From Piazza della Repubblica to Villa Borghese:
Highlights: Fontana delle Naiadi, Santa Maria degli Angeli, Museo Nazionale Romano, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Santa Susanna, Quattro Fontane, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, Piazza del Quirinale, Palazzo Barberini, Piazza Barberini, Via Veneto, Santa Maria della Concezione, Porta Pinciana, Parco della Villa Borghese, Museo e Galleria Borghese, Piazza Bucarest, Belle Arti, Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia.
Start: Repubblica Metro station. Be careful crossing the street in this area.
End: Piazza del Popolo / Piazza Villa Giulia.
Weather: The park of Villa Borghese deserves nice weather. Otherwise - any weather is good.
Piazza della Repubblica is next to the Termini station. Piazza della Repubblica, once called piazza dell'Esedra (a name still in use by many elderly people), is one of Rome's busiest spots, a wide crossing located very close to Rome's central train station, former site of the huge Baths of Diocletian, whose surviving exedra gave the place its old name. This piazza is not a tourist attraction but still worth of visiting. The fountain is quite famous, and there are some nice restaurants around this area. You can easily get connected to other part of the city from the Metro station. From the square starts one of the main streets of Rome, Via Nazionale. The porticos around the piazza, built in 1887–98 were in memory of the ancient buildings on the same sites, while the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri on the piazza is based on a wing of the baths of Diocletian (with its architect Michelangelo). Be there early in the morning or end your day here, get something to drink and sit where the fountain is and just enjoy the view and the noise of the water:
Fountain of the Naiads: The fountain in this square was originally connected to the aqua Marcia aqueduct and commissioned in this site by Pope Pius IX in 1870. Completed in 1888, it originally showed four chalk lions designed by Alessandro Guerrieri. These were then replaced in 1901 with sculptures of Naiads by Mario Rutelli from Palermo. The Naiads represented by 4 Nymphs: the Nymph of the Lakes (recognisable by the swan she holds), the Nymph of the Rivers (stretched out on a monster of the rivers), the Nymph of the Oceans (riding a horse symbolising of the sea), and the Nymph of the Underground Waters (leaning over a mysterious dragon). In the centre is Rutelli's group (1911/12), symbolizing the dominance of the man over natural force and replacing a previous sculpture:
There is very nice Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (Saint Mary of the Angels and Martyrs) here in one side of the Piazza, made of red/yellow bricks. In 1911 the facade of the Basilica was returned to the original brick structure so that it would be more in keeping with the interior of the ancient Baths.
On 28 February 2006 the 2 old wooden doors were replaced by 2 bronze ones by the Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj. This was his final work and is considered one of the most important pieces of sculpture of recent decades. Overlooking the Esedra Square the door to the right, with it's back to the fountain depicts the Mystery of the Annunciation by the Angel to the Virgin Mary: the Angel is on high on the left panel with the Virgin Mary listening down below on the right panel. The door on the left portrays the Resurrection: the left panel depicting the Risen Christ who is represented by the figure of a man with a Cross engraved on his body, symbolising Christ's sharing in us:
The basilica is dedicated to the Christian martyrs, known and unknown. By a brief dated 27 July 1561, Pope Pius IV ordered the church "built", to be dedicated to the Most Blessed Virgin and all the Angels and Martyrs.
It was also a personal monument of Pope Pius IV, whose tomb is in the apsidal tribune that culminates the series of spaces. Michelangelo worked from 1563 to 1564 to adapt a section of the remaining structure of the baths to enclose a church. At Santa Maria degli Angeli, Michelangelo achieved an unexampled sequence of shaped architectural spaces with few precedents or followers. There is no true facade; the simple entrance is set within one of the coved apses of a main space of the baths. The great vaulted transept gives a striking display of the magnificent scale of Roman constructions, 91 meters long, Michelangelo made the transept 27 meters wide, thus providing vast cubical spaces at each end of the transept. Santa Maria degli Angeli was the official state church during the Kingdom of Italy (1870-1946). More recently, national burials have been held in the church. The church hosts the tombs of General Armando Diaz and Admiral Paolo Thaon di Revel, who were the commanders responsible for winning World War I on the Italian front.Also today the Basilica is used for many ceremonies, included the funeral of soldiers killed abroad. The walls of this enormous building arise from waters heated by a sophisticated system which uses the heat from the rays of the sun and underground passages to enable the flow of water. The passageways are made from bricks which retain heat. The imposing presence of the baths can still be seen through the eight original rose pillars of granite. They measure 14m in height and are more than one and a half metres in diameter. You can easily spend hours here. But you can also get a sense of it in ten minutes:
The Chapel of San Bruno now houses the great mechanical organ of Formentelli from the Millenium Jubilee. It was a gift to Pope John Paul II from the city of Rome . The organ has an impressive 77 ranges, 3 attachments, a total of 5400 pipes, 4 keyboards and pedals:
The Chapels which focus on the theological themes of the crucifixion of Christ, His death and His resurrection and His appearance to Mary Magdalene are surrounded by funereal monuments made in the style of Michelangelo. They are of important artistic and ecclesiastical figures who serve to remind us of the immortality of life, of the arts and of the act of charity:
The Meridian Line in Santa Maria degli Angeli is a combination of science and faith. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Pope Clement XI commissioned the astronomer, mathematician, archaeologist, historian and philosopher Francesco Bianchini to build a meridian line, a sort of sundial, within the basilica and it was completed in 1702. The meridian line was restored in 2002 for the 300 years anniversary of its construction, and it is still operational today. From around 10:54 AM in late October to 11.24 AM February - the sun shines through a small hole in the wall to cast its light on this line each day. The ray of light moves slowly along pursuing the path of the sun. It follows the long straight line which cuts through 44m of the floor of the Basilica. After overlapping the line briefly it passes over and begins to slowly move away. The projection of light announces the arrival of midday. Try to go on a sunny day when you can see it in action:
The Polish-born sculptor Igor Mitoraj (who created the new bronze doors) made as well as a statue of John the Baptist for the basilica:
In April 2010, a five metres high bronze statue of Galileo Galilei Divine Man (designed by 1957 Nobel laureate Tsung-Dao Lee) was unveiled in a courtyard within the complex. The statue was a donation from China Center of Advanced Science and Technology and World Federation of Scientists:
The Museo Nazionale Romano houses one of the most important collections in the world of ancient Greek and Roman art. Open every day from 9.00 to 19.45.Last admission at 19.00. Closed Mondays (except Easter Monday and during the "Culture Week"), 25 December, 1 January.
Tickets: Single ticket valid for 3 days at 4 sites (Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, Crypta Balbi, Baths of Diocletian - where we are now) - Full price: € 7.00, Reduced price: € 3.50 for European Union citizens ages 18 to 24 and for European Union teachers. Free: Visitors 17 and under and European Union citizens over 65. Your ticket covers all four museums/buildings. The audio guide, which costs £5, is yours to enjoy but only for 2 hours! You will be fined £5 if you don't return it within 2 hours. The nicest thing about this museum is that all the exhibits have explanations in both Italian and English.
The collection is divided into 4 distinct buildings (Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, Crypta Balbi, Baths of Diocletian). Two of them are near Piazza della Repubblica.
The most ancient part of the collection is housed in the Terme di Diocleziano (Via E. de Nicola 78) complex (where Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri stands) - in its most eastern edge. Turn RIGHT from the front of the Basilica and walk along the iron bench. Original seat of the Museo Nazionale Romano (National Roman Museum) since its institution in 1889, the Baths and the Charterhouse are currently undergoing a restoration process that has thus far permitted the reopening of a part of the monumental complex and of the two sections of such a composite museum, the Section of Proto-history of the Latin Peoples and the Epigraphic Section, this one pertaining to Written Communication in the Roman World. Arranged on the second floor of Michelangelo’s Cloister, the Protohistoric Section of the National Roman Museum collects the archaeological testimonies of the most ancient stages of the culture emerged all over ancient Latium in the Late Protohistory from 11th-10th centuries to the early 6th century BCE (end of the Bronze Age, Early Iron Age and Orientalizing period). The Roman National Museum boasts one of the most important and rich epigraphic collection of the world with a holding of some 10.000 inscriptions. Note: Aula Ottagona is currently closed.
Armor and weapons found in a 5th century BC tomb:
Christ as the Good Shepherd an AD 4th century marble engraving:
The courtyard of the branch of the Museum housed at the Baths of Diocletian:
The second building of the Roman Museum is Palazzo Massimo - built in the 19th century (Largo di Villa Peretti 1). From the Piaza della Repubblica continue onto Via delle Terme di Diocleziano, 140 m. Via delle Terme di Diocleziano turns slightly left and becomes Largo Villa Peretti, 50 m. Turn right onto Piazza dei Cinquecento and the Palace is on the right. This nineteenth-century palace in Neo-Renaissance style, close to the Termini Train Station, houses one of the world's most important collections of Classical art. On the four floors of the museum, sculptures, frescoes and mosaics, coins and jewels document the evolution of the Roman artistic culture from the late Republican age through Late Antiquity (2nd c. BCE - 5th c. CE) along an exhibition path in which Ancient Roman history, myths and everyday life live anew. In the rooms of the ground floor are exhibited splendid Greek originals discovered in Rome such as the Boxer at Rest,
the Hellenistic Prince and the Dying Niobid from the Horti Sallustiani (Gardens of Sallust):
as well as portraiture of the Republican and Imperial ages, culminating in the statue of Augustus Pontifex Maximus (High Priest).
On the first floor are displayed celebrated masterpieces of statuary, among them being the Lancellotti Discobolus (Discus Thrower), the Maiden of Antium and the Hermaphroditus Asleep, as well as magnificent sarcophagi such as the Sarcophagus of Portonaccio, with a battle scene carved in high relief. On the second floor, frescoed walls and pavement mosaics document the domestic decor of prestigious Roman dwellings.
The basement houses the sizeable numismatic collection, besides grave ornaments, jewels and the Grottarossa Mummy:
We return to Piazza della Repubblica. We recommend using the restrooms in the Grand Hotel - in the north side of the square:
Behind the Grand Hotel we head north-west from the Repubblica Square onto Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando. Continue straight onto Piazza di San Bernardo, 7 m. Slight right onto Largo Santa Susanna (parking lot), 24 m and turn right onto Via xx Settembre to see, on your right the Moses Fountain. The fountain was installed on request of pope Sixtus V to mark the end of the Acqua Felice, an ancient aqueduct that had been restored in 1587 to provide the neighborhood with fresh water. The fountain is officially named Fontana dell'Acqua Felice, after the Pope, whose real name was Felice Peretti. The Fountain of Moses was built in 1587-1588 by Domenico Fontana, who designed a blind triumphal arch with three large niches. In the central niche stands a large statue of Moses, flanked on either side by reliefs depicting biblical scenes. In front of the large classical columns that frame the niches stand four water spouting lions. They are copies of Egyptian lion statues; the originals can be found in the Vatican Museums. The central figure of Moses lends its name to the monumental fountain. The imposing statue was created by Prospero Antichi. According to local lore the sculptor tried to measure up to Michelangelo, who created a statue of Moses in the nearby San Pietro in Vincoli church. But the sculptor made the mistake of not creating a model and he carved the statue out of a block of marble that was lying on the ground instead of standing upright. As a result its proportions where not correct. When the statue was revealed to the public it was ridiculed and Prospero Antichi is said to have committed suicide out of sorrow:
Aaron Leading the Israelis (hebrews) to Water of the Red Sea:
Gideon Leading his Israeli (hebrew) people across the River Jordan:
Immediately behind the Fountain, still in Via XX Settembre - we see the Santa Maria della Vittoria church (Our Lady of Victory) (Via XX Settembre 98). Open: Mornings - 07.00 - 12.00, afternoons - 15.30 - 19.00. It stands to the side of the Fontana dell'Acqua Felice (Moses Fountain). And the church mirrors the Church of Santa Susanna across the Largo (with your face to the Santa Maria della Vittoria church - on your left, WEST). The church is the only structure designed and completed by the early Baroque architect Carlo Maderno, though the interior suffered a fire in 1833 and required restoration. Its façade, however, was erected by Giovanni Battista Soria during Maderno's lifetime, 1624–1626, showing the unmistakable influence of Maderno's Santa Susanna nearby:
The church itself is beautifully decorated in a Gothic style. It has very soft almost dim lighting and is well worth a visit. Its interior has a single wide nave under a low segmental vault, with three interconnecting side chapels behind arches separated by colossal corinthian pilasters. The interior was sequentially enriched after Maderno's death; its vault was frescoed in 1675 with triumphant themes: The Virgin Mary Triumphing over Heresy and Fall of the Rebel Angels executed by Giovanni Domenico Cerrini.
The church is known for the masterpiece of Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the Cornaro Chapel, the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. This sculpture, created in 1647–1652, depicts a vision of St. Theresa of Avila in which an angel pierced her heart and, in doing so, filled her with the love of God. Teresa has just been stabbed with God's arrow of fire. The angel pulls out the arrow and watches her reaction.It is considered to be almost pornographic:
Another sculpture: The Dream of Joseph (left transept) by Domenico Guidi:
Saint Vittoria, Virgin and Martyr:
The main altar area is stunning:
The Ceiling is spectacular:
The church of Santa Susanna stands WEST to the Santa Maria della Vittoria church. As for Spring 2014 - it is temporarily closed. Santa Susanna English-Language Library is OPEN, though the Church is closed. This is the only English speaking church in Rome.
We walk in Via XX Settembre in the SOUTH-WEST direction (with our face to santa Susanna) we continue walking in Via XX Settembre to the LEFT. Walk along Via XX Settembre and apss 5 roads on your right until you arrive to Piazza di san Bernardo. Cross the Piazza and continue walking along XX Settembre, apssing Via Firenze on your left - until you arrive to the cross-road with Quattro Fontane. On the four corners of this intersection stand four fountains. They are a bit dirty and don't get the attention of other attractions. They are still lovely to admire once you get past the graffiti and dirt. Be careful: no sidewalks around 2 of them and the The local traffic doesn't slow down. They were commissioned by Pope Sixtus V and built at the direction of Muzio Mattei in the late 1500's. The figures of the four fountains represent the River Tiber (the symbol of Rome); the River Arno the symbol of Florence; the Goddess Diana; the symbol of Chastity; and the Goddess Juno, the symbol of Strength. The fountains of the Arno, Tiber, and Juno are the work of Domenico Fontana. The fountain of Diana was designed by the painter and architect Pietro da Cortona:
Via XX Settembre changes its name to Via del Quirinale - beyond Via delle Quattro Fontane. We continue walking south-east along Via del Quirinale and after 2-3 minutes of walk, on our LEFT, we see the St Carlino of Four Fountains Church (Via del Quirinale, 23). The Church of Saint Charles at the Four Fountains (Italian: Chiesa di San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane also called San Carlino) is a Roman Catholic church in Rome, Italy. The church was designed by the architect Francesco Borromini and it was his first independent commission. It is an iconic masterpiece of Baroque architecture, built as part of a complex of monastic buildings on the Quirinal Hill for the Spanish Trinitarians, an order dedicated to the freeing of Christian slaves.
In a small room off the sacristy there is, over the door, an anonymous 18th century portrait of Francesco Borromini with the following inscription: "Knight Francesco Borromini of Como, illustrious architect of this church and convent of St. Charles at the Four Fountains, and outstanding benefactor, died in Rome 1667."
With the exception of Innocent X (1644-1655), Borromini was not favoured by the popes of his day. He often worked for the religious orders, and his buildings reflect the self-denying life of the monks rather than the grandiosity of the papal church. Borromini is said to have had a difficult, introverted personality, and his pathological melancholy increased with the years. He became more and more isolated, full of doubts and uncertainties, avoiding all contact with other people and burying himself in his work. In the summer of 1667 he came down with stomach trouble. One day he collected together all the drawings which he had guarded so jealously throughout his working life, and burned them to prevent them from falling into the hands of his adversaries and rivals. A few days later he suffered an acute nervous crisis, and after a mild dispute with his servant his despair grew so violent that he threw himself on his sword. He survived for a day, and after receiving absolution from his confessor he died on 3 August 1667.
We continue walking in Via del Quirinale, leaving behind us the St Carlino of Four Fountains Church. Immediately following this church is a garden - Giardino di ant'Andrea al Quirinale. Beyond the garden (on the opposite side of the street, ON YOUR LEFT) there is another church: Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, Via del Quirinale, 29, built for of the Jesuit seminary on the Quirinal Hill. The church of Sant'Andrea, an important example of Roman Baroque architecture, was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Borromini friend and rival) with Giovanni de'Rossi. Bernini considered the church one of his most perfect works; his son, Domenico, recalled that in his later years, Bernini spent hours sitting inside it, appreciating what he had achieved.
The high altar niche is well lit from a hidden source and becomes the main visual focus of the lower part of the interior:
Two minutes walk further along Via del Quirinale and we arrive to the Piazza del Quirinale. The Piazza del Quirinale and the Palazzo del Quirinale sit atop Quirinal Hill, the highest of the seven hills of Rome. From this highest point in the city you have a splendid view towards the Saint Peter's Basilica.
Aside from the view, however, there are several things to be seen around the square, which boasts buildings on three sides and a clear view of the city down below from the fourth side.
Obelisk and Fountain of Castor and Pollux:
The first structure in the piazza that usually catches the eye is the huge obelisk with fountain that sits in the middle. This is known as the Dioscuri Fountain and features 5.5-meter-tall sculptures of Castor and Pollux as horse tamers. These statues - Roman replicas of Greek originals from the fifth century BC - once stood at the entrance of the baths of Constantine. The 14-meter-tall central obelisk once held a place of honor at the entrance to the mausoleum of Augustus. The statues were placed here in 1588 by pope Sixtus V. The obelisk was added in 1786 and the fountain's granite basin was added in 1818. The basin was designed by Rafael Stern who used an ancient Roman shell that once stood at the Roman Forum where it was used as a trough.
At the perimeter of the piazza is the Palazzo del Quirinale, the residence of the president of Italy. In 1583, Pope Gregory XIII had the Palazzo del Quirinal built for use as a papal summer residence. It became the official royal residence after the unification of Italy in 1870 and later the presidential residence. The facade visitors can see from the piazza was designed by Domenico Fontana and the Great Chapel of the palace was crafted by Carlo Maderno.
Entrance to Palazzo del Quirinale:
Sentry at Palazzo del Quirinale:
Inside Palazzo de Quirinale:
Adjacent to the president's palace is the Palazzo della Consulta, built by Ferdinando Fuga in 1734 for pope Clement XII and the Papal court. This ornately decorated palace is now occupied by the Corte Costituzionale, the Italian Supreme Court.
