Exploring the Kremlin and the Moscow Metro
Moscow Travel Blog› entry 130 of 136 › view all entries
One sad fact about Moscow was that most of the places I visited did not allow photographs of the interiors or else charged extortionate extra fees in order to do so. And while in some cases I could have tried to sneak a few surreptitious photographs, I really didn't need to get in trouble with the Moscow police so near to the end of my journey. So in terms of photos you will need to be satisfied with a small selection of exterior views. But overall there are some amazing locations to visit in Moscow and I only scratched the surface. For example some of the locations I did not make it to - the Gulag Museum, the Cold War Museum (located 18 stories below ground), the Tretyakov Gallery (old), the Vodka Museum, the State History Museum, Gorky Park, and countless small churches, cathedrals, museums, and galleries.
But enough of what I didn't see, I still experienced a great deal of Moscow in the few days that I was here.
This morning our first task was to hit up Lenin's Mausoleum. Now I'm not sure if everyone in Moscow has already seen Comrade Lenin or he is not as popular as he once was but we arrived at the queue about 30 minutes before the mausoleum opened in the morning and we were probably the 4th group in line. The line did not get extensively longer in the intervening half hour either and most of the people appeared to be tourists as opposed to Muscovites or Russians from other areas. Eventually we were allowed to proceed up to the mausoleum. As we walked up we passed through a metal detector and then on to the mausoleum. As you enter the Mausoleum, a series of soldiers admonish you to keep moving and be quiet (one's job seemed to be to say "Shush" every 30 seconds as the line moved around the final corner).
Outside the Mausoleum itself and along the Kremlin Wall are grave sites for other heroes of Russia. Among the more recognizable were Josef Stalin and Yuri Gagarin and some of the Soviet Premiers that I recognized. But more often than not I didn't recognize the names.
After the Mausoleum it was a quick walk over to the Troitskaya Tower to get admission to the Moscow Kremlin. Dropped off our larger bags at the bag check, got our tickets and headed in to the famed Kremlin. Definitely a little bit of a surreal experience after growing up as a child of the Cold War. But it turns out there is so much history in here in addition to the political apparatus of the Russian state.
There are three main cathedrals in the Kremlin. The Cathedral of the Assumption was built in the late 1400's and the coronation of many Russian czars were held in this cathedral (even after the capital was moved to St. Petersburg). The Cathedral of the Annunciation was the private church of the czars. Weddings, baptisms, and other services were typically held at this cathedral. And finally the Cathedral of the Archangel, the youngest of the three constructed in the early 1500's. This is the cathedral that is the final resting place of the early czars.
I was able to go inside the Archangel and Assumption Cathedrals, but the Annunciation Cathedral was closed for renovation.
There were some smaller sights that we saw on the Kremlin grounds and while I could have bought additional tickets to see the Armory and/or Arsenal museums on the Kremlin grounds, I did not choose to do so. So we exited the Kremlin around noon and a few of us headed to get some lunch. We hit up on one of the Teremok stands around Red Square. This is Russia's answer to fast food. Got some quick and relatively cheap blini for lunch which was actually quite tasty. Would love if these came over to the US like McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Sbarro could be found in Moscow.
After lunch I decided to strike off on my own for a while and ride the Moscow Metro. I didn't have a destination in mind instead I rode with the goal of checking out the plethora of stations that are a work of art in and of themselves. The Metro is often deep under the city streets and the stations are incredible works of art in and of themselves. Again photos were not allowed so I'll point here if you want to see some images taken from some of the stations I visited - http://www.beeflowers.com/moscowmetro/index.htm (and some I did not visit as I could not hope to get to them all). Eventually I found myself back at Red Square after a few hours wandering around beneath Moscow's streets. Decided to check out the GUM department store, although it was much too expensive for my tastes to buy anything there. Dinner and a bit more wandering about in the center of Moscow before I decided to call it an early night and head back up Tverskaya to our rooms. All in all an interesting day in Moscow.