My travels to Russia in 2014 – part 4
Today was my last day in Moscow before travelling to Saint Petersburg.
I decided to visit the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
It is on the northern bank of the Moskva River, a few blocks southwest of the Kremlin.
With a height of 103 metres (338 ft), it is the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world.
The orginal cathedral was destroyed in 1931 during the Communist rule of Stalin. The demolition was supposed to make way for a colossal Palace of the Soviets that was never built. In the 1990’s the catheral was reconstructed.
The construction of the Palace of Soviets was interrupted owing to a lack of funds and the outbreak of WW2. The flooded foundation hole remained on the site it was transformed into the world’s largest open air swimming pool, named Moskva Pool. The pool remained until 1995.
The cathedral was scene of the provocative guerrilla performance of the feminist Pussy Riots rock protest group leading to their arrest and international fame.
The first Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who died of heart failure in 2007, lay in state in the cathedral prior to his burial in Novodevichy Cemetery.
In the gardens to the side of the cathedral is the monumental statue of Alexander II. The Monument to Alexander II, officially called the Monument to Emperor Alexander II, the Liberator Tsar, is a memorial of Emperor Alexander II of Russia.
This is the second monument to Alexander II and was completed in 2005. The sight of Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the monument was chosen in part because Alexander helped lay the foundation for the original Christ the Saviour Cathedral.
The first monument to Alexander II stood above the Kremlin’s Taynitsky Gardens and was built in 1898 but was destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
An attraction that is becoming popular with tourists is the Moscow Metro. The first line was opened in 1935.
It is popular because of the architectural design consisting of reflective marble walls, high ceilings and grandiose chandeliers.
Many symbols of communist ideology are on display such as statues illustrating images of war and victory.
The metro also has very long escalators as this clip shows:
It appeared that I had spent much of my trip to Moscow on these escalators. Mind these people in Iraq have never seen a escalator before and have no ideal how to ride one!
My last scheduled meeting with president Putin was to take place this afternoon before I travelled to Saint Petersburg for a wee city break.
At the peace talks I was offered a deal by president Putin to exchange the Crimea for the Scottish Shetland islands. After careful consideration, I accepted this proposal as this would led to peace in the Crimea and Ukraine region.
So after signing the paperwork, the Shetlands is now officially part of the Russia federation and the Crimea is now part of Scotland. Peace in our time….
After the peace talks, I went for a riverside walk in Gorky park.
During the Soviet-era Gorky Park used to host an amusement park with fun fairs and rides. Over the years the rides became decrepit, and the park was swamped with cheap attractions and cafes. In 2011 the Gorky Park underwent a major reconstruction.
One of the bizarre sights in Gorky park is a Buran space shuttle prototype, which never flew to space.
After my walk I went for a city walk to see one of the Seven Sisters. The Seven Sisters are a group of seven skyscrapers in Moscow designed in the Stalinist style.
They were built from 1947 to 1953.
It was getting late. Tomorrow I was to fly to Saint Petersburg.
To be continued….
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