We head, now, to Palazzo Barberini by tracing back our steps. Head BACK northeast on Via del Quirinale (210 m) and turn LEFT (north-west) onto Via delle Quattro Fontane. Walk for 2 minutes and you'll see, on your right the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica or Palazzo Barberini (Via delle Quattro Fontane 13). A fine collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings in a palace designed by Bernini with the assistance of Borromini and decorated by Pietro da Cortona. Palazzo Barberini houses the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, National Gallery of Ancient Art. Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, from 8.30 to 19.00. Full price € 7,00, Reduced € 3,50. Note: You have to pay for bag storage so travel light. Another note: the gardens and the staircases - are FREE. For Euro 7 it's a reasonable price for what they have and Rome museums nowadays: Seven euro admission fee is bargain for masterpieces from Caravaggio ("Judith and Holofernes"),("Narcissus"), Rafael ("La Fornarina"), Canaletto, a huge fresco on the ceiling by Cortona (could take hours to admire). More Bernini and Caravaggios than Borghese - and you can stay as long as you like, much cheaper, more magnificent building. The Galleria is also home to some lesser known but stunning Holbeins (great Henry VIII portrait!), Raffaellos, Tintorettos, and Tizianos. The museum is climate-controlled, beautifully lit and has truly excellent interpretation labels in Italian and English. DO NOT MISS the Bernini stair (the "Scala Grande") which you can walk up and down and the Borromini stair (circular; accessible for just a short stretch) at the other end of the building. NO PICTURES ALLOWED into the two museum apartments.
Façade: view from the left wing:
Famous sculpture in Palazzo Barberini entrance grounds:
Raphael's "La Fornarina" (the baker's daughter). In 1514, Raphael became engaged to Maria Bibbiena, the niece of Cardinal Medici Bibbiena who was Raphael’s patron. Raphael had to be persuaded into the engagement, and that he eventually agreed simply to please his benefactor the Cardinal. But Raphael’s loveless engagement to Maria may have been the longest in history. Raphael stalled, bedding other women for six long years, until Maria died in 1520, still unmarried. The woman who apparently won the heart and passionate desires of the playboy artist was of far lower social stature than the Cardinal’s niece. Whether or not Raphael was “a ladies’ man,” he did have one great love, Margherita Luti or La Fornarina, “the baker’s daughter”. Raphael was one of the first artists of the Italian Renaissance to consistently draw female figures from female models rather than the usual garzoni or young male assistants. Luti was likely not only Raphael’s mistress, but also his model, posing for many of the hundreds of his drawings that survive. Margherita’s seated pose in this painting is quite sensational, especially for the 16th century. Not only is she barely clothed, but notice that one hand is clasping her breast while the other is placed, um, between her legs...
Caravaggio - Narciso. This is one of only two known Caravaggios on a theme from Classical mythology, although this reflects the accidents of survival rather than the historical reality. The story of Narcissus, told by the poet Ovid in his Metamorphoses, is of a handsome youth who falls in love with his own reflection. Unable to tear himself away, he dies of his passion:
Caravaggio - Judith and Holofernes. The Book of Judith tells how Judith saved her people by seducing and killing Holofernes, the Assyrian general. Judith gets Holofernes drunk, then seizes his sword and decapitates him
Henri VIII by Hans HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger (b. 1497, Augsburg, d. 1543, London). This painting was one of a group of English portraits carried out by Holbein and his school. Though German, Holbein was court painter to King Henry VIII of England, and the prototype for this image is his lost mural that once decorated the Privy Chamber of Whitehall Palace in London. Carried out in 1537, that wall painting depicted the king with his third wife Jane Seymour, the only one of Henry's queens to bear him a male heir. Of the numerous paintings derived from that prototype, including a copy at Windsor Castle, this is without doubt the one of highest quality. The closest example to the prototype, on the other hand, is the portrait in the Thyssen collection in Madrid, which this version approaches especially in the rendering of the details of the collar. This Palazzo Barberini portrait depicts the king in the same costume that he wore for his April, 1540, wedding to Anne of Cleves:
"La Maddalena" by Piero di Cosimo:
Guido Cagnacci (1601–1663) - Maddalena svenuta:
Bronzino - Portrait of Stefano IV Colonna:
Reni - Portrait of Beatrice Cenci (!). Possibly by Elisabetta Sirani c. 1662
previously thought to be by Guido Reni. How comes ? The best known image of Beatrice is a popular portrait supposed to have been by Guido Reni. It is now thought to be by an artist of his circle, the daughter of his long time assistant, Elisabetta Sirani. Beatrice Cenci was – to take a sample of soundbites over the centuries – a ‘goddess of beauty’, a ‘fallen angel’, a ‘most pure damsel’. She was also a convicted murderer. This is a charismatic combination, not least here in Italy, and her name has lived on, especially in Rome, where she was born and where she was executed in 1599. The story as it comes down to us has the compactness of legend. It tells of a beautiful teenage girl who kills her brutal father to protect her virtue from his incestuous advances; who resists interrogation and torture with unswerving courage; and who goes to her execution unrepentant and borne along on a wave of popular sympathy. There have been many literary treatments of the story, the most famous of which is Shelley’s verse-drama, The Cenci, written in 1819. Other writers drawn to the subject include Stendhal, Dickens, Artaud and Alberto Moravia:
Taddeo Zuccari - Parnasus:
Original portrait of Erasmus by Flemish painter Quinten Metsys:
Pietro da Cortona Cieling:
Two stairs lead to the main apartment. The larger one was designed by Bernini, whereas Borromini was entrusted with the smaller one: this has an elliptic shape. The use of ellipses rather than circles is one of the elements which characterizes baroque versus Renaissance architecture. After taking in the facade, you can enter the building at its center. To the LEFT you'll see Bernini's lovely staircase and, to the RIGHT, one of Borromini's greatest achievements, an oval (helicoidal, actually--you'll have to look that up) staircase.
Bernini Grand Staircase:
(left) Main stairs by Bernini; (right) stairs by Borromini:
Italian garden and rear part of Palazzo Barberini:
Climbing the gentle center stairs offers access to what is known as a "gardino segreto"--a secret garden, hidden from public view. Like the staircases, the garden is accessible at no charge:
The Secret Garden:
Exiting Palazzo Barberini - we turn right (north-west) in Via delle Quattro Fontane. We walk (again, north-west) along this road until we arrive to Piazza Barberini. It was created in the 16th century but many of the surrounding buildings have subsequently been rebuilt. Today, the piazza is large crossroad for Rome's traffic and, since 1980, has accommodated a station on Line A of the Rome Metro, called Barberini – Fontana di Trevi. At the centre of the piazza is the Fontana del Tritone or Triton Fountain (1642–3) sculpted by Bernini.
Another fountain, the Fontana delle Api (1627–1629), also by Bernini is in the nearby Via Vittorio Veneto but it has been reconstructed somewhat arbitrarily following its removal from its previous position on the corner of a palace where the Piazza Barberini meets the Via Sistina.
We take the north exit of the Barberini square along Via Veneto road (where, actually, the Bees Fountain stands). On your right is the (off Piazza Barberini) church of S. Nicola da Tolentino which is decorated with the Pamphilj dove and Fleurs-de-Lis. Undoubtedly these symbols allow for a proper decoration of a church and by so doing lose their original identifying purpose of associating the Pamphilj name with the building. Inside this church the Pamphilj chapel has a very interesting family coat of arms by Alessandro Algardi which is shown next to the plate by Filippo Juvarra:
Immediately on your right, when you start climbing in Via Veneto is the Convento dei Cappuccin, Museum and Crypt of Capuchins, Via Vittorio Veneto 27. Admission: 6 euros. NO PHOTOS allowed. If you do not have your shoulders covered or legs above the knees, they avoid your entrance. Do not come with full stomach. Five rooms beautifully decorated by bones, skulls and entire bodies, some with the skin left.
Guido Reni - San Michele arcangelo:
we start climbing up in Via Veneto. It might be a little exhausting in a hot day - but the road is very shady. Via Veneto was renamed Via Vittorio Veneto after the battle which occurred near that town in November 1918 and which marked the end of WWI on the Italian front; the previous name however is still commonly used. Via Veneto is one of the most famous, elegant and expensive streets of Rome, Italy. Federico Fellini's classic 1960 film La Dolce Vita was mostly centered around the Via Veneto area. Some of Rome's most renowned cafés and five star hotels, like Café de Paris, Harry's Bar, Regina Hotel Baglioni, The Westin Excelsior, Rome as well known haunts for celebrities in Rome, are in Via Veneto.The Embassy of the United States, housed in Palazzo Margherita, is located along the avenue.
Harry's Bar in Via Veneto:
In the end of Via Veneto - you see the Porta Pinciana which is a gate of the Aurelian Walls in Rome. The gate was built under the emperor Honorius in the early 5th century, by adapting a previous smaller service entrance. The two side passages are a modern addition. The gate remained closed until the early 20th century.
With your face to the gate - walk 50 m. to the left (south-west) to enter the Villa Borghese gardens. The following photo points, exactly to the entrance point:
Villa Borghese is a large landscape garden in the well-known, English manner in Rome. Containing a number of buildings, museums, attractions and temptations. It is the third largest public park in Rome after the ones of the Villa Doria Pamphili and Villa Ada. The area started as a vineyard in the sixteenth century. In 1605 cardinal Scipione Borghese, a nephew of pope Paul V, turned the vineyard into a park. Landscaper Domenico Savino da Montepulciano designed a very formal park with geometric shapes, the first such park in Rome. A villa was built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio after a sketch from the cardinal himself. The park was later laid out in a more natural way. At the end of the eighteenth century an artificial lake was created in the middle of the park. On the island in the lake, a small Ionic temple was built. It is dedicated to Aesculapius, the god of healing. In 1903 the city of Rome obtained Villa Borghese from the Borghese family and opened the park to the public. The eighty hectare/148 acre-large park now featured wide shady lanes, several temples, beautiful fountains and many statues. In 1911 the World Exposition was held in this park. Several of the pavilions built by some of the participating countries still exist. The most impressive of these is the British School, built after a design by Edwin Lutyens (see below). Other buildings represented Austria, Denmark, Egypt and Sweden.
There are, at least, five famous Villas in the Borghese Gardens:
The Borghese Gardens include, also, the Zoo, recently redesigned, with minimal caging, as the Bioparco, and the Zoological Museum (Museo di Zoologia).
I guess that most of the visitors will prefer to stroll among the gardens, paths and ponds - enjoy their crisp, clean air and the refreshing sights around. An amazing park with wonderful sculptures and fountains, it truly is a place to let your mind rest in a busy city. It is a huge park with large walkways, natural settings, statues and a very leisurely place to visit. Like most of Rome it is a blend of picnickers, bicycles, scooters, Segways, golf-carts, and any other riding device known to man. Most people don't go into the gallery and don't feel they missed much. The majority go and see the softer side of the city here.
The English landscape garden:
Borghese Gardens - Piazzale dei Cavalli Marini (Square of the Marine Horses):
Via Leopoldo Lotrono, Largo Giovanni:
The Lake and the Temple of Asclepius:
There is restroom near Casina de Raffaello. The Casino Del Lago cafe, in the northwest part of the park, is a good place to enjoy a reasonably priced lunch in a very relaxing outdoor setting.
Villa Borghese had two "secret spaces": one, shrouded by trees, is the garden of bitter oranges (Giardino dei melangoli). The oranges are planted in pots, and at the time we were there, start of may, they were flooded by a sea of irises. Borghese Gardens were redesigned in the "English" style from the 18th into the 19th century, and clearly imitate an English landscape garden, in contrast to the baroque gardens immediately around the villa:
the second "secret garden" "The Flower Garden", is the beautifully laid out formal garden.
A third secret garden stretches in front of the Aviary, accompanied by the Meridiana (Sundial) mansion. This Baroque aviary or Vivarium was designed by Girolamo Rainaldi.
The Secret Gardens are not the only charming corners of Villa Borghese: the Valley of Plain Trees,
Piazza di Siena
and the Gardens of Muro Torto
as well as the Bio Park (Zoo), which was added later, make it a wonderful place to explore. Cost: €15 adults (€12 children). Hours: Jan–Mar, daily 09.30–17.00; Apr–Sept, weekdays 09.30–18.00, weekends 09.30–19.00; Oct, daily 09.30–18.00; Nov–Dec, daily 09.30–17.00. Very expensive. Adult - 37.50 euros, adult + child: 62.50 euros...
In the 1700s were built the fake Roman ruins of the Temple of Faustina,
the Temple of Diana,
and the Clock Building (Casino dell'Orologio) was set up:
Viale Pietro Canonica (here, you find the buses stations to get out from the park). Catch bus 116 or bus 61 to get off.
Dubbed the 'park of museums', the Villa Borghese park is also home to several museums. The most famous is the Museo e Galleria Borghese, housed in the Villa Borghese, the building after which the park is named. Ticket reservation needed (Tel. +39 06 32810). Open times:
Monday: closed. from Tuesday to Sunday: from 08.30 to 19.30.
Closed the 1st of January, 25th of December. Access up to half hour before the closing time.
It has a collection of sculptures with some important works by Canova and Bernini, including the latter's masterpiece 'Abduction of Proserpina by Pluto'. The Galleria Borghese also houses a collection of paintings from several masters including Titian, Rubens and Raphael. The two hours allowed for the visit are not enough to thoroughly appreciate the paintings and statues collected by the Borghese. Visits to the Galleria Borghese are by ticket only and should be booked in advance. A two hour time slot is allowed to visit the gallery and this is far of being perfect. It doesn't allow enough time to view and enjoy a stunning collection of paintings by some of the great masters - including several works by Caravaggio and sculptures by Bernini. It does not leave you feeling saturated, exhausted and overwhelmed by the end of the visit. The gallery is situated in the beautiful surroundings of the Villa Borghese
Entrance to Villa Borghese:
Apollo e Dafne (1622-25) - Gian Lorenzo Bernini:
From Forum Boarium to Gianicolo Hill and down to the Tiber river and the Vatican:
Start: Piazza della Bocca della Verità.
End: Ponte Principe Amadeo Savia Aosta (on the Tiber river) or the the Vatican, St. Peter square.
Duration: 3/4 - 1 day.
Distance: 8 - 9 km.
Orientation: In a hot day it might be strenuous to climb the Gianicolo Hill. Part of the experience in Gianicolo Hill is looking at the 270 degrees
panoramic view of Rome after every bend - while climbing the hill. So, I recommend climbing the hill on foot and NOT taking a bus or a cab. Gianicolo Park is quiet, peaceful and tourist free when compared to the centre of Rome. It's nice to come to Janiculum after you have seen some of the attractions up close because this place will give you an exciting all-inclusive perspective.
You can start with Gianicolo Hill in the morning but the sun (shining from the east) will be on your eyes - spoiling Rome views and your photos. Consider visiting the Janiculum hill during the afternoon hours and arriving the Vatican a bit after sunset. Go at sunset. This must be one of the most spectacular city views that one will ever find. At night, and it is safe to walk up the hill from Trastereve, it can be even better.
Preparations: It is 1 km. or 10-15 minutes walk from Piazza Venezia to Piazza della Bocca della Verità. Head southwest on Via di San Marco, turn left to stay on Via di San Marco, continue onto Via di San Venanzio, turn right to stay on Via di San Venanzio, continue onto Piazza D'Aracoeli, slight right onto Via del Teatro di Marcello for 300 m., slight left to stay on Via del Teatro di Marcello, continue onto Via Luigi Petroselli 150 m and continue onto Piazza della Bocca della Verità. Otherwise: take bus 44, 81,83, 170 or 716 (2-3 stops) from Piaza Venezia - down to Piazza della Bocca della Verità, Bocca della Verità.
The Forum Boarium is the ancient name to a compact area near the Tiber river, 1 km. down from Piazza Venezia - formally in the Aventino quarter. The Piazza della Bocca della Verità includes several attractions compacted in a very small area: The fountain, Temple of Hercules, Temple of Fortuna Virilis, church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Bocca della Verita and Palazzo Diaconale di Papa Niccolò I.
The Forum Boarium was the cattle forum venalium of Ancient Rome. It was located on a level piece of land near the Tiber between the Capitoline, the Palatine and Aventine hills. As the site of the premier port of Rome (Portus Tiberinus), the Forum Boarium experienced intense commercial activity. The Forum Boarium was the site of the first gladiatorial contest at Rome which took place in 264 BC as part of aristocratic funerary ritual for the dead. The site was also a religious center housing the Temple of Hercules Victor, the Temple of Portunus, and the massive 6th or 5th century BC Great Altar of Hercules.
The fountain, in the middle of Piazza della Bocca della Verità was commissioned by Pope Clement XI: it was designed by Carlo Francesco Bizzaccheri and its subject recalls Fontana del Tritone by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The basin has the shape of a star and the tritons support a shell with inside a mountain; a star and a mountain were the heraldic symbols of the pope, whose coat of arms was designed on both sides of the fountain:
The Temple of Hercules or Hercules Olivarius (Hercules as protector of the olive trade), is a circular peristyle building dating from the 2nd century BC. It consists of a colonnade of Corinthian columns arranged in a concentric ring around the cylindrical structure, resting on a tuff foundation. It is the earliest surviving marble building in Rome. For centuries, this was known as the Temple of Vesta:
The Temple of Portunus (north-west to the Temple of Hercules) is a rectangular building built between 100 and 80 BC. The four Ionic columns of the portico are free-standing, while the six columns on the long sides and four columns at the rear are engaged along the walls of the cella. This temple was for centuries known as the Temple of Fortuna Virilis:
Across the street (Piazza della Bocca della Verità) is the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin famous for its Bocca della Verità and with its bell tower. Open: Summer: daily 09.00-20.00, Off-season: daily 09.00-17.00. Restored to its early medieval appearance, the attractive facade has a porch with seven open arches and seven windows. Rising to the right is a tall, slender Romanesque bell-tower added in the 12th century. The church was built in the 8th century during the Byzantine Papacy over the remains of the Templum Herculis Pompeiani in the Forum Boarium. Since it was located near many Byzantine structures, in 7th century this church was called de Schola Graeca, and the street south to the square is still called della Greca. Greek monks escaping iconoclastic persecutions decorated the church around 782, when pope Adrian I promoted its reconstruction. Because of its beauty, the church received the adjective "cosmedin" (from Greek kosmidion), which means - ornament. A sacristy and an oratory dedicated to St. Nicholas were added in the 9th century, by order of Pope Nicholas I, who also built a papal residence. It was here, in Santa Maria in Cosmedin that Popes Gelasius II, Celestine III, and Antipope Benedict XIII were elected. After being acquired by Benedictines and a period of decay, in 1718 the church was brought up to a Baroque style, mainly expressed by a new façade, by Giuseppe Sardi in 1718. The Baroque additions, however, were removed in the restoration of 1894–1899 together with the coat-of-arms of Pope Clement XI. A scene from the 1953 romantic comedy movie Roman Holiday was filmed in Santa Maria in Cosmedin. In the scene, "Joe" played by Gregory Peck shocks the "Anya/Princess Ann" played by Audrey Hepburn by pretending to lose his hand in the Bocca della Verità. Penetrate through the crowds of teen-agers waiting to put their hands into the over-rated Bocca della Verita. Go inside this beautiful renaissance church with its landmark bell-tower, and enjoy the simple architecture of this very old building:
The current interior has a nave with two aisles: these are divided by four pilasters and eighteen ancient columns. It does not have the grandeur of many of the Rome Basilicas constructed in later centuries, but is well worth a visit with many significant historical connections.
