Moscow Travel Blog› entry 3 of 17 › view all entries
We start our morning at the metro station nearby our hotel, determined what keeps going wrong when we count the number of stations we have to pass before we exit at the station we need to be at. But no matter how hard we think about it, and how long we keep staring at the different metro maps, both in Roman and in Cyrillic signs, we are still completely puzzled.
It’s our goal to have a look at different metro stations though, we don’t care how much trouble it will be to get there. Metro stations of Moscow are famous throughout the world because their halls and platforms look like underground palaces with chandeliers, statues and mosaics.
We want to start by going to the station Plosjtsjad Revoljoetsii, and against better judgement we count the number of stations we have to pass before reaching it.
We instantly alter are counting of stations and miraculously end up at the station Plosjtsjad Revoljoetsii as planned.
The central hall of metro station Plosjtsjad Revoljoetsii is full of life-size statues of ordinary Russian citizens, like farmers. They helped built the Soviet state and are being honoured by these bronze coloured images. The next station we visit (without making any mistakes, although it is still hard to find the right platform at large stations) is Majakovskaja. This place has ceilings with mosaics of airplanes and sport scenes.
Usually, in other major European capitals, metro stations tend to be filthy and stink of urine.
The next station we visit is the station Beloroesskaja.
Last stop on our metro tour is the station Kievskaja. It’s walls are full of mosaics that show the friendship of Russia with the Ukraine, country side images and portraits of the ever popular Lenin. No matter how capitalist the country may get, Lenin still appears to be a nationwide hero.
When we resurface from our underground tour, we are near the Red Square and walk to Ulitsa Varvarka, which claims to be the oldest street in Moscow.
One of the most prominent buildings, at Varvarka 6, is the Rossia Hotel. It is a monumental concrete block with 3200 rooms, built in the late sixties, and a perfect example of horrible socialist architecture. At Varvarka 4 is the English court, also known as the Old English Embassy. Originally this was a palace built for the wealthy merchant Bobrishchev around the 16thcentury, but not long after it was finished it was taken by Ivan the Terrible and given to a delegation of English merchants who arrived in 1553.
At Varvarka 8 we find the reason why we had wanted to come to this street, the Znamensky Monastery, a building that is inextricably linked to the Romanov family. I have read many books about the unfortunate last Romanov family, always intrigued by the fact that people had gotten so insane they felt the need to shoot children just because they were the son and daughters of a dictator. It is my first chance to get a true taste of their life, because before Mikhail I, the first Romanov Tsar, got to power, the Romanov family had long been prominent aristocrats.
We take the metro (which is getting easier by the minute now that we are not bothered by that closed station) and arrive at Ulitsa Arbat, the modern shopping area of Moscow. I don’t know why exactly, but I always enjoy strolling through popular shopping streets in major cities. It interests me what local people enjoy to buy in clothing, household items, food and knickknacks. Ulitsa Arbat is a very broad pedestrian only street, with uninviting shops on either side and souvenir stalls in the centre.
When a hefty rain shower breaks loose, we end up finding shelter in the Hard Rock Café. Later that evening we have dinner in the nearby Vostochny Kvartal, an Uzbek restaurant that is not just very atmospheric, it has great food for an excellent price as well.