I am completely exhausted both mentally and physically. My dear friend Andrei picked me up this morning for a day of sightseeing in Moscow. Reuniting after 25 years the day was full of laughter and great conversation. I have taken so much in, I do not know where to begin to start this story. Andrei is like a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and we covered so much of the city.
First we visited The Kremlin, Red Square, saw Ivan the Terrible’s Tomb and visited a French exhibition of relics from 1200’s.
First impressions. I have never seen so many theaters, churches or Land Rovers in my life. The architecture is incredible, we saw a monastery from the 1200’s and in Moscow City you could see extreme wealth with the buildings in progress.
I did not expect to see buildings with such an Italian influence. “The Kremlin’s Dormition Cathedral was built by Bolognese architect Aristotel Fioravanti. Having built up a prestigious and powerful state, Prince Ivan III decided to decorate his city with new buildings to reflect its grandeur. He wanted the most beautiful buildings, the latest designs and the most cutting-edge technology. So the prince sent his servants to Italy to hire the best architects of the Renaissance era to design buildings for the Kremlin complex in the center of Moscow.” euronews.com According to legend, Ivan the Terrible blinded Postnik Yakovlev, architect of Saint Basil’s Cathedral, so that he could never build anything so beautiful again.
Public works in the city take pristine care of the streets in the parts I toured today, I hardly saw any trash on the ground over the kilometers we covered. The only dirt I really saw was on the cars. I was amazed to see so many Porsche’s and Ferrari’s that needed a good car wash.
To cross major streets, for example, Pushkin Square you can walk underground where there are little shops and vending machines. The square is named after Alexander Pushkin a Muscovite, playwright and poet who published his first poem at the age of fifteen. He is said to be the founder of Russian Literature.
Aside from the historical sites, street musicians play the balalaika (Russian instrument that looks like a large, triangular guitar/ also a “slang” word for epic failure) and seeing a portion of the the Moscow version of the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, I loved strolling Old Arbat Street.
This area was a tad reminiscent of Downtown Crossing as it was closed off to cars filled with variety of shops, Starbucks, Sponge Bob Cafe for kids, American Diners, more restaurants and public art. The part loved so much about this area was the public photography exhibit. Photos were enlarged and reproduced from around the country. From what I gathered the exhibit was produced by photographers of all skill levels and the photos were selected by a contest.
While I am sure this post needs editing .. I wanted to get some of my first impressions up on the site. My photos on my camera are endless but here are a few from my iPhone. Today was unforgettable. Also love that I can watch Euronews and just discovered the channel Russia Today.