Paintings from the 8th-12th centuries, in three layers, are preserved in the upper part of the nave and in the triumphal arch. The main altar is a red granite piece from 1123. In a side altar on the left of the church is kept the flower crowned skull of St Valentine:
Now, be careful not to be ripped off. Beneath the altar of the basilica is an 8th-century crypt. The "priest" will ask for a donation before permitting you to enter. I don't believe he is a priest. I think he is a pretender or, at least, it is a scam ! The crypt was built by Pope Hadrian I (772-95) to house the many relics he had taken from the catacombs. Shaped like a tiny basilica, it has three aisles divided by columns, a transept and an apse. The side walls have 16 round-headed niches with marble shelves to display the relics for pilgrims. The crypt was built by hallowing out the solid podium of the ancient Roman temple; thus the floor and ceiling are made of the podium's large tufa blocks. The crypt DOES NOT house nor Pope Hadrian I tomb, neither his relics:
Now, to the main attraction. In the entrance of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, on the left side, stands the Bocca della Verita, the Mouth of Truth. Everyone who goes to Rome wants to see this place, either for its worldwide reputation, either for taking the typical photo with the hand inside the Bocca della Verita. The problem: you have to pay 1€ to take one (and only one) photo, you can't repeat it even if the photo isn't good. Another possible problem: the queue, but try to go there around lunch time, when there are less people visiting. You can look through the fence or closed gate and see the stone and we could easily take pictures without having to wait in the line to put our hand in the Mouth. Do not take the risk. Supposedly, if you lie, your hand disappears !:
Palazzo Diaconale di Papa Niccolò I: On the right side of the church Pope Nicholas I (858-67) built a small palace which he used as a temporary residence; it was fortified with an external wall for fear of raids by the Saracens; later on it was converted into a small monastery and some of the rooms were assigned to the deacon of the church:
From Piazza della Bocca della Verità and the Forum Boarium we head to Trastevere via Ponte Palatino (Palatino Bridge) on the Tiber river. It is 400 m. (7-8 minutes walk) to the bridge. Exit the Piazza della Bocca della Verità from the north-west to Lungotevere dei Pierleoni (section of the the Tiber ring street), turn RIGHT onto this bustling road and walk northward approx. 350 m. Sharp left onto Ponte Palatino and cross it westward into Trastevere. You see also the Ponte Rotto (the broken bridge) (covered in our trip "From the Jewish Ghetto to Trastevere"). The Palatine Bridge, also known as the English Bridge (Ponte Inglese), is a bridge that connects the Lungotevere Aventino to the Lungotevere Ripa in the Trastevere district. It was constructed between the years 1886 and 1890 and is one of Rome’s longer bridges, albeit not one of the more picturesque ones. The Ponte Palatino was designed by Angelo Vescovali. It has a length of 155.5 meters and is 18.4 meters wide. The Ponte Palatino is just south of the Isola Tiberina. The Ponte Rotto (“Broken Bridge”) in Rome is the modern name of what used to be the ancient Ponte Trionfale. The Ponte Trionfale was constructed by Nero in order to connect the Circus of Nero (Circo di Nerone), then near what is now the Vatican, with what was at the time known as the Campo Marzio. The bridge was called Trionfale, because the Via Trionfale (which later became the Via Sacra) led across it. The Via Trionfale was called thus, because it was the street through which the soldiers marched back to Rome after yet another victory on the battlefield. The Ponte Rotto was destroyed in the 6th century as a defensive measure against the Ostrogoths. The ruins of the Ponte Rotto can sometimes be seen, but only during low tide.
We'll leave, now, the Tiber and walk into the heart of Trastevere. still in a part not covered in the Ghetto-Trestevere trip. Head west on Ponte Palatino toward Lungotevere degli Alberteschi, 140 m. Sharp LEFT onto Lungotevere degli Alberteschi, 17 m. Turn right onto Piazza Castellani, 10 m. Turn right onto Via della Lungaretta.Turn LEFT (SOUTH) and walk along the Via della Lungaretta until you arrive to Piaza Sidney Sonnino. The most immediate and intrusively apparent feature is the presence of Viale di Trastevere with its heavy traffic, tram lines and platforms, part of the late nineteenth century improvements to the functioning of the new national capital. The commercial developments from the 1930s on the eastern side of the boulevard are generic buildings of their period, set back slightly to create a wide pavement in front of them with lines of plane trees breaking up the space. The insertion of the road, though, was required to acknowledge the presence of historical remains in the objectification of the 'Casa di Dante' as a relic of the medieval city.Right to the square is Ponte Garibaldi which is the main entrance to Trastevere. There is a small Tourist Information stall in the square. Between the point we stand and Ponte Garibaldi we see a brown tower from the 13th century, adjacent to a small palace from the 15th century, housing the Dante Institute - and, therefore, called 'Casa di Dante':
From Piazza Sidney Sonnino, further southward, the Via della Lungretta becomes more interesting. The Via della Lungaretta runs exactly where, in the 2nd century BC, the Via Aurelia Nova was located. The ancient Via Aurelia Nova started at what was then called the Ponte Emilio (and is now known as the Ponte Rotto, or Broken Bridge). It went up the Gianicolo (Janiculum) hill and subsequently continued towards the Forum Aureli (now Montalto de Castro). Initially the name was changed into the Via Trastiberina and later, under Pope Julius II, into the Via della Lungaretta. The Via della Lungaretta is one of Rome’s most photogenic streets. The part east of the Viale Trastevere is more of an alley with several small shops (a.o. an English language used bookstore), while the part on the other side of the main street is wider and is full of restaurants.
After 150 m. walk in Via della Lungretta we arrive to Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere - already covered in the Ghetto->Trastevere trip. We won't continue southward - since these part of Trastevere are covered in the Ghetto->TRastevere trip. We shall exit the Piazza santa Maria in Trastevere through its north side. Head north on Via della Fonte D'Olio toward Vicolo del Piede, 42 m. Turn left onto Vicolo del Piede, 53 m. Turn right onto Via della Paglia, 110 m. Turn left onto Via Giacomo Venezian, 170 m. Turn right onto Via Luciano Manara, 74 m. Turn left onto Via Francesco Sturbinetti, 36 m. Continue onto Via Agostino Bertani. Turn RIGHT onto Via Goffredo Mameli and walk northward along this road
until it meets Via Garibaldi. On your left - Fontana del Prigione (Fountain of Prison) in Via Goffredo Mameli. The fountain came here from far away, Villa Montalto of Sixtus V in the zone of present Stazione Termini. It is one of very few records remained after that beautiful rich villa. When it was destroyed in 1877 the fountain was deposed in a store of the commune. Then it was brought out to the light and put in via Genova, and in 1928 was transferred here, in Via Goffredo Mameli on the slopes of the Gianicolo (or Janiculum) Hill:
TURN LEFT onto Via Garibaldi and start climbing (a bit exhausting) this twisting street on your way UP to the Gianicolo Hill. Interesting chunk of history, and lovely views all around. With every bend you see marvelous vies of Rome. Be careful, Via Garibaldi has no pavements. You cut your way up the hill by using the stairs (on your left) - Scala Giovanni Iacubucci. Along the way up, on your right - Gianicolense Mausoleum Monument (Mausoleo Ossario Gianicolense/ Monumento Ossario Gianicolense), built in 1941 to honor those fallen in the defense of Rome in the 19th century, as well as several foreign research institutions, including the American Academy in Rome. The monument was created by Jacobucci in 1941 on the place where lost their lives numerous defenders of Rome (Caduti per Roma) in times of siege of 1849, raisings of 1867 and 1870. On the top of the each side there is an inscription "Roma o Morte", i.e. "Rome or Death". Inside of the sarcophagus in the center of the monument was buried Goffredo Mameli (1827-1849), the hero of Roman Republic. He is an author of Fratelli d'Italia, the poem which in 1946 became the hymn of Italy with the music of Michele Novaro. An altar in red granite of Baveno (on the Lago Maggiore) is surrounded by a four-sided portico in travertine without cover. Under the portico is a crypt with the memorial - burial chamber of the fallen, among whom are Goffredo Mameli and Righetto.
Continue several steps along Via Garibaldi and visit the church of San Pietro in Montorio, built on the site once thought to be where St. Peter was crucified and buried. See the Tempietto, a small shrine built by Bramante to mark the supposed site.
Opposite the church is Belvedere Nicollo Scatoli with spectacular views of Centro Storico of Rome. From left to right the largest Catholic Marian church Santa Maria Maggiore, the fortified tower Torre delle Milizie, the little dome of the mother church of the Society of Jesus the Chiesa del Gesu, the dome of the Sant'Andrea della Valle, the National Monument, the tower of the city hall and the dome of the 17th century parish San Carlo ai Catinari (the last one not shown in this photo):
From Via Garibaldi we TURN RIGHT to Passeggiata di Gianicolo. Again, we see wonderful views of Rome.
Despite the climb along this tree-lined road I fell in love with this wonderful avenue:
Numerous busts of the volunteers took part in the defense of Rome stand along the road. White busts of Garibaldi's Italian patriots line the shady park drive:
on the top of the Gianicolo Hill, in the middle of the Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi square in 1895 was erected an equestrian Monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi, by E.Gallori. We are in the highest point of the Janiculum hill. Around the base are 4 bronze groups: in front, "Charge of Manara's Bersaglieri" (Rome, 1849); behind, "Battle of Calatafimi" (Sicily, 1860); at the sides, "Europe" and "America". The statue itself is 7m high. The placement of the monument gave rise to several politic interpretations, as it was inaugurated in the period when relationships between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See were still suspended. The official version declared that the Hero directs his own glance to the Vatican. After the Lateran Treaty in 1929, the statue was turned to Janiculum for want of Vatican itself. A very popular Roman legend underlines that, in this way, now the horse offers its back to the Holy See. The monument has been restored by the Municipality of Rome in 1990:
The panoramic views are magnificent of Rome city. From the square opens one of the most beautiful views on Rome:
At the midday, from the balcony of the Piazzale takes place the everyday shot of the cannon giving a sign of the exact time. This tradition began in December 1847, when the cannon of the Castel Sant'Angelo was giving the official time of Rome and the sign to all the bell-towers to start ringing. On 24 January 1904 this custom was brought to Janiculum and continued till 1939. In 1959 the popular TV program, Il Musichiere, appealed to the authorities to continue the midday cannon tradition. The Commune of Rome accepted this request and on 21 April, 1959 fired the first shot. A traditional puppet theater holds performances here for kids on weekend mornings and evenings.
At the distance of approx. 50m. along the Passeggiata can be seen the equestrian Monument to Anita Garibaldi, erected in 1932 by the sculptor M.Rutelli, granted to Rome by the Brazilian Government in honor of her Brazilian origin, and incorporating her tomb:
A right turn here leads to the Passeggiata del Gianicolo, which runs along the ridge of the Gianicolo (or Janiculum) Hill towards the Vatican. Walk down along Passeggiata del Gianicolo. a few hundred metres further on and you see the Lighthouuse from the Italian community in Argentina, which shone (in the past) the colors of the Italian flag:
Further down, around the sweeping corner is a hospital for children where is appears currently there is no car park so cars are parked on the road either side. The road down is steep and unpathed from the Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi. Although stepping cuts in the ground it is not suitable to anyone that would have difficulty going down steps. After 10-15 minutes of walk down the hill - you get a nice view of Castel sant Angelo:
The Passeggiata di Gianicolo changes its name to Via Urban VIII and, further, to Via del Giancolo and, later, to Via della Lungara. Arriving to the Tiber river we face Ponte Principe Amadeo Savia Aosta.
We don't cross the bridge and continue walking northward along Lungotevere Sassia. The views, around, are wonderful. You get spectacular sight of Castel Sant Angelo (especially, in sunset hours):
Continuing north along Lungotevere Sassia (on our left - Ospidale Santo Spirito in sassia) we arrive to Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II, again, with impressive views of the Sant Angelo Castle:
We turn LEFT to Via Pio X and again LEFT to Via della Conciliazione, arriving to Via Pio XII - and you see the Basilica St. Peter. Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, who had signed the accord with Vatican on behalf of the King, resurrected the idea of a grand thoroughfare symbolically connecting the Vatican to the heart of the Italian capital. To fulfill this vision, Mussolini turned to the prominent Fascist architects Marcello Piacentini and Attilio Spaccarelli. The main idea was a grand boulevard that would nonetheless obscure the majority of the Vatican buildings per Bernini's intentions. The vast colonnaded street required the clearance of the whole "spina" of Borgo placed in between the Basilica and the Castle. The construction of the road was only a small feature in the reconstruction of Rome ordered by Mussolini, which ranged from the restoration of the Castel Sant'Angelo, the clearance of the Mausoleum of Augustus, to the vastly more complicated site of the Via dell'Impero through Rome's ancient imperial remains. His plan was to transform Rome into a monument to Italian fascism. Construction of the road continued long after Mussolini's death and the abolition of Italian Fascism. The obelisks along the road were installed in time for the Jubilee of 1950. Since its completion, the road has acted as the primary access point to St. Peter's Square, and by extension to the Vatican City itself. At times, such as during the funeral of Pope John Paul II, it has acted as an extension to the square itself, allowing a greater number of visitors to attend functions conducted there:
Our sole purpose is having a prompt glance at the Piazza St. Pietro and the Basilica during the late evening, sunset hours. We devotes two special trips to the St. Peter Basilica, to St. Peter square and to the Vatican Museums:
Figueira da Foz:
Start & End: Figueira da Foz railway station.
Duration: 1 day.
Walking distance: 15 km.
Orientation: Beaches, modern architecture, promenades, salty air breathing, a lot of walks. A city with a lot of untapped potential. Very little past and history relics but, probably, a bright future.
Note: In Figueira street signage does not exist or is not clearly visible in many cases. We use, in this itinerary, as placeholders, in buildings or easily visible objects instead of street names.
The train from Coimbra leaves from Coimbra B station. There is one train every hour. Check exact times in the CP.PT web site. The ride takes 75 minutes approx. The morning trains are at: 08.54, 09.54, 11.54, 12.54. The return trains (Figueira->Coimbra) are at: 14.58, 15.58, 16.58, 17.58, 19.58 and 21.58.
Figueira is located 40 km west of Coimbra, at the mouth of the Mondego River, and sheltered by hills (Serra da Boa Viagem). The city proper has a population of 46,600. It is the second largest city in the district of Coimbra. It is a coastal city with several beaches, summer and seaport facilities on the Atlantic Ocean coast. As a tourism city, it plays an important part in the centre of the country. With its old and renowned casino (Casino da Figueira), the marina, several hotels, restaurants and other tourist facilities, Figueira is actually a very important Atlantic beach resort, in the center of Portugal's Silver Coast/Costa de Prata tourism region. Its fabulous beach attracting a vibrant holiday crowd throughout the summer. Figueira da Foz has a Mediterranean climate characterized by mild, rainy winters and dry, warm summers. In the summer afternoons moderate to (occasionally) strong north-westerly winds are common. It is quite probable that you'll feel breeze along your visit in the city. Most summer visitors, however, are here for the enormous sandy town beach which is 2km long and very wide. Waves here can be pretty huge, making it a popular spot for surfers, who also frequent the nearby Praia do Cabadelo, on the other side of the Rio Mondego. At the southern end of the beach are the remains of an old sea fort, Forte de Santa Catarina, and the Mercado Municipal, good for fresh produce as well as beachwear, lace, embroidery and other crafts. Out of season, the place has a lonelier charm, but come here in summer and things are upbeat, with sizzling bodies and candy-striped beach huts filling the beaches (mainly, in Augusts).
From Figueira da Foz railway station walk west to Rua de Republica - a central shopping street. Walk along Rua de Republica westward - when Rio Mondego is on your left. You'll see the river only after 15 minutes walking along the Rua de Republica. Cross Rua de 10 Agosto and continue walking until you arrive to a pleasant square, on your left - Largo Doutor Nunes - with a simple metal sculpture. Here Rua de Republica ends and continues with Avenida Foz do Mondego:
On your left a small commercial depots pier/port (Porto de Figueira da Foz) and on your right - a lighthouse. Continue walking west - when on your left is the Marina and on your right - you'll see a white house in a Moorish/oriental style:
Our walk westward, from now, is along a splendid, elegant, tastefully designed promenade paved with typical Portuguese pavement. The Marina reception is on our left. On your right a lighthouse and the old city walls. The Marina of Figueira da Foz is located on Avenue of Spain, at the edge of the River Mondego. It has floating platforms with a capacity of 200 points mooring for boats up to 15 meters and a pier for boats above. It is equipped with numerous facilities dedicated to mariners as repair shop hulls and engines, fuel, water, stores, bars, restaurants, etc:
On our right an entrance to a park and a sculpture:
Further west, we pass Skqiper Bar on our left. Here, starts a brown asphalted track for cyclists. There is a new, impressive regeneration project for the river/sea front including: piers, snowboard spaces, trees plantations. You'll observe young pine trees just planted all around. In this section the Mondego river connects with the Atlantic ocean:
We arrive to the first formal ocean beach. Here it is quite tiny and limited:
A few minutes of walk further to the west and a little surprise on the beach - exactly where the river and the ocean merge together. A statue of Peace Run founder Sri Chinmoy on the beach where the Mondego river meets the Atlantic ocean. Figueira Da Foz has a rich history with the Peace Run and World Harmony Run organization and projects. Through the pose of this statue—with Sri Chinmoy’s hand on his heart and passing the Peace Torch like this - he is spreading the peace to others In a world where peace is sorely lacking. Sri Chinmoy was a man who dedicated his entire life to the cause of peace. He served the United Nations for 37 years related to programmes whose goals were to spread the message of peace. He found in running one of the best ways to foster peace:
The statue in the evening light:
We return to the north side of the Avenida Espanha - to the Fortress and Chapel of St. Catherine and the city walls. The Fort of Santa Catarina form part of the coastal defense elements, along with the Fortress of Holes and Fortim Palheiros, its function being to defend the entrance of the river Mondego. Its construction began in the sixteenth century is located on Avenue of Spain. It has a triangular shape and within its walls are the Chapel of Santa Catarina, in the quadrangular highlighting its dome and the image of Santa Catarina eighteenth century, and faro courtyard. The entire set is classified as Public Property of interest since the year 1961:
From here we change direction and head, now, to the NORTH along the sea/ocean shore. The Avenida Espanha street changes its name to
Avenida 25 de Abril. On your right - there is a gorgeous square or lake, with wood decks, sculptures and manicured grass and flower-beds. In the background - Figueira houses:
Walk north along Avenida 25 de Abril. On your right shops, cafe's, hotels and residence complexes with view over the ocean and on your left - a clock tower with a flag of Portugal:
Torre do relógio:
Avenida 25 de Abril changes its name to Avenida do Brasil. You pass, on your right the following hotels: Atlantic, Mercure, Costa de Prata, Eurostars. The beach, on your left, is with crystal-clean white sand and it is quite large and spacy. more northward the white sand is replaced by fallows - but then the access to the seashore is through wooden bridges and decks.
I had lunch at Restaurante Por do Sol in Av. do Brasil 184. See Tip below.
