour to let it ease.

Rather than a hostel, I’d booked us into the Ibis hotel for some generic comfort. They had a special weekend rate which made it quite affordable, Moscow is one expensive city!

The Kremlin, Moscow

On Saturdays at noon {Mid May to Mid October} the Presidential Regiment perform a ceremonial procession in Sobornaya Place {Cathedral Square} inside the Kremlin. So we chose this time to visit the red-walled citadel, seat of the Russian government.

The Kremlin is entered through the imposing Trinity Gate Tower, you pass the Arsenal with its line of cannons before arriving into the central square around which stand the Kremlin’s four main cathedrals.

The parade started before twelve, the crowds had gathered around the perimeter of the square, behind barriers. A military band came out first and entertained us with some rousing, infectious music. The cavalry lead the procession into the square with much pomp and splendour.

There was plenty of goose-stepping, gun ‘dancing’ and formation marching. I almost jumped out of my skin when the guns were fired! The cavalry also did some impressive formation moves, the horses were splendid.

Kremlin Military Parade

After the parade, we were chilled to the bone, there was an icy breeze. We sought warmth inside the cathedrals, they were all very interesting and beautiful. The Archangel cathedral housed the tombs of princes and emperors from the 1300s, these included Ivan the Terrible but his tomb was behind the wooden screen. Each of the cathedrals was highly decorated with colourful painted walls.

We had a brief walk through the little Kremlin park before admiring the Tsar Bell, the largest bell in the world, although never rung.

Once out of the Kremlin there is a shopping mall with a food court opposite the Trinity Tower Gate where there are plenty of food choices. We even bumped into Trent off the Vilnius to St Petersburg train in there, which was rather a wonderful surprise!

After lunch we walked round to the completely iconic Red Square. On the right of the square is the red, crenelated wall of the Kremlin, to the left is the glamorous Gum department store {more of an airy shopping mall} and at the far end the instantly recognisable St Basil’s Cathedral. Sitting below the Kremlin wall is the brooding cubic pyramid that is Lenin’s Mausoleum.

Red Square, Moscow

As you get closer to St Basil’s, also known as the Church of The Saviour, the crazy colours and patterns of its domes become more apparent. Frivolous, saturated colour and ice-cream swirls. Inside the pattern is much more organic, the walls are decorated with a simple flower pattern. The cathedral is actually a number of tiny chapels, St Basil’s being one of them. The chapels are linked with dark, arched corridors and narrow spiral staircases.

St Basil's, Moscow

 

It was thrilling to be standing in Red Square, one of those brilliant travel moments when you can’t quite believe that you are really there! It thoroughly lived up to my expectations. Another day in Moscow post to come soon!

Moscow

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By Rachel Davis

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4 responses to “From Russia With Love. Red Square, Moscow.

  1. Wow, I’m SO EXCITED for you! Kremlin and Red Square, places I’ve always dreamed about but only seen on TV and movies so far. I love that pic of you in front of St Basil’s, what a moment! So what is your impression of Russian people so far? Friendly? Helpful? How is life in Russia, are people doing well there?

    • I was wowed to be in front of it! Such an iconic place! We really enjoyed Russia, it was pretty easy to be a vegetarian and we met so lovely Russian people. Many drunk ones too! The people we met on the trains were all very nice, one lady even made my bed for me!
      The only downside is that they wear so much fur! Poor furry animals :(

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