Posted by: Alex | June 25, 2015

Red Square & the Kremlin: Moscow’s Wonders

For Russian tourism, Moscow may play second fiddle to St. Petersburg, but Moscow boasts two world-class attractions sitting side-by-side: Red Square and the Kremlin.

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Red Square is among the most visually impressive city squares I’ve seen, with architectural gems on all sides. (Accordingly, this post will consist mainly of pretty pictures!)

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In addition to visiting during the day to see the attractions, a stroll through Red Square at night is obligatory to see the buildings lit up.

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Lenin’s Mausoleum

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The Mausoleum at night, with the red walls and palaces of the Kremlin in the background. (Red Square is actually so-named because the Russian word for red used to mean beautiful, apparently. But that doesn’t negate the fact that much of the scenery in Red Square is, in fact, red.)

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The incredible spires and walls of the Kremlin.

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The Kremlin’s east wall lit up at night. The guards here are serious: a guy had jumped the rope to get a picture in front of the Kremlin and, after hearing the blearing of whistles, walked briskly away. The guards pursued the guy and gave him a stern talking-to.

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And there it is: the glorious St. Basil’s Cathedral, one of the most iconic buildings in the world.

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Stunning day and night, and from every angle.

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Alongside Lenin’s Mausoleum, a number of important Soviet figures, including Stalin, are buried.

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Russia’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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Flanking the Tomb is a monument for each of Russia’s Hero Cities of World War II. To the left, the Crimean city of Sebastapol; to the right, Odessa.

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Once you’ve soaked in the (free) beauty of Red Square, you’ve gotta battle the crowds and pay the (rather reasonable) fee to get into the Kremlin.

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The red-walled Kremlin is a lot of things to Russia. It’s it Russia’s national capital, presidential residence, historical religious epicenter, and maintains a noteworthy chunk of the country’s historic artifacts.

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Munitions inside the Kremlin

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The Soviet-era Palace of Congresses, a massive building for government meetings in the Soviet days, which has since hosted performances for the likes of Mariah Carey!

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There’s definitely a clear protocol for visitors to the Kremlin. You walk exactly where they tell you to walk; step outside the boundaries, and a shrill whistle will goad you back in line.

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Larger than life!

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The Tsar Bell, replete with bizarre history. It’s almost 300 years old, and the largest bell in the world. It weighs about 220 tons. When Napoleon occupied Moscow in the early 1800s, he wanted to plunder the bell; but how in the heck would you move the bell 200 years ago?! On its original casting, the bell was threatened by fire right as it was being cooled; workers dumped water on it, causing a large piece to crack off. It was even used as a chapel at one point.

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The Kremlin’s fabulous gardens.

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Cathedral Square is the Kremlin’s main tourist spot.

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The Square hosts four major Orthodox cathedrals, each serving a distinct historical purpose: one for royal coronations, one for burials, one for prayer, and one for the storage of icons.

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Following the dutifully-enforced Russian tradition, however, no photos are allowed inside, leaving me only with photos of the square itself. A striking place, to be sure.

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Nobody could complain for a lack of gold domes!

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Alas, in a manner that reminiscences Topkapi Palace, a swarm of bodies floods each church entrance like it’s a Transnistrian beehive!

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Responses

  1. Wonderful photos and comments! Please add olagrp@bellsouth.net to the regular postings.
    Momomom

  2. […] In my Introduction to Moscow post, I admitted that I had wondered if there was much more to do in the Russian capital than see Red Square and the Kremlin. […]


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