From here, more or less, we slightly change direction and we walk along the sea-shore which heads, now, north-west. Avenida Brasil ends in a wide-space square: Rotunda de Pescador - with an extensive pond and impressive sculpture of a fisherman. Opposite - entertainment park. Here, Avenida Brasil changes its name to Avenida Infante Dom Pedro:
Now we are in Buarcos. It is a traditional fishing town that has grown also as a noted beach resort due to the calm waters of its sea, which is protected by the Boa Viagem small mountain range (Serra da Boa Viagem). Many of its inhabitants still work in the fishing industry but tourism is also an important activity. It has many seafood restaurants and bars. With view over the bay and the extensive beach, Buarcos is now considered a suburb of the city of Figueira da Foz. Rotunda dos Navagantes - houses No. 70-74:
On the tiny pebbled promenade stand a wooden boat and several wood cabins:
Opposite the beach you can enter the local museum of the Bacalau (Bakala fish) or, with its formal name, Núcleo Museológico do Mar, Rua Governador Soares Nogueira, 32 Buarcos. I felt this museum is doing its first steps in consolidating its self-identity - although the exhibitions and artifacts, inside, gained several years of reputation and support:
Buarcos singer - 1933 - Núcleo Museológico do Mar:
We continue along the Praia de Buarcos (beach of Buarcos) until we arrive to Praça Mar Português:
This is the last point we see the ocean from a distance of metres. We turn, now, into the heart of modern Figueira da Foz - looking, in-depth in its residence suburbs, architecture and its commerce and habitation pulses. We turn right to Rua de Cima. Here is a picture of typical house:
Turn right (2nd. turn) to Rua Torre Eiffel. Then, left to Travessa da Torre Eifel. We are still in Buarcos. On your left a small church - Casa N. Srª dos Navegantes - the religious centre of Buarcos residents:
Turn left (east) to Rua S. Pedro. Look at the ceramic tile in house No. 68:
The ocean beach is not far from us, on our right (south). We cut to the south (right) in one of alleys (that diverge from Rua S. Pedro) - and arrive to Rua 5 de Outubro. We see the ocean, but, again, leave it on our back. We returned to the Rotunda dos Navigantes and, on our left is the Mercado Municipal. It is an interesting place during the morning hours. Now, presumably, during the afternoon hours - it is almost closed. Continue along Rua 5 de Outubro. Passing Largo Buarcos on our right - we arrive to a large intersection of 5-6 roads. Take the steepest road (...) and climb along Rua Rancho das Cantarinhas. In the beginning of this street you'll see (on your right) a pillar with names of various countries and on your left - a big palm tree. Along your climb - you see many nice-looking housing complexes (Condominios). They look, partially, empty and deserted. In the end of your climb, on the left, Pingo Doce supermarket:
On your right - you can see, among the high apartments towers, the Palacio Sotto Mayor - the main landmark of Figueira da Foz. The Palace is open to visitors, most of the year, ONLY by appointment and only for groups. See how the situation is today, before heading up there !. Beautiful gardens and a fantastic architecture. It is a Private property, was built by Joaquim Sotto Mayor in the early century. XX. It is a luxurious French-style villa, designed by Gaston Landeck, with sumptuous façade, integrating ample green space around. For interior decoration the designers hired some of the best artists of the time: Dordio Gomes, Joaquim Lopes and António Ramalho.
In case - you give up: skip the following lines. The palace is located in Rua Joaquim Sotto Mayor which diverges right (south) from Rua Rancho das Cantarinhas. You can try to arrive to Palacio Sotto Mayor by turning RIGHT in the last intersection of Rua Rancho das Cantarinhas, before its end in Rotunda Engenheiro Coelho Jordão.
Anyway, when you arrive to a cross-lights in Rua Rancho das Cantarinhas - DO NOT TURN RIGHT. Continue direct (with the signposts pointing to Porto, Lisboa, Coimbra) until the end of the street - arriving to Rotunda Engenheiro Coelho Jordão. On your left Parque de Campismo. Turn right to Avenida de 1 Maio. On your right - Pavilaho Galamba Marques. Further, on your right soccer pitch. In the end of this street - you arrive to Rotunda 31 de Janeiro (a square with a sculpture). Turn and climb LEFT to Rua Doutora Cristina Torres. Cross two squares (the second is Rotunda Doutor José Nascimento Costa) and continue along Avenida Amália Rodrigues. This street slopes down. You get nice view on part of Figueira and on your right and left empty fields. Be careful. Several small sections without pavements. You arrive to Rotunda Maria Clara. Turn right to Avenida Bissara Barreto (?) or Avenida Dom João Alves (?) and in the next square - take the most right road, a narrow commercial road, when, on your right is the Centro do Actividades. On your left - a parallel street: Ladeira Várzea. In the next square bend right - to face, in front of you - the railway station (you have to pass, first, the buses stations - before arrival to the railway station).
Vienna - Donau City (DC), Donau Park and along the Danube:
Main attractions: Reichsbrücke (The Empire Bridge), Kaisermühlen VIC U-Bahn station, Andromeda Tower, Tech Gate Tower, DC 1 and DC 2 towers, Austria Center, IAEA building, Saturn Tower, Mischek Tower, Donaupark (Danube Park), Iris Lake, Donauturm (Danube Tower), Brigittenauer Brücke, Donau Insel (Danube Island), Millenium Tower, Northern Railway Bridge (Nordbahn Brucke), Neue Donau U-Bahn station.
Duration: 1/2 day.
Distance: 5-6 km.
Orientation: We ended our "Vienna - Hundertwasserhaus, the Prater, Messe Wien and the Empire Bridge" blog in the DonauInsel (Danube Island), in the eastern end of the Reichsbrucke (Empire Bridge), over the Danube river - the most famous bridge of Vienna. You can, easily, combine this itinerary with the second half (2nd Tip) of the former blog and THIS blog - making it a leisurely walking full day.
Donau City, or Vienna DC or UNO city, is a new part of Vienna's 22nd District Donaustadt, next to both the Reichsbrücke and the left bank of the Danube's 21.1 km new channel, Neue Donau. Construction work for the first building on this site, the Andromeda Tower (see below), started in 1996. The establishment of Donau City had its origins only in 1964. Unlike in many other cities, the Danube River, because of the numerous floods it regularly caused, was omitted from the urban area planning and construction. Only after extensive flood-control engineering and the creation of the New Danube relief channel, with Danube Island (DonauInsel), in the 1970s, was the surrounding cityscape of the Danube of interest to contractors and builders. Not far from Donaupark, in 1967, the planning of the UNO-City was started. It was opened in 1979. The construction of the U1 U-Bahn line and the Reichsbruecke (Empire Bridge) gave an immense boost to the UNO-City various prospects. The foundation for the first building was completed in 1995, with the start of construction of the Andromeda Tower. Within a few years, the district became a thriving urban center in Vienna, with residential and office buildings, research facilities, recreational facilities and event locations. The area bordering the Danube Island has recreation areas, Donaupark and Old Danube. Donau City has two direct connections to the motorway network, and the Vienna International Airport is about 20 minutes away.
Transportation: The metro (U-Bahn) line that goes through Reichsbrücke is U1. Stations near Reichsbrücke include Vorgartenstrasse (near Mexikoplatz on the city centre side), Donauinsel (on the island in the middle of the bridge), and Kaisermühlen-VIC (next to the UNO City).
Reichsbrücke (The Empire Bridge) connects Vienna city centre with newer parts of the city on the left bank of the Danube. On the city centre side the bridge starts at Mexikoplatz, and on the other side it takes you to Kaisermühlen (Imperial Mills) and Vienna International Center, a large complex of convention facilities and United Nations offices, colloquially known as UNO Stadt or UNO City. Halfway over the Danube, Reichsbrücke goes over a large island, Donauinsel (Danube Island), a popular place to walk, jog, and relax for the Viennese. Reichsbrücke, which literally means Empire Bridge, is a two-level bridge. On the top there is a highway (officially not a highway, but a very wide and busy street) and on the lower level there are metro tracks and pedestrian pathways.
This blog starts at the same point we ended our former blog: you end your walk along the Reichsbrucke from west to east, over the Danube river - in the Kaisermühlen VIC U-Bahn station (U1 line) (VIC = Vienna International City) located in the Donaustadt district:
Water colour of the Danube: Though (almost) everything (including water in rivers) is usually very clean in Austria, you may not like the colour of the water in this particular case. The Danube is BROWN. The colour depends on the weather upstream the Danube; rain and erosion may change the colour significantly. Nevertheless, the Danube is normally quite clean and it is even possible to swim in the river or the adjacent bays in or near Vienna.
Exit from the underground station onto Schüttaustraße. On the north-west you see the white Andromeda Tower. The building height: 113 m. It was built during the years 1996-1998. It includes offices only:
Andromeda Tower and the adjacent residence project (of Soravia): The Danube Apartments:
A bit more to the south, still north-west of the station - is the Tech Gate tower Vienna (Wissenschafts- u Technologiepark). It is a science and technology park in the 22nd district of Vienna, Danube city and was built in the years 1999 to 2005, in two construction stages, designed by Wilhelm Holzbauer and Sepp Frank in Donau City district. The approximately 26-meter-high component gate was built in the first phase, from 1999 to 2001. In the second phase of about 75 meters high tower was built from 2004 to 2005:
The most southern couple of towers are the DC 1 and DC 2 towers. The DC Towers (also known as Donau City Towers) will be a pair of towers in Vienna's Donau City. DC Tower 1 is complete and the first tenants moved into the offices in October 2013. Construction of DC Tower 2 will started immediately afterwards. French architect Dominique Perrault has designed both towers:
The four towers: Andromeda, Tech Gate and DC 1 and 2. The last, still, under construction:
Remember ? We are in Schüttaustraße, our face to the north - after exiting the Kaisermühlen VIC U-Bahn station (which is on our right, to the east). Walk in Schüttaustraße about 150 m. and continue onto Platz der Vereinten Nationen, 90 m. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Donau-City-Straße. Go through 1 roundabout, 400 m. Turn right to stay on Donau-City-Straße, 110 m. Turn right onto Bruno-Kreisky-Platz, 270 m - to see the Austria Center, Bruno-Kreisky-Platz 1. As the largest conference center in Austria Austria Center Vienna can accommodate 20,000 people and has 17 rooms for 100 to 4,320 people, 180 meeting rooms and 22,000 square meters of exhibition space.
A bit more eastward is the IAEA - International Atomic Energy Association building (photo below)L
and the VIC (Vienna International Centre) UN building:
The Saturn Tower, leonard-bernstein-straße 10 (should be on your left, north-west) is an office skyscraper in the 22nd district of Vienna Danube city. It was built in the years 2003 to 2004 after plans by Heinz Neumann and Hans Hollein Donau City district. As with other buildings in the Donaucity a mythological figure was name-giving, in this case, the Roman god Saturnus. The 90 meter high (21 floors) building is situated in the northwestern part of the Danube City following the Mischek Tower:
On our way to the Donau Park we see also the Mischek Tower (south-west to the Saturn Tower):
Mischek Tower + Saturn Tower in Leonard-Bernstein-Straße:
Another tower in Donau-City-Straße or Str. Abay (south to Leonard-Bernstein-Straße) is the Ares tower:
Donaupark (Danube Park): This park is easy to access. It has numerous entrances, including ones from Leonard-Bernstein-Straße.
One of the vastest Viennese parks covering an area of almost 800,000 square metres. You can cross it in about 35-40 minutes. Its location on the northern bank of the Danube River in the 22nd district of Vienna determines its neighbouring sights, most of them already browsed earlier in this itinerary. For example, there‘s the United Nations’ headquarters in Austria, the largest conference building in the country, the Austria Centre Vienna (ACV). The Donau City- 'city within the city' was also constructed upon this Danube island. The banks of the Danube close to Donaupark even offer beaches for all to enjoy. Transportation: you can get there by taking the U-Bahn U1 to Alte Donau, turning right as you exit the station and walking a short distance.
Despite being a relatively young green space, as it was established as late as 1964, Donaupark features a rich assembly of sights, such as the Donauturm (Danube Tower) and garden sections with various plants. It was designed for the purposes of the first Vienna International Garden Show in 1964, under the architectural guidance of the Director of Vienna's Parks and Gardens Department – Alfred Auer. During the period 1871-1945, the site was used as a military parade square and a shooting range called Kagran, as well as an execution arena during World War II. Today, a memorial stands there to commemorate those killed by the Nazis. After the war, the spot was a trash depot until 1960, then cleaned up and turned into a park.
Donaupark is a fascinating park from any point of view. Not only is it easily accessible by any means of transport, including bicycle, but there’s also a designated mini-train within the park, Donaupark-Bahn, which offers a romantic round-the-park trip. Its entertainment facilities also shouldn‘t be underestimated, and if one is keen on art they‘ll have the pleasure of discovering great pieces of art such as memorials to Simon Bolivar and Salvador Allende. Chess players will have a chance to try the giant chessboard installed on the park’s premises. Also, sports facilities like skating and playground areas play their role in building the strong bodies and clear minds of the modern youth. All this and more awaits you in Donaupark. A generous park area was created in 1963 and 1964 on an island between the Danube and the Old Danube, between the centre of Vienna and the district of Donaustadt. The target was to gradually clean up the existing site: a rubbish dump and a former site of executions during the Nazi years. Today the existing features of the garden festival include: a giant chess board, skatepark and a petting zoo. The park has become a favorite for all ages:
Art in Donau Park:
The modern view of Donaupark is dominated by its imposing landmark, the 250 meters Donauturm (Danube Tower). The Donauturm was constructed by Hannes Lintl at the same time as the park itself, so it has been an inseparable part of it ever since its inception. The magnificent view over Vienna if offers makes it a famous tourist attraction. Moreover, visitors can have some lunch at the revolving restaurant at the top. In the summer, bungee jumping fans have the opportunity to make their dreams come true. However, the Donauturm functions not only as a tourist hot spot and an impressive figure of Vienna’s skyline, but also holds various kinds of antennae. It might be an amazing alternative to the Ferris Wheel in the Prater. The 1st stop is open balcony, the 2nd is Restaurant-Cafe, and the 4th is Restaurant. The restaurant is revolving around the tower, so you can see the entire city from different perspectives. Perfect panoramic picture-setting opportunities from everywhere (since it rotates, you will get to see every aspect of the Vienna area). Tip: Amazing views if you go at sunset time and wait until dusk. They even have a bungee platform for those wanting to get down even quicker than the lift (not expensive). Open everyday 10.00 - midnight. Adult - 7.40 euros. Students is 5,90€.
Primarily, the Danube Park is an extraordinarily large green space where you can walk, run, or just relax in peace underneath the numerous shaded areas. It is well maintained and has facilities for various sports. There is a nice lake in the centre with a bridge where you can view the birds' life and plenty of seats and picnic tables in both sun and shade. Toilets can be found in multiple locations, and several cafés are dotted throughout. There is mini-train that regularly winds its way through the park. The ride is for approx 30-40 minutes. During May-June the roses are blooming and the air is full with their scent:
I recommend that you cross the park and head north to the big lake (in the centre of the park) from one of the entrances from Leonard-Bernstein-Straße (there are, at least, 3 entrances to the park from this road). The Korea House of Culture has moved into the long-vacant, yet wonderful lake restaurant by the artificial Iris Lake, which dates to the 1960s when the park was opened. It is open to everyone and additionally has a tea house and library to pass the time in. It also offers courses on calligraphy and many other subjects, and also organizes exhibitions and cookery courses. From there head west to the Danube tower and slight to the north-west edge of the park to the Brigittenauer Brücke.
The Brigittenauer bridge is a six-lane road bridge over the Danube. In addition, it has walking and biking trails. Characteristic are the red color and the spiral ramps for pedestrians and cyclists. It connects the two districts of Vienna Brigittenau and Floridsdorf. The relatively new bridge was opened in 1982:
View of Donau City from Brigittenauer Bridge:
The Brigittenauer bridge forms a brace between the Handelskai station and Brigittenau 20th district (on the west bank of the river) and the A 22 - Donauuferautobahn. Walking and cycling tracks will make for an ideal access to the Danube Island, New Danube and Danube Park. The mighty tower you see on the west bank is the Millenium Tower. The Millennium Tower is the second tallest building and fourth tallest structure in Austria at 171 metres. The tower is located at Handelskai 94-96 in the Brigittenau 20th district in Vienna. An antenna mounted on top of the tower brings the architectural height to 202 metres but does not count to its overall height. Millennium Tower was designed by the architects Gustav Peichl, Boris Podrecca and Rudolf Weber. The tower has 51 floors, serves both commercial and residential purposes, and is the focal point of a complex known as "Millennium City". It was completed in 1999 for the coming of the third millennium. The Millennium Tower was built in an extremely short construction time: Thanks to efficient organization of all work steps and modern building techniques have created an average of 2 ½ floors a week and the building completed in 1999:
We continue along the east bank of the Danube - from south to north. The next bridge is the Georg Danzer Bridge (U-Bahn line U6, pedestrian/bicycle path)
and further north is the Northern Railway Bridge (Nordbahn Brucke) crossing between Brigittenau and Floridsdorf districts on the east bank.
The Georg Danzer Bridge is named after singer/songwriter Georg Danzer, who passed away from lung cancer aged 61 in July 2007. The closest public transport station is the Neue Donau U-Bahn station (Line U6).
Southern parts of Budapest:
Attractions: Museum of Applied Arts, Semmelweis University - Semmelweis Egyetem, Budapest Holocaust Memorial, Millenium City, Nehru part, Bálna Budapest, the Central Market Hall (Nagycsarnok Market), Fővám tér, Liberty Bridge (Szabadság-híd), Vigadó tér, Deák Ferenc tér.
Duration: 1 day. Distance: 8-9 km.
Start: Corvin-negyed (M3 line) Metro station.
End: Deák Ferenc tér.
Orientation: A route for more experienced visitors in Budapest. Clearly, NOT your first day route in Budapest. Most of the parts of this route fit a rainy day, or, at least a gloomy, cloudy day. The first half is along sheltered places. The second half involves more walking in open spaces but, the attractions are, still, under shelter. The route involves retracing your steps for 500 m. (from the Holocaust Memorial to the Museum of Applied Arts). I, intentionally, didn't put the Holocaust Memorial as the first site of visit. It is an overwhelming place. This is the perfect route for a day with a first half of rain or bad weather.
The Museum of Applied Arts (Iparművészeti Múzeum), Üllői út 33-37 is the third oldest applied arts museum in the world. The imposing museum building is a wonderful example of Art Nouveau style. Traditional Hungarian design elements merged with Islamic and Hindu motifs along with some Western European Art Noveau influence characterize the building. It is located opposite (west) to the Corvin-negyed (M3 line) Metro station. You can take trams 4 or 6 (Ferenc körút direction) and stop at Corvin-negyed. It was built between 1893 and 1896 and was designed by Ödön Lechner. It has a green roof and the interior is designed using Hindu, Mogul, and Islamic designs. The museum houses major antiques, a collection of metalwork, furniture, textiles, and glass and jewelry & artworks collections. It also has a library. Don't be confused by the seeming variety of combination tickets: the bottom line is that you pay just 2000 HUF and see one exhibition or 3000 HUF and see everything... Museum visit with guide HUF 800. 50% off ticket price for every exhibition: young people (over 6 and under 26),
visitors aged over 62, one or two parents (or other close relatives) accompanying at least two children (under 18). Free admission (Hungarian and European Economic Area citizens): children under 6, visitors over 70, visitors with disabilities, with one accompanying person, on Hungary's three national holidays: 15 March, 20 August and 23 October. 50% off ticket price for every exhibition: young people (over 6 and under 26), visitors aged over 62, one or two parents (or other close relatives) accompanying at least two children (under 18). Opening Hours: TUE - SUN: 10.00 - 18.00. Monday: closed. Photos allowed - but without flash. The museum building, the Atrium, the glass dome and the interior courtyard are spectacular. Its green dome is visible from streets away. It may be under refurbishments and surrounded by scaffolding. I would definitely recommend visiting the museum interiors and (permanent & temporary) exhibitions - even if you only came in order to see the building itself:
Before looking at the exhibitions, take a good look at the inside, which is all white with plenty of attractive white stucco work. A nice hall with a polished floor is situated in the centre and off - limits.It is surrounded by arches that remind you of Indian palaces. From each level, you can look through an arch to the beautiful ground floor and the big hall. On the top floor there is an irregular opening with a balustrade surrounding the opening. From here, you can peer down from three stories high down to the bottom. Stunning view. On this top floor there is a stained glass window of a most unusual shape and a large glass ceiling:
Head northwest on Üllői út and turn RIGHT to Mária utca, 120 m. On your left is the Semmelweis University - Semmelweis Egyetem. The name of the institution honors Ignác Semmelweis, a former professor of the Medical Faculty between 1855 and 1865, who discovered the cause and prevention of puerperal fever. The university has around 10,000 students from 60 nations over five continents. Its five faculties offer courses from undergraduate to doctorate level in Hungarian, English, and German. Foreign students account for about 18% of the total community. Semmelweis was the first Hungarian university, which started to offer international courses at the Faculty of Medicine in German in 1983. The English programs started four years later, in 1987. Nowadays, the university enrolls more than 200 new international students each year. Still, students from Germany form the majority of the international student body, although numbers from Israel, Scandinavia, Ireland and Cyprus show consistent growth in recent years. Semmelweis University is the largest health care institution in Hungary, with over 9,000 employees covering about 6% of the health care needs of the country’s population. The university has several clinics along Üllői Avenue. Founded in 1769, Semmelweis University (Semmelweis Egyetem) is the oldest medical school in Hungary. The faculty became an independent medical school after the Second World War and developed into a university teaching medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, health sciences, and health management, as well as physical education and sport sciences:
Turn right toward Baross utca, 75 m, Slight left toward Baross utca another 150 m. Turn left in Baross utca, turn right still in Baross utca, turn right again, and, finally, turn left onto Mária utca, 75 m and the Budapest Holocaust Memorial, Holokauszt Emlékközpont, Páva St. 39 is on your right. Opening Hours: TUE - SUN: 10.00 - 18.00, Monday: Closed. Adult individual tickets: HUF 1400/person. Visitors with Budapest Card are entitled for 50 percent of discount. Security check at the entrance. The Holocaust Memorial Center is one of the few institutions in the world, established by the state, that focuses entirely on Holocaust research and education. An insight into the persecution of the Jews and Roma in Hungary by their own government and by the Nazis. The Holocaust Memorial Center is a national institution established by the Government in 1999. In 2002, it decided to construct the building of the Center in Páva Street, outside of the traditional Jewish quarter, further emphasizing its national character. The visitors are welcomed into a unique space designed by Frank Owen Gehry, one of the leading architects in our time. Building itself is beautiful, wonderful way to preserve the Synagogue in the centre.
The museum is broken up into very clear sections that are all explained with both Hungarian and English captions. Before entering the memorial, you see massive black walls inscribing the names of more than 500,000 Hungarian Jews who perished in the Holocaust. This feat itself would be enough to make the Holocaust Center a must-see in Budapest. There are also 6 large pillars on either side of the entrance to the Pava Synagogue representing the 6,0000 Jews who were slaughtered during WWII. The well-organized exhibition inside begins with an amateur film of a Jewish marriage ceremony just before the Holocaust and ends with an Allied documentary film of hundreds of rotting corpses bulldozed into mass graves after the Holocaust. As an introduction, there is a compelling 15-minute film on the insidious evolution of anti-Semitism. The museum is filled with videos, pictures and artifacts but not in an overwhelming way that takes away from the message:
The rooms follow an order that brings you deeper into the Holocaust with an ending in the brightly lit Synagogue. On the last wall in the museum, there is a startling quote from Night, a book written by the celebrated Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel: "it is a powerful reminder of the horror of genocide not just against the Jews but against all minorities: Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never !".
The modern building is organically linked to the Páva Street Synagogue, an authentic venue that once used to be the second largest site for Jewish worship in Budapest. The exhibition ends with this beautifully and buoyantly decorated Pava Synagogue used as a concert hall, especially for the Jewish Summer Festival:
Highly recommended site. Be aware: you can be easily, emotionally be affected. You can spend several moving hours here. Very well done experience with a respectful and honest approach.
It is a 2.5 km walk from the Holocaust Memorial Centre further to the SOUTH to the Millenium City center (Palace of Arts, National Theatre, Ludwig Museum etc'). We retrace our steps back in the direction of the Museum of Applied Arts. Head south on Mária u. toward Baross utca, 400 m. Turn left onto Üllői út, 180 m. Turn right onto Ferenc krt.,(the Corvin-Negyed Metro station is on our left) 600 m. Turn left onto Soroksári útca, 550 m. Turn right onto Dandár köz, 32 m. Turn left onto Lechner Ödön fasor, 160 m. Turn right onto Haller János kapu, 50 m. Haller János kapu turns left and becomes Somlay Artúr stny, 500 m. Turn right onto Komor Marcell utca, 60 m. The Millenium City is opposite and on both sides. The Palace of Arts is in Komor Marcell utca 1. Getting to the Millenium City: Take the Suburban Railway (HÉV) from Boráros tér to Lágymányosi Bridge station (Boráros tér – Csepel route), or Streetcar 2 to Millenniumi Kulturális Központ station:
The Millenium City Center from the Buda side:
The new building complex (opened in 2005) houses the Ludwig Museum, the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Chorus and Music Library and the National Dance Theatre. Beside these there's a nice coffe, a restaurant and a bookstore where you can be lost in admiration of beautiful art albums or just get some special souvenirs or gifts. The Palace of Arts (Művészetek Palotája) had been officially opened in March 2005. It is located near Rákóczi Bridge and was designed by Zoboky, Demeter and Partners Architectural Office. The structure of the Palace of Arts covers a ground area of 10,000 m² and the total floor space of the building is 70,000 m². It received the Prix d’Excellence of FIABCI in 2006 (often referred to as "the Oscars of architecture and real estate development" – in the "specialized" category for buildings offering public services, such as educational institutions, libraries and airports). The venue known to Hungarians simply as Müpa. it's one of the most modern builidng in the city with colorful lights in the night. Come for the Architecture and stay for the top-quality performances. State-of-the-art facilities with top acoustics. Rush for high-value exhibitions and performances with reasonable prices:
Commuter train pass through near the Millenium Center and near the Rákóczi híd (bridge):
Interior of Palace of Arts:
The organ in the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall is ranked among the largest concert hall organs in the world. The instrument - built under the cooperation of Pécsi Orgonaépítő Manufaktúra and Mühleisen Orgelbau Stuttgart - was inaugurated in May 2006 at a ceremony attended by leading figures from Hungary’s art, economic and political scene:
The Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art collects international and Hungarian art, and displays artworks from the past 50 years that have been collected by Peter and Irene Ludwig. Their intention was to bring East and West closer through art. Their donation of 70 contemporary pieces is the basis of Ludwig's collection. Valuable American Pop Art, such as pieces by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Jasper Johns, as well as significant works of hyperrealism from Chuck Close, Malcom Morley and Richard Estes can be seen. Artworks representing the Eastern-European avant-garde from the 1960s and 70s are displayed parallel with the Western tendencies. Opening hours:
TUE - SUN: 10.00 - 20.00. Entrance fees: Permanent exhibition: Adult: HUF 700, Student & senior: 50% off, Children under 6: free, Budapest Card: 20% off. Temporary exhibition: Adult: HUF 1,400, Student & senior: 50% off, Children under 6: free, Budapest Card: 20% off. Combined tickets are also available:
Béla Bartók National Concert Hall: Tickets Prices (by categories): I: HUF 5 200 II: HUF 4 300 III: HUF 3 600 IV: HUF 2 900 V:HUF 2 100.
- Book at least 3 concerts and receive a 15% discount
• Book 4 concerts and receive a 25% discount
• Book 5–7 concerts and receive a 35% discount
• Book 8 or more concerts and receive a 50% discount.
The National Theatre, which opened in 2002, is located next to it. The National Theatre is a showcase of Hungarian artists and stage directors. Traditional theatre classics, contemporary plays and adaptations from Hungarian literature are on the repertoire. Designed by architect Mária Siklós, the National Theatre has a 619-seat auditorium. The stage is a real moving stage that can be raised at 72 different points, which makes it unique in Europe. The park surrounding the theatre building is full of statues portraying famous Hungarian actors. The park’s sculpted gate was designed by contemporary sculptor Miklós Melocco. Hungary’s old National Theatre used to be at Blaha Lujza Square, until 1964 when it was torn down by the ruling Communist government. Finding the appropriate location for the new national theatre was the topic of heated debates for decades. In the 1990s the planned location of the new National Theater was Erzsébet Square in the center of the city. Construction started and the underground parking had been built when a new government was elected and the plans were abandoned. They selected the current location in 2000 and the theatre was inaugurated on March 15, 2002:
Duna-Pest Residences at the Millennium City Center, a dual building, luxury residential development includes approximately 310 suites that will offer floor plans ranging from 30 to 240 square meters with final layout and buildups arranged at the owner's requests. As a part of Millennium City Center luxurious condominiums were created in the heart of Budapest. Due to the ideal location, the complete panorama of Buda is visible from the windows of these exceptional condominiums, from the southern part of Buda, up to the Buda Castle and beyond.
The two buildings are attached on the first floor with a glass corridor to make the exclusive service offerings accessible from both buildings. Duna-Pest Residences feature such deluxe amenities as a state-of-the-art controlled access system, full-service concierge, full maintenance service, valet parking and thermal water within the building. The buildings also feature remarkably appointed facilities including fitness center, spa, squash, game room, wine cellar with private lockers and a library. Furthermore, the building's residents can enjoy a private pool with sun patio and a thermal pool. One of the masin offices complexes has been sold to a Dutch private hospital corporation in SEP 2014:
The restaurants and commercial units at ground level also offer a variety of services. At 30 meters above the ground, on the top of the buildings, there are secluded green havens. These roof gardens built as part of the penthouse suites with a superb view of Budapest.
From here we head northward. It is 1.8 km, 35 minutes walk to Nehru part. From Komor Marcell utca - head southwest toward Gizella stny.
120 m. Turn right (north) onto Gizella stny, 1.2 km. Continue onto Nehru part, 230 m. Nehru part is the name of a park in Budapest, on the bank of the Danube, between Bálna and Petőfi Bridge. The Nehru Bank has everything to make it a cool place to hang out: fresh air, a breath-taking panorama of Gellért Hill (on the Buda side of the Danube), and great accessibility. Waiting for coming renovation, it will, certainly, become one of the coolest spots in Budapest:
Continuing north along the Pest bank (the east bank) of the Danube, 5 minutes walk from the Nehru part - will bring us to the Bálna Budapest. The city's newest sight, the Whale (Bálna, formerly called CET) opened in November 2013 after a long period of debate and legal dispute between the municipality of Budapest and the constructor. It is a commercial, cultural, entertainment and leisure centre. A meeting point and a place for experiences. It connects downtown and inner Ferencváros. It has a unique way to create an intimate contact with the Danube. The building is a characteristic attraction, as well as the sight of the city from Bálna. The building alone combines the architectural traits of different eras. The historical brick building and the concrete structures typical of the last century are embraced in a computer designed metal-glass shell. The architect who designed the building, Kas Oosterhuis is one of the most well-known representatives of today’s non-standard architecture. The feature of this style is that buildings also function as sculptures, cityscape elements. The marketplace of Bálna serves as a continuation of the market described as the best one in Europe: Nagycsarnok (see below). It offers a wide range of bio-products, antiquities, and everyday tools that represent the recent aesthetic values. Opening hours: MON - THU 10.00 - 20.00, FRI - SAT 10.00 - 22.00, SUN 10.00 - 20.00.
Head north toward Csarnok tér, 30 m. Slight left onto Csarnok tér, 55 m.
Slight right to stay on Csarnok tér and you arrive to the Central Market Hall (Nagycsarnok Market): restored neo-Gothic hall for traders with grocery produce on the ground & souvenirs on the 1st floor. It is located at the end of the famous pedestrian shopping street Váci utca and on the Pest side of the Liberty bridge at Fővám square. The idea of building such large market hall arose from the first mayor of Budapest, Károly Kamermayer, in 1896, and it was his largest investment. The building was designed and built by Samu Pecz around 1897. During the World Wars it was completely damaged and then closed for some years. This is Budapest's biggest market, though it has become a tourist magnet since its renovation, during the 1990s, for the millecentenary celebrations in 1996. The building was awarded with FIABCI Prix d’Excellence in 1999. Still, plenty of locals come here for the fruit, vegetables, deli items, fish and meat. Head up to the 1st floor for Hungarian folk costumes, dolls, painted eggs, embroidered tablecloths, carved hunting knives and other souvenirs. It is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. The Central Market Hall is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city.
Opening hours: MON - SAT opens at 06.00, closes at 17.00 MON,, 18.00 TUE - FRI and 15.00 SAT. The market is closed on Sunday,
The outside aisles are smaller and frequented more by locals doing their shopping. In general, prices are lower there than on the main center aisle. The interior is very cool looking. Most of the stalls on the ground floor offer produce, meats, pastries, candies, spices (very cheap saffron), and spirits such as paprika, tokaji, túró rudi, and caviar. On the north end of the hall you can get fresh and dried mushrooms and homemade honey. The real tourist shopping is to be found upstairs. On the first mezzanine floor there's food stands and plenty of handicrafts, clothing, embroidery, and other tourist nonsenses. A nice treat is to have a savoury or sweet 'Lángos' (pronounced Lahngosh) (yeast-based dough deep fried in oil topped with sour cream and cheese) from one of the upstairs food stalls. Try the Brumi Food Bar with ample choice of spicy Hungarian dishes: gulyás, stuffed cabbage, lecsó. Most dishes cost around 600 HUF/2.0 EUR. A good value eatery. The basement contains butcher shops, fish market, and pickles. Not only do they have traditional cucumber pickles, but they also offer pickled cauliflower, cabbage, beets, tomatoes, and garlic. The Ázsia delicatessen next to the Match supermarket sells oriental spices, teas, kitchen utensils, sweets, exotic spices like curry, bourbon vanilla and special herb mixes. No elevators. There is an escalator to the upper levels and to the basement. Allow about 2-3 hours exploring the different stalls !!! There are several places to have lunch or dinner. Don't miss the SECOND floor with various prepared hot food vendors. Great souvenirs to bring home since they are light weight and don't take up much room (paprika, caviar (fake ?), red currants, goose liver pate, embroidery etc'). With many items - high quality and reasonably low prices. How to arrive: Fòvam ter metro station on the green line, or Kálvin tér (M3 blue line) or on the 2, 47, 48, 49 trams:
National Gastro Days: Each week from THU to SAT a different nation introduces its culinary delights as well as cultural, and natural treasures. Browse the schedule in http://www.budapestbylocals.com/great-market-hall.html and pick a nation the cuisine and culture of which interest you the most and head for the Central Market Hall.
We continue to Fővám tér. It is 2 minutes walk. Head northwest on Sóház utca toward Fővám tér, 20 m. Turn left onto Fővám tér, 75 m. Turn left to stay on Fővám tér, 50 m. The name of the square literally means "Main Customs Square", as merchants have been selling their produce in the adjacent Grand Market Hall, dating back to the 1890-s. Next to the market is the University of Economics. The Liberty Bridge (Szabadság-híd) (see below) on the right leads directly to the Gellért Hotel and Baths on the Buda side. Great views of Gellert Hill & towards the Chain bridge.
There is a Metro station (Fővám tér) of Line 4 beneath the square. It was opened in March 2014. Other ways of access: Buses: 15, 115, Trolleybus: 83, Trams: 2, 47, 48, 49.
We walk west to the anube river to the Liberty Bridge (Szabadság-híd). Liberty Bridge is the third and shortest bridge of Budapest. It was built for the Millennium World Exhibition in 1896, its original name being Francis Joseph Bridge. It was built to plans resulting from a design competition held in 1893. Originally, it was named Fővám Square Bridge after the Fővám Palace, which currently hosts the Budapest Corvinus University, formerly known as Budapest University of Economics. The bridge was designed by János Feketeházy, chief engineer of the Hungarian Railroads at that time. Construction was started in June 1894. It was inaugurated by Francis Joseph I, who hammered in the last silver rivet on the Pest side on 4 October 1896, at the festivities held for the thousand-year jubilee of Hungary. The bridge was named Francis Joseph after the Emperor. Two years later, in 1898 tramway traffic was started on the bridge. It is 333.6 meters in length, 20.1 meters in width. Lateral swings are hindered by its wind tie structure. Both portals are decorated with the coat of arms of Hungary designed by Virgil Nagy and two Turul statues each. Turuls are falcon-like birds, prominent in ancient Hungarian mythology. During World War II, on 16 January 1945, Francis Joseph Bridge, as every other bridge in Budapest, was blown up by retreating German troops. After the end of the war, it would be the first bridge to be reconstructed. Only its central parts had to be rebuilt. It was reopened for traffic on 20 August 1946, its new name being Liberty Bridge. It meant also the first time after the liberation of Hungary that a tram connecting Buda and Pest crossed the bridge. Liberty Bridge is the shortest bridge in Budapest, you can easily walk across it over the Danube in a couple of minutes:
It is a 1.3 km (20 min.) walk further north, along the Danube promenade to the Vigado ter (not far from Deak ter). From Fővám tér continue onto Belgrád rkp., 500 m. Turn left onto Irányi utca, 25 m. Continue onto Pesti alsó rkp., 160 m. Slight right onto Petőfi tér, 190 m. Continue onto Apáczai Csere János utca, 280 m and Vigadó tér is on your left. This is a small public space found in front of the Vigado Concert Hall with its magnificent facade, facing the Danube river and promenade. There is a late 19th century fountain statue in the centre of this small square that is nice to see. There appears to be a lot of people coming and going here especially in good weather. Vigado Concert Hall was closed, has been recently opened after undergoing extensive remodeling for a long period of time. THere is a small park with a lovely group of sculptures, manicured flower beds, benches to rest:
We walk another 500 m. to the aest to finalize our daily route. Head southeast on Apáczai Csere János utca toward Deák Ferenc utca, 65 m. Turn left onto Deák Ferenc utca, 120 m. Continue straight onto Vörösmarty tér, 40 m. Continue onto Deák Ferenc utca, 230 m.
Turn left onto Deák Ferenc tér.
Walk along the Douro river - Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto - West of Ponte Luis I:
Start: Jardim do Morro Metro station (line 5, the yellow line), Vila Nova de Gaia (south bank of the Douro river).
End: Rua Infante Dom Henrique (historical centre, near the Douro river front).
Highlights: Jardim do Morro, Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar, Belvedere (Miradouro), Ponte Luís I, Vila Nova de Gaia Barcos Rabelos, VNDG wineries, Vila Nova de Gaia quays, Ponte da Arrabida, Porto Academy, Massarelos, Museu do Carro Eléctrico, Museu do Vinho do Porto, Edifício da Alfândega do Porto, Muralha Fernandina, Rua Infante Dom Henrique.
Orientation: Cross to the south side of the Rio Douro, over the Ponte Dom Luís I, and you leave the city of Porto for the separate town of Vila Nova de Gaia (or just Gaia), though the distinction is irrelevant to visitors. The riverfront here – facing Porto’s Ribeira – also has a long line of cafés, bars and restaurants; cruise boats dock along the esplanade, while the wooden craft with sails are known as barcos rabelos, the traditional boats once used to transport wine casks downriver from the Douro port estates.
Distance: 15 km.
Duration: 1 day.
We take the yellow line of the Metro and take a ride south, crossing the Douro river. Our start point is the first station in the yellow line in Vila Nova de Gaia - on the south bank of the Douro: Jardim do Morro Metro station.
The Metro station is on the west side of Avenida da Republica. Go SOUTH (opposite side of the river) on Av. da República toward R. Rodrigues de Freitas until you arrive to the cross-lights. Turn left onto R. Rodrigues de Freitas. Turn left onto Rampa do Infante Santo and return northward, following the signpost "Monumento". Climb along the Rampa do Infante Santo from south to north (your face is in the direction of the river). Cross Largo Aviz on your right and you arrive to the Mosteiro da Serra do Pilar. Part of the area classified by UNESCO as World Heritage in December 1996, the Monastery of Serra do Pilar is the architectural landmark of Gaia. The interesting church and cloisters are laid out according to a circular design unique in Portugal. The convent built in the 16th century belonged to the Order of Saint Augustine. The church is characterized by a circular shape, a replica of the Church of Santa Maria Redonda in Rome, and is covered by a hemispheric vault with a narrow balcony running its full extent. It took 72 year to complete it due to the lack of funding and the political turmoil of those times – with the kingdom of Portugal having fallen to neighboring Spain. One legacy of that event was the adoption of a Spanish saint for the monastery, Our Lady of Pilar. In 1832, during the Siege of Porto, its military value was made use of with the convent swiftly turned into an improvised fort. At the beginning of the 20th century, the monastery was used for military barracks and remains under the tutelage of the Serra do Pilar Artillery Regiment. Within, the Church features some impressive carved gold leaf altars with Solomonic columns. There are also 18th century, polychrome wooden carvings of the saints Eulalia, Apolonia and Augustine. In front of the church, there is a wonderful view point taking in the full grandiosity of the city of Porto and the river Douro below. The monastery is still belongs to the Portuguese military and is closed to the public. The church is open for Mass every Sunday morning from 10am to noon. Monastery of Serra do Pilar, is a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO since 1996. It has opened to the public on 8 December 2012 as “House of the Northern Patrimony”. The entrance is done by a lateral door giving access to the welcome desk, to the shop and to the interactive digital table presenting information on Porto and North of Portugal. Then one gets inside the next room in which can be seen a film about the four places classified as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, on the North of Portugal - the historical centres of Porto and Guimarães, the landscape of the Douro Valley and the Archeological Park of the Côa Valley. Here one may see the statue of D. Afonso Henriques, Portugal’s first king, by the sculptor Soares dos Reis, made of plaster which was the cast for the statue existing next to the Castle of Guimarães. Visitors may also enjoy a guided visit by an element of the army, that owns the largest part of the space. On these guided tours, taking place every hour, it is possible to climb to the dome. By security reasons, access is only be allowed to groups of 15 persons at a time. It is necessary to climb 100 steps until the 360.º balcony that surrounds the church, being the last 53 steps done on spiral staircase. Admission fees: - 1, 00€ - visit to the “Patrimony Room” and to the Cloister - 3, 00€ - visit to the “Patrimony Room”, to the Cloister and to the dome. Free – for Youth Card holders, senior citizens (over 65 years old) and children up to 12 years old. Opening hours: SEP-FEB - from Tuesday to Sunday - from 09.30 to 17.30. From March on it is open from 09.00 to 18.30 and on July and August, from 09.00 to 19.00. The monastery is closed on Mondays, and on 25 December, 1st January, 1st May and Easter Sunday:
Definitely, the main attraction here is the Belvedere (Miradouro) with the most spectacular panoramic view over Porto.
Ponte Luis I and Ribeira:
Vila Nova de Gaia and Telefrico Vila Nova de Gaia:
Boats and barrels of wine - Vila Nova de Gaia:
Ponte Luis I and Avenida Gustav Eiffel in the northern bank of the Douro:
Upper and lower bridges - Ponte Luis I:
From the Miradouro we trace back and walk the whole way to the Jardim do Morro Metro station. Continue, on the west side of Avenida da Republica, more north-west into the park/garden itself of Jardim do Morro. Great views of the Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia waterfronts on both sides of the Douro, and mostly of the Zona Ribeirinha. Not-so-well-kept small park with playgrounds for the kids. Some picnic tables under a shelter. Even on a fine day though it’s something of a windy one.
From the park/garden southern corner - there is a path leading (zig-zag) down. Walk west along the garden wall and look at the view of the river north-westward:
Descend the stairs down (southward) and watch the funicular cabins moving up and down from Vila Nova de Gaia quays to the Jardim do Morro and back:
Walk down (first, south-west) until you arrive to Rua Pilar. Descend Rua do Pilar and turn right onto Escadas Pedrosa. Again, wonderful scenery of the north bank of the Douro and the Telefrico cabins:
Cross Rua General Torres to watch the panoramic view of Porto and the Douro from a small viewpoint:
Turn right and descend further to the river. In the end of the zig-zag descent - you'll see the mighty Luis I bridge opposite your face with all its grandiosity:
The Luís I (or Luiz I) Bridge (Portuguese: Ponte Luís I or Luiz I) is a metal arch bridge that spans the Douro River between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal. It is, actually, two-hinged double-deck arch bridge. At the time of construction its span of 172 m was the longest of its type in the world. The Portuguese government held a competition for the construction of a metallic bridge over the Douro River on a site that was adjacent to an existing bridge that it would replace. Téophile Seyrig (a Belgian engineer, who was a student of Gustav Eiffel) had engineered the D. Maria Pia Bridge project nearby, whilst working as a partner of Eiffel. He now took sole responsibility for the new, major Luís I Bridge. The construction was begun in 1881 and the bridge opened on 31 October 1886. Its total length is 385.25 m, weight 3045 tons. The arch measures 172 m in length and 44.6 m in height. Originally built to carry road traffic on both decks, at various times it saw trams on the upper and trolleybuses on the lower. Now the top deck is occupied by Line D of the Metro do Porto and a pedestrian walkway. The bridge’s top deck is now reserved for pedestrians as well as one of the city’s metro lines. The upper tray offers spectacular views for pedestrians. It also carries the metro. I understand walking along here can be quite daunting for those with a fear of heights. The lower deck bears regular traffic, with narrow pedestrian walkways lining the road. With its archetypical shape and the nice silver-blue color, the bridge is very picturesque, albeit massive at the same time.
If you are not afraid of heights you should try to cross it on both levels. The views are surprisingly different due to the height difference. I found them to be particularly spectacular in the hard back-light of the afternoon when the people promenading along the quays seemed to become mere silhouettes. The bridge itself looks best in the soft evening light. As we said, the Dom Luis bridge has a lower and an upper floor. The lower floor is mainly reserved for the cars, but you have a pedestrian alley too. But the top floor is what is really interesting as this is reserved for the trains and the pedestrians and you have a fantastic view from the top of the bridge where you can see the river Douro and both it's riverbanks as well as most of the rest of Porto:
In the end of the descent, on your right, there is a formal entrance for pedestrians:
Near the entrance to pedestrians - there is a small, circular viewpoint of the mighty Luis I bridge:
At the moment - we don't cross the Luis I bridge. We'll do that in a later blog/itinerary of Porto. We head to the quays along the west coast of Vila Nova de Gaia and we'll cross the river (from south to north) over another bridge (Ponte Arrabida). With our face to the Douro river - turn left, west and walk along the front line of the river:
Near Restaurante D. Tonho - Gaia, stand over a jerky, wooden small quay to take photos of the flat-bottom boats called 'Barcos Rabelos' who were loaded with barrels of Port wine. While Port is produced from grapes grown in the Douro valley - traditionally, until 1986 it could only be exported from Portugal from Vila Nova de Gaia. The wine was taken downriver in to be processed and stored in Vila Nova de Gaia cellars. However, in the 1950s and 1960s, several hydroelectric power dams were built along the river, ending this traditional conveyance down the river. Currently, the wine is transported from the vineyards by tanker trucks and the Barcos Rabelos are only used for racing and other displays.
We start, now, reviewing several wineries along our route. Vila Nova de Gaia, of course, is completely synonymous with the port wine trade – you can’t miss the dozens of company lodges and warehouses (known as caves), some in business for more than three centuries, that splash their brand names across every rooftop, facade and advertising hoarding. They almost all offer tastings and tours, conducted in English, with a view to enticing you to buy. Tours of the smaller, lesser-known companies tend to be more personal than those of larger producers, but they are all pretty informative and you’ll soon know the difference between a tawny and a ruby, and which vintages are best. The path along the river might be blocked due to extensive reconstruction works carried on along the river shore. So we are forced to move to Avenida Diogo Leite. On your left the CALEM winery. Established in 1859 by António Alves Cálem, Porto Cálem has dedicated itself to the production, ageing and commercialization of Port Wine and Douro wines. In 1934 a range of Ports was created - Tawny, Ruby and White. In 2006 the reconstruction of Cálem's Cellars were distinguished with the American Award Best of Wine Tourism. Calem differentiate themselves with a port cellar tour, followed by generous tastings accompanied by 45mins of Fado music at 18.30 everyday (except Mondays). Your tour guide will tell you everything about Port wines. At the end you can taste two port wines and you can buy bottles from 10 to 500 Euro's. Touristy but still a nice experience. I recommend taking these tours during the evenings... Tour price: 5 euros. Opening hours: May to October - 10.00 - 19.00 everyday. November to April - 10.00 - 18.00 everyday.
We cross Rua da Barroca on our left
and arrive to Kopke wine cellar. C.N. Kopke is the oldest Port Wine Company, was established in 1638 by Christiano Kopke and his son, Nicolau Kopke who came to Portugal as representatives of the Hanseatic League. Kopke, has almost with 4 centuries of success in the Port Wine world and was bought by Sogevinus group in 2006. Most of its success comes from the Old Tawnies from a single year – Colheita Ports – high quality Wines matured in cask during a minimum period of 7 years. Opening hours: May to October - 10.00 - 19.00 everyday. November to April - 10.00 - 18.00 everyday. Only a small shop and tasting house, no tours here but the chance to taste some great port in nice surroundings. Not expensive, full explanation given with the port and all accompanied by some tasty chocolates:
One minute walk further along Avenida Diogo Leite - on your left a small church:
and another wine cellar: Quinta Do Noval-vinhos Sa, Avenida Diogo Leite 256. Famous for the unique Nacional Vintage Port, Quinta do Noval produces a world class range of Port wines. Quinta do Noval is one of the major historic Port houses, renowned for its great Vintage Ports, its fine old Tawnies and since 2006 for its Douro wines:
Immediately next to Quinta Do Noval winery - is the Vila Nova de Gaia Tourist Information office. Wealth of information and leaflets ONLY of Vila Nova de Gaia.We skip the Sandeman winery, Largo Miguel Bombarda 3 - which is a bit south to our route along Avenida Diogo Leite (price of tour: 9 euros).
5 minutes further Rota do Douro - cruises along the Douro company.Many options of excursions, cruises, combination with trains etc'. Six bridges cruise along the Douro - price: € 10,00. Length of Cruise 50 MIN. TIMETABLE: 10.00 // 10.30 // 11.00 // 11.30 // 12.00 // 12.30. The tour cost €5 and included a tour of the museum and cellar followed by tasting two of the ports.
Another cruises company is the Douro Azul company. The “6 bridges” cruise with the company's "Blue Boats" costs 10 euros and gives you the opportunity to admire the old city of Porto, with its typical houses and the hustle and bustle of the Ribeira people, while admiring the architecture of the bridges that connect the two river banks:
The street changes its name to Av. Ramos Pinto. The next winery is Vinicola Ramos Pinto, Av. Ramos Pinto, 380. A company with over 130 years of history. Opening hours: May to October
Monday to Friday, 10.00 - 18.00 Everyday, April - Monday to Friday, 10.00 to 18.00 Except Holidays. November to March - Monday to Friday, 9.00 - 17.00 Except Holidays. Last visit, 1 hour before closing. The museum is a tour of the original offices which are beautiful and it is amazing to see it them fully preserved. The main area where you do the tasting is lovely and cool on a hot day. The tour takes about 45 mins. and costs €5 (If you have a ticket of the red hop-on/hop-off bus the entrance is free) and includes a tour of the museum and cellar followed by tasting two of the ports.
Just before the street changes its name, again, you hit a third cruises company. The same offers, the same prices with Ferreira Porto:
Summary of cruises companies:
BARCADUORO (sightseeing by boat)
Tickets: 10 EUR/adult, free for children up to 11 years
Fullday tour Douro - Régua - Porto (March-November): 55 EUR/adult, 27,5 EUR/child
Duration: 55 minutes
Starting: Vila Nova de Gaia
VIA D'OURO (sightseeing by boat)
Tickets: 10 EUR/adult, free for children
Cruise + dinner (19:30): 65 EUR/adult, 32,5 EUR/child
Starting: Estiva Wharf
DUOROAZUL (sightseeing by boat)
Cruise + lunch (12:00): 45 EUR/adult, 22,5 EUR/child
Starting: Vila Nova de Gaia
Porto - Régua - Porto: 56-65 EUR/person
Porto Pinhao - Porto: 65-69 EUR/person
Along our walk west you meet also boats builders:
and fishermen working along Vila Nova de Gaia quays:
The street along the river, bends, now, to the north-west and changes its name to Cais de Gaia. On your left stairs that lead to Rua da Fonte Nova and more old and run-down parts of Vila Nova de Gaia:
View to the northern bank of the Douro from Cais de Gaia:
Further, the street is called - Cais Fontaínha. There are interesting (still, run-down) houses of Vila Nova de Gaia along Cais Fontaínha:
The next quays/piers are: Cais Capelo Ivens and Cais do Cavaco. On your left you see a demolished, aristocratic Quinta (winery estate):
A rustic quay before arriving to Ponte da Arrabida:
The next bridge we face is Ponte da Arrabida. The Arrábida Bridge is an arch bridge over the Douro River that connects Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, in Portugal. It is the most downstream bridge across the Douro River, just a few kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean. It carries 6 lanes of European route A1. At the time of its completion in 1963, the bridge's main span of 270m was the largest of any concrete-arch bridge in the world. The total length of the deck is 493.2m, having a width of 26.5m. The arch has a rise of 52m, and the maximum clearance above river level is 70m above:
Move to the left pavement of Cais do Cavaco - turn LEFT to Rua de Cavaco and ascend the stairs and a path (might be muddy and slippery !) leading to the Arrabida Bridge. The bridge is an impressive piece of engineering with one of the largest arches in the world. It is the closest to the mouth of the River Douro.
View of the Arrabida Bridge from the (dirty) stairs leading to the bridge:
On the bridge:
There is a breathtaking view of the mouth of the Douro and the coastal parts of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.
View to the northern bank of the Douro river from Ponte da Arrabida:
We cross the Arrabida bridge from south to north. A section of 700 m. - very noisy and bustling. We recommend that you take the eastern pedestrians path. I didn't try the western one (looking to the Douro mouth). The eastern one is safe and provides spectacular views over Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.
After descending from the Arrabida bridge to the northern (Porto) bank of the Douro river - cross the parking lot, turn right under the small bridge and turn left. On your left is Porto Academy (Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto). The Porto Academy is a "Summer School" organized by the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto. For a week, a group of architects from different nationalities are responsible for various working groups as well as giving a lecture about their own careers or projects. A week (usually, mid-July) of workshops resulting in a final public presentation and the summary of the work in a booklet. You can dine in the academy's canteen/restaurant. Reasonable food with rock-bottom prices.
Leave Porto Academy from its southern or eastern exits. If you get out from the southern exit - cross Via Panorâmica Edgar Cardoso and continue south along R. do Gólgota. If you leave Porto academy from yje east - turn right onto Via Panorâmica Edgar Cardoso, and turn left onto R. do Gólgota. Turn right to stay on R. do Gólgota. Take the stairs, 100 m.
Turn right onto R. Cap. Eduardo Romero/R. da Boa Viagem 13 m. Turn left onto R. Cap. Eduardo Romero, 200 m. Turn left toward Alameda Basílio Teles, 89 m. We are in the Massarelos area of Porto. Turn left onto Alameda Basílio Teles. The Museu do Carro Eléctrico, Alameda Basílio Teles 51 is on your left. During Summer 2014 the museum has been formally closed for renovations. It doesn't seem to be opened during 2014. Opening hours: Winter ( 15 SEP - 14 JUN) MON 14.00 - 18.00, TUE-FRI 09.30 - 18.00, SAT, SUN, Holidays 14.00 - 19.00. Summer (15 June - 14 SEP) MON 14.00 - 18.00, TUE-FRI 10.00- 19.00, SAT, SUN, Holidays 13.30 - 19.00. Admission prices: Adult 4.00€, children - 2.50€, children < 4 yrs - free. Members of staff in this museum don't speak even one word of English.
The museum documents Porto's tram and trolleybus history and is located opposite two of the three heritage tram routes (1 and 18). Here is a tram of Line 18 which rides from Massarelos area to Ribeira in the centre of Baixa Porto and vice versa. The old trams are not included in the Viva VIagem Porto cards. They cost (summer 2014) 1.80€/ride. Line 18 doesn't travel along the river shore but more inland (north).
You can sneak into the outdoor display of the historical wagons and get some photos of the enchanting trams around:
We cross Alameda Basílio Teles and walk more to the south along the Douro river - heading EAST. Part of our walk will be on a hanging metal bridge over the river's water - Viaduto do Cais das Pedras. In the beginning of the metal bridge, on our left, beyond Cais Pedras, is the Igreja Matriz de Massarelos (Church of the Confraternity of the Holy Souls) founded at year 1776:
Viaduto do Cais das Pedras converges with Rua Monchique and continues its way inland. On your left is the Museu do Vinho do Porto,
Rua Monchique 45. Museu do Vinho do Porto. The Museum of Port Wine is one of the small museums of the Museum of the City of Porto in Portugal. Opened in 2004, the Port Wine Museum is housed in a beautiful eighteenth century building on the banks of the Douro river. The museum aims to publicize the history and the importance of trade in Port wine in the historical development of the city through various panels and multimedia stations that illustrate all business, the wine region, the Douro railway line, the Rabelo boats, the evolution of the bottles and various objects related to the famous wine. No insight into the Port wine itself (well, a "dry" visit only)... Prices: admission €2.20, weekends free. Opening hours: 10.00 - 17.30 Tue-Sat, 10.00 - 12.30 & 14.00 - 17.30 Sun. Closed on Mondays:
We continue to Rua Nova Alfândega. Note, on your left, the pictorial, old, run-down houses along this central street:
On your right - Edifício da Alfândega do Porto, Alfândega Congress Centre. One of the largest congress centres in Portugal. Designed by architect Jean FG Colson and tastefully restored by architect Souto Moura, the building is singular in style with an unforgettable riverside location in the heart of Porto's historic centre. Its construction involved the construction of the pier and of a huge platform- based Customs House, which replaced the old beach Miragaia. Additionally, in order to facilitate the transport of goods, the Customs House and Station were linked by a railway extension in 1888. This set of changes is considered by many as one of the most profound urban and landscape changes of Porto in the nineteenth century. The concept of the building comprised not only the infrastructure for the entry and exit of goods, but also several facilities such as warehouses, railways, turnstiles that facilitated the movement of wagons and cranes. From the 1990s, the building complex met the intervention of restoration and redevelopment with architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. It had been transformed into the Congress Centre, the Museum of Transport and Communications and the headquarters of the Association Museum of Transport and Communications (AMTC) private nonprofit institution established in February 1992 with the mission of preserving the building of the former Customs Port, as well as other assets of transport and communications. The Museum of Transport and Communication. 3 euros. No photos allowed. Opening hours: TUE-FRI 10.00 -13.00 (entrance till 12.00), 14.00 - 18.00 (entrance till 17.00), SAT, SUN, holidays: 15.00 - 19.00 (entrance till 18.00):
"A Gralha" (The Magpie) outdoor sculpture on the Miragai pier:
A macabre and sobering exhibition featuring instruments of torture are on display in the Alfândega Congress Center until 28 September 2014. The Maquinas de Tortura (Instruments of Torture) exhibition, which has already been seen in over 10 countries worldwide, features 50 original pieces used during the period of the Inquisition, from 13th to 17th centuries. 7 euros. No photos allowed.
We continue further along Rua Nova Alfândega heading to the historical centre of Porto. On your left, more old houses along this famous avenue:
The closer you arrive to the centre - the more packed and dangerous your walk along the Rua Nova Alfandega is. The whole right (south) side of the street is under construction and the north side has no pavements. You pave your way through trams rails and busy, noisy roads with heavy transportation around. On your left Porto old walls in Escadas do Caminho Novo. This is the Muralha Fernandina - the medieval, outer line of Porto walls from the XIVth century. In the middle of this century, even in the time of King Afonso IV, began to be built a new outer wall that was almost completed around 1370 The fact that the work was only completed in the reign of Ferdinand, explains that is commonly referred to as "Ferdinand Wall." The walls began to be progressively demolished from the second half of the eighteenth century to make way for new streets, squares and buildings. Most of the wall has been demolished in the late nineteenth century. The surviving sections of the Walls Fernandine were classified as "national monuments" in 1926:
Here, a Swiss boys doing Parkour exercises on the stairs leading to the walls:
Further, eastward - Escadas do Recanto :
After crossing Rua O Comércio do Porto on your left (north) you arrive to Largo and Rua de S. Francisco:
A bit further is the central street of Rua Infante Dom Henrique. Note the large-scale fresco on the rear wall of Sao Nicolau church:
Opposite, in Rua Ferreira Borges - another fresco:
You may turn left to Monument Church Of St Francis and visit the church and the museum there. But, this visit should last, at least, one hour. We explore the Igreja da Ordem de S. Francisco and the Museu da Venerável Ordem Terceira de São Francisco do Porto in another blog/itinerary of Porto Historical Centre which includes many more sites in Old Porto
South Bank - the section from London Bridge to north-west Bermondsey:
Start: London Bridge tube station.
End : Bermondsey tube station.
Weather: any weather.
Distance: 5-6 km.
Orientation: The route can be extremely busy, especially at weekends and during the summer months. Watch for cyclists, skateboarders and
rollerbladers. Please be aware of your valuables as pick-pockets,
unfortunately, operate in this area. Note: Bermondsey is quite extensive. A special trip is devoted to this quarter. You can combine this trip with the Rotherhithe section of the "Around Surrey Quays" trip.
From London Bridge station head southeast on London Bridge St. Turn right toward Joiner St and the Shard is on the left (150 m. walk).
The Shard: The Shard is currently the tallest building in the European Union. It is the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower at the Emley Moor transmitting station in West Yorkshire. The pyramidal tower has 72 accommodation floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor, at a height of 244.3 m. It was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and replaced the Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built on the site in Southwark in 1975. It is jointly owned by a British property company and the State of Qatar. 306 metres, 87-storey skyscraper in London. Part of the London Bridge Quarter development. The Shard's construction began in March 2009, it was topped out on 30 March 2012 and inaugurated on 5 July 2012. Practical completion was achieved in November 2012. Its privately operated observation deck, the View from the Shard, opened to the public on 1 February 2013. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC) in the terror attacks of 11 September 2001, architects and structural engineers worldwide began re-evaluating the design of tall structures. The Shard's early conceptual designs were among the first in the UK to be progressed following the publication of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology report into the collapse of the WTC.
Opening Times: Sunday to Wednesday 10.00 - 19.00 (last entry 17.30), Thursday to Saturday 10.00 - 22.00 (last entry 20.30). All tickets are dated and timed for your arrival, but once at the viewing platforms - no time restriction on your stay. Adult (16+) - Advance (must be booked the day before) 24.95 GBP, Child (4-15) - Advance 18.95 GBP, Adult (16 +) - On the day (subject to availability) 29.95 GBP, Child (4-15) - On the day 23.95 GBP, Infant (0-3) Free. Guests are allowed to bring handheld cameras to take photographs for personal use. It is not possible to bring tripods or other large items of photographic equipment into The View.
The Shard entrance is on Joiner Street which leads to: London Bridge Underground Station (Northern and Jubilee line lines), London Bridge Main Line Station, Tooley Street, St. Thomas Street. There is a bus station outside the main entrance to London Bridge Station. The buses that stop here include: 43, 48, 141, 149, 521.
The Shard offers spectacular views over London for up to 64 km.
In the unlikely event that you can't see at least three of the following landmarks - London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin, Tower Bridge and One Canada Square - on the day of your visit, The Shard authorities will issue you a ticket to return for free within three months.
Return to the Thames (north and then east). Head west toward London Bridge St and turn right onto London Bridge St. Turn right onto Borough High St. Turn right toward Battle Bridge Ln. Take the stairs. Turn right toward Battle Bridge Ln. Continue straight onto Battle Bridge Ln. The London Bridge City Pier is on your left. You pass the London Bridge Hospital and Hay's Wharf on your right. The Hay's Galleria will be, later, on the right.
BETTER OPTION: return to the Thames and walk along the Thames EASTWARD. Take photos of the north bank.
The skyline of London, along this bank (both of the banks) is changing every month. Pass the London Bridge City Pier on your left.
Walk eastward until you'll see the Hay's Galleria on your right and the H/M Belfast ship (a bit forward) on your left.
Hay's Galleria is named after its original owner, the merchant Alexander Hay, who acquired the property - then a brew house - in 1651. It was converted into a 'wharf', in fact an enclosed dock, in 1856 and it was renamed Hay's Wharf. During the nineteenth century, the wharf was one of the chief delivery points for ships bringing tea to London. In the 1980s, a decision was made to retain the dock and to restore its tea and produce warehouses surrounding it to provide office accommodation and shops. After completion of the plan and opening in 1987, Hays Galleria became the first new visitor attraction of that period on the south of the river. Due to its location on the southern Thames Path, its panoramic views over the City of London from the riverside, and the location between London City Hall and Southwark Cathedral, Hay's Galleria is visited by many tourists and local workers. For twenty years it housed a year-round market The Hays Galleria Market which operated seven days a week.
In a fountain at the centre of the Galleria is a 60 ft moving bronze sculpture of a ship, called 'The Navigators' by sculptor David Kemp, unveiled in 1987 to commemorate the Galleria's shipping heritage:
Almost opposite the Hay's Galleria, in the Thames, is the HMS Belfast. Open daily: 4 November to 20 February 10.00 – 17.00 (last admission 16.00), 21 February to October 10.00 – 18.00 (last admission 17.00). Adults 15.50 GBP, Child (under 16) Free, Concessions (Senior, Student, Disabled) 12.40 GBP. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Built in Belfast in 1936. Anne Chamberlain, wife of the then Prime Minister launched Belfast on St Patrick’s Day 1938. HMS Belfast was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 5 August 1939. Designed for the protection of trade and offensive action she was immediately called into service patrolling the northern waters in efforts to impose a maritime blockade on Germany. However, disaster struck after only two months at sea when HMS Belfast hit a magnetic mine. There were few casualties but the damage to her hull was so severe she was out of action for three years. On rejoining the home fleet in 1942 she was still the largest and most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy and most importantly she was equipped with the most advanced radar systems. Most notably in her role during the Battle of North Cape which saw the sinking of the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst and the loss of all but 36 of her 1,963 crew. HMS Belfast remained protecting the arctic convoys until 1944. In this year it took part also in supporting the D-Day landings and reportedly fired one of the first shots on D-Day itself. After the Second World War HMS Belfast played an active role in the Korean War from 1950-1952. Her final years were spent performing peace-keeping duties until she was retired from service in 1963:
Continue eastward along the Thames path and during the 3-5 following minutes you pass, on your right, near the impressive More London Riverside Development. It includes the City Hall, a sunken amphitheatre called The Scoop, office blocks, shops, restaurants, cafes, and a pedestrianized area containing open-air sculptures and water features, including fountains lit by colored lights. The Hilton London Tower Bridge hotel opened in September 2006 is nearby. The area contains many professional, global corporate firms, including Ernst & Young whose headquarters is 1 More London Place, PricewaterhouseCoopers(PWC) at 7 More London Riverside, Hewitt Associates whose European headquarters is 6 More London Place. THIS IS A VERY IMPRESSIVE AREA.
The Shard and 6 More London Place Tower:
More London Riverside Buildings:
The City Hall. Greater London Authority offices. Designed by Sir Norman Foster, is one of the contemporary buildings on the South Bank.The brand new headquarters for London's Mayor and Assembly, a radically-designed glass fronted and rounded building. Based in this building is the Mayor of London and the London Assembly, made up of 25 elected members. The GLA has powers over four strategic areas: transport, policing, economic development, and fire and emergency planning. Power over other areas such as housing and environment is shared with
The Scoop Amphitheatre in More London Riverside. Great place for free theatre and music events in the summer in glorious iconic surroundings:
There are frequently outdoor exhibitions and cultural events in More London, usually associated with City Hall:
The North Bank from Hay's Wharf (in the South Bank):
We recommend that you cross the Tower Bridge to watch its opening. Get to walk FREE along the bridge on both sides to see stunning views of the city. Tower Bridge itself is open for walking across the river at road level. If you check on line you can find out when the bridge is scheduled to be raised and it's worth timing your visit to coincide with it ("Bridge Lift Times"). http://www.towerbridge.org.uk/TBE/EN/.
Tower Bridge Exhibition Opening times: Summer: April - September 10.00 - 18.00 (last admission 17.30), Winter: October - March 09.30 - 17.30 (last admission 17.00). Admission prices: Adults - 9.00 GBP, Child (aged 5-15) 3.90 GBP, Child (under 5) Free, Concessions 6.30 GBP, Family tickets from 14.10 GBP. You move from room to room on your own time. There are small sliding windows for clear picture taking. There is a short film that shows the inception, design, and building of the bridge structure and drawbridge features which are large enough to let cruise ships pass. You can go down into the engine rooms where you can walk around the drawbridge motors and see the mighty engine powered mechanisms that open and close the center spans. The Bridge Experience Tour is not all that great, but it's cheap. Free if you have the London Pass.
Iconic London at its best. It does offer spectacular views and get some great photos from both river banks or from over the bridge. This is a huge tourist attraction and a definite must see for anyone visiting London. The Tower Bridge will provide you with some of your favorite photos from your trip. The view walking across the walkway (glass walls) is unparalleled of the: river Thames, architecture and London's city skyline. It is very majestic close by or from a distance both by day or/and night.
Continue eastward along the Queen's Walk (Thames Path) along the Thames. Head north. Turn right toward Tower Bridge Rd. Turn right onto Tower Bridge Rd. Take the stairs. Turn right. Take the stairs.
The Tower Bridge opens. If you are lucky the bridge will be raised to allow a ship to sail underneath it. Wow, what an experience !
Costs nothing to do this - fabulous views:
City Hall and More London Riverside (South Bank) from the Tower Bridge:
The Shard and More London Riverside from the Tower Bridge:
North Bank from Tower Bridge:
The Tower from the Tower Bridge:
Butler's Wharf from the Tower Bridge:
Worth visiting at night time too when it is all lit up as it looks even better than in daylight:
Continue along the Thames Path, which goes underneath Tower Bridge. Continue eastward along the Queen's Walk (Thames Path) along the Thames. Two minutes further you arrive to Butler's Wharf. Butler's Wharf is used as a term for the surrounding area, now housing luxury flats and restaurants - lying between the picturesque street Shad Thames and the Thames Path. Butler's Wharf is also an English historic building on the south bank of the River Thames. The Butler's Wharf overlooks both the Tower Bridge (in the west) and St Katharine Docks (north) on the other side of the river - the North Bank. Butler's Wharf was built between 1871-73 as a shipping wharf and warehouse complex, accommodating goods unloaded from ships using the port of London. It contained what was reputedly the largest tea warehouse in the world. During the 20th century, Butler's Wharf and other warehouses in the area fell into disuse. Since the 1980s, Butler's Wharf has been transformed from a derelict site into luxury flats, with restaurants and shops. The surrounding area is also today called Shad Thames, or Butler's Wharf (after the largest of the riverside warehouses). Both names refer to a 350m × 250m rectangle of streets, converted warehouses and newer buildings, bounded by the River Thames, Tower Bridge Road, Tooley Street and St Saviour's Dock (or arguably Mill Street); it forms the most north-easterly corner of the SE1 postcode district.
Butler's Wharf, once a riverside warehouse and now luxury apartments:
Continue along the Thames Path, which goes underneath Tower Bridge. Stop on the cobbled street of Shad Thames (south to the Queen's walk), with brick warehouses on either side and small bridges overhead. Step back in time to the 1870s and we would have been in the centre of one of London’s busiest riverside wharves. The iron bridges above us were used for moving goods between warehouses. At its peak, this space would have employed thousands of dock workers like shipwrights, lightermen, riggers and lumpers – all handling untold wealth from every corner of the globe. By the 1960s, containerisation had completely changed the nature of shipping. Places such as Butler’s Wharf were completely unsuited to modern ships and the way that they carried goods. So in 1972 – exactly 99 years after it opened – Butler’s Wharf was closed and left derelict. But some people have an eye for a bargain. In the early 1970s, many of the buildings were bought by property speculators with a view to redevelopment. Their opportunity came in the 1980s when the Conservative government introduced a new form of ‘entrepreneurial urban policy’.
Sculpture and play yard in Shad Thames:
Tower Bridge raised - from Butler's Wharf:
Continue along Shad Thames between the warehouse buildings. When you reach the Design Museum bend right (south) with Shad Thames Street and follow the muddy section of the Thames, between the warehouse buildings (Knights Hose on your left, St. Andrews Wharf on your left, St. Saviours Wharf on your left, Dockhead Wharf on your left).
The Design Museum near the east end of Shad Thames, which houses frequently changing exhibitions of graphic and product design, and is a fairly well known haunt of designers and tourists. As well as an interesting shop and cafe, the museum features the "Design Museum Tank", a large outdoor glass box, which contains a selection of items from the current exhibition. The museum is also used as a venue for corporate events. Unlike most large London museums, the entrance is not free. OPENING HOURS: Daily 10.00 - 17.45, Last admission 17.15. 1 TICKET FOR 3 EXHIBITIONS: 12.40 GBP Adult, 9.30 GBP Student, 6.20 GBP Children under 16 (6-15 inclusive), free entrance to members and children under 6 years old.
Turn LEFT to Jamaica Road (Devon Houses on your right, the Coop store on your right) and then LEFT to Mill Street. (shortcut: continue along the Thames, the Tea Trade Wharf on your right and cross over the bridge/path to Bermondsey):
Walk the whole Mill Street (there is a Concordia Wharf signpost) from south to north (Lloyds Wharf and Unity Wharf on your left, then, again, St. Saviours Wharf on your left, and China Wharf almost in the north end).
The Windmill 6 - 8 Mill Street:
Turn right to Brmondsey Wall Way (Providence Square on your right). We are in the nort-west end of Bermondsey. To the west of Bermondsey lies Southwark, to the east Rotherhithe, and to the south, Walworth and Peckham. To the north is the River Thames. For many years the overground and underground connections of Bermondsey with the City of London were very poor. This was remedied in year 2000 with the opening of Bermondsey tube station on the London Underground's Jubilee Line Extension and the East London Line forms part of the new London Overground system reopening direct links with the City and north London. From Brmondsey Wall Way turn right to George Row and in its end turn left to Jamaica Rd. In the 2nd turn to the right is Bermondsey tube station.
Houses in Bermondsey:
North Bank and St. Katherine Docks from North-West Bermondsey:
The Thames and the City from Bermondsey:
The Kremlin route - from the Kremlin entrance to the the Annunciation cathedral in the Cathedrals' Square (Sobornaya Ploshchad).
FINALLY, step out off the security booth. After passing the security check at Kutafya Tower, visitors of Moscow Kremlin walk over to the Troitsky Bridge connecting it with Troitskaya Tower, the main public entrance to the Kremlin. Look around, embrace all the grandeur of the walls and prepare to enjoy the most important site on your trip in Moscow and the oldest survived Moscow's structure. You are standing on the Troitsky Most (Trinity Bridge). This bridge, you stand on, is the only one preserved out of multitude previously surrounding the walls. The Kremlin was protected from flooding water from all its sides with walls and bridges.Behind - is the main entrance.
The Trinity bridge is furnished with two towers of both sides: the short (white) and the tall (dark red).
Here, you deserve a break. Walk forward to the middle of the bridge and do some great pictures with the Trinity Tower - the highest tower of the Kremlin of 80 meters in front of you - one of the nicest and most famous views on this route. Turn backward and take another photo with the Kutafya Tower and the visitors centre.
Kutafya Tower from the Trinity Bridge:
Trinity Bridge and Trinity Tower:
The Kutafya Tower:
This rather squat tower (its height on the outer side is just 13.5 meters), was built in 1516 by Aliosio de Carcano, in order to defend the bridges to the Kremlin. The Kutafya Tower, which forms the main visitors’ entrance today, stands apart from the Kremlin’s west wall, at the end of a ramp over the Alexander Garden. In the 16th and 17th centuries the water level of the Neglinnaya River was high enough that water surrounded the tower on all sides, thanks to a system of dikes. The ramp was once a bridge over the Neglinnaya River and used to be part of the Kremlin’s defences; this river has been diverted underground, beneath the Alexander Garden, since the early 19th century. It is the only bridgehead watchtower to survive to the present day, and was previously surrounded by a moat and a river. In times of enemy attack, the gates were tightly shut, and the tower became a formidable obstacle to those besieging the citadel. It is said that the tower got its name from its heavy, ponderous form. The word "kutafya" in Russian once meant "ugly, clumsy woman". In 1668 a causeway leading through the tower to the Troitskaya Bridge was built. The building was thoroughly restored in the 1970s.
Both the bridge and the tower received their current names in the middle of 17th century from the Troitskaya Coaching Inn in the Kremlin and dedicated to the Trinity (Troitsa). The Trinity (Troitskaya) Tower or the Troitskaya Tower, built in 1495, is remarkably similar to the Spasskaya Tower. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, its gate was second in importance only to that of the Spasskaya. People would enter the Kremlin through this gate on their way to the courts of the Patriarch, the Tsaritsa and the princesses. Beneath the ground is a deep, two-level cellar with very thick walls, once used as a prison. The tower was built from bricks in 1495-1499 by an Italian architect Aloisio da Milano (known in Russia as Aleviz Fryazin Milanets). The tower was originally called Bogoyavlenskaya, then Znamenskaya, and later Kuretnaya. It became the Troitskaya (Trinity) Tower by the decree of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich in 1658, after the mission (belonging to the Trinity Monastery) beside which it stood. In 1516 a stone bridge was built across the Neglinnaya River between the Troitsky and Kutafya towers. Atop the tower are miniature decorative towers with weathervanes and lancet arches. A clock was mounted on the tower in 1585, but following the great fire of 1812, the chimes were damaged, and were only restored in the late 20th century. On the wall of the tower, right above the entrance gate, was an icon of the Holy Trinity served to protect the gate and the city, but it was removed in Soviet times, because this tower was the formal entrance for the huge Communist Party Congresses. The Trinity Tower is the tallest tower of the stronghold of Moscow city with, its current height on the side of the Alexander Garden, if you count the star, being 80 m.
The lane to the right (south) immediately inside the Trinity Gate Tower, runs between the 17th century Poteshney Palace (Poteshny dvorets) where Stalin lived (on your right with your face southward), and a great glass monolith of a building, the 20th century Palace of Congresses (on your left). All of these buildings (and the Arsenal, see below) are off limits to visitors, and there are plenty of guards to whistle down any trespassers. Poteshny Palace was built by Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich and housed the first Russian theatre. Here Tsar Alexey enjoyed various comedy performances; however, in keeping with conservative Russian Orthodox tradition, after the show he would go to the banya (Russian bathhouse), then attend a church service to repent his sins:
Poteshny Palace into the Kremlin from (outside the Kremlin) Alexandrovsky Gardens:
Opposite, the bombastic marble, glass and concrete Kremlin Palace of Congresses (Kremlyovksy Dvorets Syezdov) (State Kremlin Palace), built in 1960-61 for Communist Party congresses, is also a concert and ballet auditorium which holds 6000 people. The building was built at the initiative of Nikita Khrushchev as a modern arena for Communist Party meetings. Although the architecture of the projected building contrasted sharply with the historic milieu, building work started in 1959. The structure was opened along with the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on October 17, 1961. In 1962 the architects of the project, headed by M.Posokhin were awarded the Lenin Prize for their work:
Military parade in front of the State Kremlin Palace of Congresses:
Return northward along this lane. In its end (your face to the north) you face the 18th-century Arsenal, commissioned by Peter the Great to house workshops and depots for guns and weaponry. An unrealized plan at the end of the 19th century was to open a museum of the Napoleonic Wars. Now housing the Kremlin Guard, the building is ringed with 800 captured Napoleonic cannons. Most of the time - you don't get access to the Arsenal:
We return to the point where the Congresses Palace is on your right and the Arsenal (the southern facade) is on your left and your face to the east. We continue eastward, see and tree-lined avenue on our left and behind it - the Senate. The ultimate seat of power in the modern Kremlin, the offices of the president of Russia, are in the yellow, triangular former Senate building, a fine 18th-century neoclassical edifice, east of the Arsenal. Built in 1785 by architect Matvei Kazakov, it was noted for its huge cupola. In the 16th and 17th centuries this area was where the boyars (Russian nobles) lived. The building was commissioned by Empress Catherine the Great to house meetings of the Moscow branch of the Senate, an advisory body that she had set up in 1711, and has been the official residence of the Russian President since 1991. After its construction, the commandant of the Kremlin doubted the stability of the building's large green dome, which is clearly visible from Red Square, and the architect was forced to climb up onto the cupola and stay there for more than an hour before he was convinced of its integrity. The cupola sits above the building's impressive grand hall, which was used formerly for meetings of the USSR Council of Ministers. The building also used to contain the former quarters of Lenin and Stalin's study, under which a secret passage was discovered that may have enabled the Director of the Secret Police, Beria, to overhear the dictator's conversations. Unfortunately, the Senate is, frequently, a restricted area:
Next (more eastward) to the Senate is the 1930s' Supreme Soviet (Verkhovny Soviet) building:
President's Office is under the flag:
South to the Senate is the Senate Square with its police booth - where in February 1905 the terrorist Ivan Kalyaev, a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, threw a bomb at the carriage in which the uncle of Tsar Nicholas II, Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, was traveling.
Nearby is the The Tsar Cannon (Russian: Царь-пушка, Tsar'-pushka) is a large, 5.94 metres (19.5 ft) long cannon on display on the grounds of the Moscow Kremlin. It was cast in 1586 in Moscow, by the Russian master bronze caster Andrey Chokhov. Mostly of symbolic impact, it was never used in a war. However the cannon bears traces of at least one firing. It is the largest bombard by caliber in the world and it is a major tourist attraction in the ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin:
A collection of small cannon north of the Tsar Cannon:
South to the Senate complex - you head to the Sobornaya ploshchad in the Kremlin centre, where the main sights are located. Cathedrals Square (Sobornaya Ploshchad) forms a monument to Russian architecture of the 15th and 16th centuries, and its cathedrals deserve a thorough tour inside and out. Cathedral Square or Sobornaya Square (Russian: Соборная площадь, or Sobornaya ploshchad) is the central square of the Moscow Kremlin where all of its streets used to converge in the 15th century. The square owes its name to the three cathedrals facing it - Cathedral of the Dormition, Cathedral of the Archangel, and Cathedral of the Annunciation. Apart from these, the Palace of Facets, the Church of the Deposition of the Robe and the Church of the Twelve Apostles are placed there. The tallest structure on the square (and formerly in all of Russia) is Ivan the Great Bell Tower, which also separates Sobornaya Square from Ivanovskaya Square. Cathedral Square is famous as the site of solemn coronation and funeral processions of all the Russian tsars, patriarchs, and Grand Dukes of Moscow. Even today, the square is used in the inauguration ceremony of the President of Russia. The square is also the scene of the daily changing of the Horse Guards (a spectacular imperial tradition restored in the 21st century). Occasionally, operas (such as Boris Godunov) are performed in the majestic setting of the historic cathedrals as well. Since the late 14th century, a church has stood at the southwest corner of Sobornaya Ploshchad. The first was a wooden church, constructed by Vasily I, which was rebuilt over five years in the late 15th century by Ivan III. Initially, the Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral was the personal chapel of the royal family. After Ivan the Terrible took power, it was extended and the Archangel Gabriel Chapel was added. This was so he could watch services in the main church, which he was forbidden to enter under Orthodox rules. These rules stated that a person who had married more than three times was not allowed to enter the main body of a church. The venerated icons of Theophanes the Greek, the great artist, are housed here:
Left: Assumption Cathedral, Right: Ivan the Great Bell Tower:
Moscow Kremlin: Left - Ivan the Great Bell Tower. Right: the Archangel Cathedral:
Left - the Annunciation Cathedral. Right: the Faceted Chambre:
Cathedral Square is also definitely worth of visiting from April to October, when the demonstration of the ceremonial of the equestrian and pedestrian procession of the President regiment takes place on Saturdays, at 12.00, in the very heart of the Moscow Kremlin. A hint: try towards sunset when the crowds have disappeared.
The Sobornaya Ploshchad hosts the following buildings - clockwise:
North - the Patriarch's Palace, the 12 Aposteles church and the one-pillar chamber.
East - the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, the Assumption Belfry and the Filaret Annex.
South-East - the Archangel's Cathedral.
South-West - the Annunciation cathedral.
West - the Faceted Chamber, Church of the Deposition of the Robe (Church of Laying our Lady's Holy Robe).
North-West - the Assumption cathedral.
The Patriarch's Palace was erected in 1653-1655 by Russian masters on Patriarch Nikon’s order on the place of more ancient constructions of the Metropolitan and later Patriarch's Estate in the Moscow Kremlin. The Patriarch's Palace is one of the best and rarest monuments of Moscow mid XVII century's civil architecture. The palace and the domestic church of the Twelve Apostles adjoining it make an integral architectural set. The white-stone decoration of the walls of the Patriarch’s Palace is in perfect harmony with the décor of the other architectural monuments in Cathedral Square. The Palace’s numerous halls are connected by vestibules and passages. In keeping with tradition, the ground floor was used for household needs and services; gala halls (chambers) and the domestic church were on the first floor, and the patriarch’s living apartments on the second. In 1721, the palace became the seat of the Moscow Holy Synod. The palace was repeatedly rebuilt in the 18th-19th centuries and the medieval decoration of its interior has not been preserved. The museum, which has been opened here, is based on the Moscow Kremlin collection. It contains objects, which characterize the 17th-century life-style of the top layers of Russian society (both secular and religious).
The Patriarch's Palace and the Twelve Apostles' Church - Southern facade:
1. Entrance to the Patriarch's Palace
2. Small anteroom
3. Front anteroom
5. The Twelve Apostles' Church
7. Altar vault
8. Living Quarters
9. Cross Chamber
10. Furnace for preparing chrism
The Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles (церковь Двенадцати Апостолов) forms part of the same building as the Patriarch's Palace. The small five-domed Church of the Twelve Apostles was built in 1635-1656 by Russian craftsmen Antip Konstantinov and Bazhen Ogurtsov on the orders of Patriarch Nikon whose tenure as head of the Russian Church was marked by the schism that separated the Old Believers from the official church, and by ongoing conflict with Tsar Aleksei. Patriach Nikon summoned the best architects, painters, goldsmiths and stone-carvers to do the job. In two years the palace of the High Priest was not inferior to the Tsar’s residence as regards its size, architectural aspect and exuberant decoration. This was consistent with the Patriarch’s political credo declaring the superiority of “Priesthood over Tsardom”. The site of the Palace dates back further, however. Since the early 14th Century this plot of land had been the Metropolitan's, and then the Patriarch's estate. The Cathedral forms the grand entrance to the luxurious Palace, and was built on Nikon's own initiative - the atrium of the church led directly to the Patriarch's stone cell. The design of the Cathedral is based on the old churches of Vladimir and Suzdal, with four supporting columns, five cupolas, and a high, two-tiered porch on the northern face. Although the smooth, somewhat austere exterior of the building is unobtrusive, the original interiors of the Palace were reportedly astonishingly lavish, rivaling the Tsar's own Terem Palace in luxury and wealth. The church is almost as prominent as neighboring grand cathedrals of the 15th century, due to its placement upon a high podium, pierced by two large arches allowing passage from the Cathedral Square to the patriarch's courtyard. The exterior walls are decorated with two belts of columned arches which reference both the neighboring cathedrals of the Cathedral Square and the great churches of the 12th-century Vladimir-Suzdal school which had been their inspiration. The rigorous outline of five helmeted domes, in keeping with Nikon's conservative architectural tastes, serves to accentuate the church's Byzantine pedigree. The patriarchal residence was seriously damaged when the Bolsheviks shelled the Kremlin in October 1917. Subsequently the church was restored in order to accommodate the applied arts museum. Very little subsists of its original murals, yet there is a delightful 17th-century iconostasis, salvaged from the Ascension Convent cathedral upon its demolition by the Bolsheviks and displaying many fine old icons, notably those by Fyodor Zubov and Simon Ushakov (see below).
The Twelve Apostles' Church - Eastern facade:
Nowadays, the Cross Chamber, the Front Anteroom, the refectory and the Twelve Apostles' Church house the exposition, exploring the history and peculiarities of the Russian culture through the XVIIth century. Precious housewares, jewelry, ceremonial hunting equipment, ancient furniture and items of ecclesiastical embroidery presented here were created by masters of Russia, European and Eastern countries. The majority of items were made in national traditions by Russian masters of Moscow Kremlin Workshops and masters from Jaroslavl, Kostroma and other towns. They represent one of the most important periods of the Russian history that was marked with changes in the outlook and way of living of the Russian people before Peter the Great's reforms.
The exhibition in the Small Vestibule (Inner Porch) shows how the metropolitan’s, and later the Patriarch’s, residence appeared in the territory of the Kremlin.
In the Gala Vestibule, religious and every-day articles which used to belong to the heads of the Russian church in the 17th century are on display: Patriarch Nikon’s sakkos, domestic caftan and Klobuk (headgear); Patriarch Philaret’s bratina (loving-cup), the bratina and the plate belonging to Patriarch Joseph, a silver walking stick adorned with precious stones, etc.
These precious possessions reflect the tendency of the time the attributes of ecclesiastical and secular power vying with each other come closer with regard to the splendor and sumptuousness of their decoration.
The huge hall, 230 square meters in area, has no supporting pillars and is remarkable for its new architectural design and the beauty of the interior decoration. The floor of the chamber was first laid with colorful tiles and the windowpanes were of multicolored mica. Contemporaries said, “The hall strikes the imagination, there is no equal to it in the whole tsar’s palace”.
Today, this unique specimen of civil and religious architecture of the mid-17th century houses a museum of applied art and life-style of 17th-century Russia. This occupies the first floor of the building.
This hall contains articles of everyday use which were designed for various purposes: Old Russian household utensils, articles made by silversmiths and goldsmiths from both East and West, jeweler, a collection of table clocks and pocket watches, some items of the tsar’s gala horse tackle and hunting gear, etc.
The exhibits shown here are interesting as the typical examples of works of art and everyday articles of the 17th century. Hence one can acquire a better knowledge of Russia’s material and spiritual culture and its customs and traditions.
The two other rooms of the palace which have retained their old architectural forms give an idea of the décor of rich living apartments of the 17th century. These are rather small rooms with low vaulted ceilings and narrow windows; the windowpanes are of colored mica. Their decoration was usually bright and multicolored: the walls were upholstered in colorful cloth, foreign fabrics, or leather stamped with gold, the floor was upholstered in colorful felt. Multicolor glazed tiles covered the stoves. Icons were given an important place in the interior decoration. They were usually placed in the “front”, or “red”, corner. Examples of traditional furniture are the broad benches covered with colorful cloth, and the big chests in which kitchenware and other household utensils were kept.
With the changes in the traditional “patriarchal” way of life in the second half of the 17th century, the interior of rich houses also altered. As one of the contemporaries aptly said, there “the old and the new met and mixed”. In a single room, alongside traditional Russian furniture, one could find a Dutch dresser and a German cupboard; portraits of Tsar Alexia Mikhailovich and courtier P.I.Potemkin could be seen on the walls next to icons. A study could have a collection of manuscripts and printed books of the 17th century (among them the hand-written ABC book by Karion Istomin, and the book entitled “A Medicine for the Soul”, and the printed Grammer Book and the Gospel), as well as some pieces of furniture.
The interior of rich people’s living apartments has been recreated on the basis of documentary evidence; genuine articles have been used.
The refectory of the Patriarch’s Palace houses a collection of Old Russian decorative and pictorial embroidery. Works of this original art produced by Russian seamstresses and gold embroideresses had different uses; among them were covers for church vessels, the palls for tombs of saints, and pelenas (altar-cloths) for the icons. All of these used to decorate church interiors at one time. Pearl embroidery and precious stones were very popular. A remarkable piece of fine embroidery work is the pelena “The Virgin of Vladimir” from the vestry of the Cathedral of the Assumption. Made by seamstresses of the Tsarina’s Kremlin Workshops, it looks more like an icon in a gold frame studded with pearls and precious stones than a piece of embroidery.
A collection of icons showing the development of icon-painting in the XVII century is placed in the church. The works of the leading tsar's isografs (icon-painters) Simon Ushakov and Feodor Zubov present the new tendencies in painting. The museum's exposition shows the new artistic taste of the Russian society in the XVII century and the singularity of the spiritual life of Rus on the edge of the modern history.
The five-tier iconostasis in the 12 Apostels' Cathedral was transferred here from the Ascension Monastery, which was destroyed in the 1920s. The Cathedral also contains images of Saints Peter and Paul drawn in the 12th Century, which were a gift to Peter the Great from the papacy. The Cathedral was closed down in 1918, and the ground floor of the Palace and Cathedral now houses the Museum of 17th Century Life and Applied Art, which contains a number of icons from various of the Kremlin cathedrals, as well as furniture and ecclesiastical costumes from the time.The gilded iconostasis of the XVII-XVIII centuries made of carved wood in the home church of Twelve Apostles is of particular interest. It is a wonderful example of carving:
We move south-east to the Ivan the Great Bell Tower (Колокольня Ивана Великого), which shows selected pieces from the Armory Museum. The Ivan the Great Bell Tower is an ensemble with three components. All of the buildings are made of brick, and are whitewashed in accord with the neighboring buildings of Cathedral Square. The tower itself consists of three octagonal drums, narrowing towards the top, and surmounted by a golden dome and seven-meter high cross. The tower was built in three stages over 3 centuries, starting in 1505, giving it a rather inconsistent appearance. is the tallest of the towers in the Moscow Kremlin complex, with a total height of 81 metres. Its heaviest and lowest bell is a staggering 64 tons (compared to Big Ben's 13.5 tons), but it is still dwarfed by the Czar Bell. This church was erected by Grand Duke Ivan Kalita, and was one of the first to be built in Moscow out of stone, rather than wood. During Grand Duke Ivan III’s major renovation of the Kremlin, he hired an Italian architect to replace this church. Construction was begun in 1505, the year of Ivan’s death, and was completed three years later under his son Vasily III. Vasilly also ordered that a new and unprecedentedly large tower be erected on the foundations of the old tower as a monument to honour his father. The new bell tower, completed in 1508, originally had two belfries on different levels and a height of around 60 meters. Because of its height, the tower also served as an observation point against fires and the approach of enemies. A new church, the Church of the Resurrection, was built next to the tower from 1531 to 1543, but already by the end of the 17th century it was used as bell choir stalls to supplement the hanging bells, rather than as a place of worship. In 1600 on the orders of Boris Godunov the tower was raised to its present height. Until the building of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in 1883, it was the tallest building in old Moscow, and it was forbidden to put up any building in Moscow which was taller than the Bell Tower. There's a popular yet disputable legend, that when Napoleon captured Moscow in 1812 after the Battle of Borodino, he heard that the cross on the central dome of the Annunciation Cathedral had been cast in solid gold, and immediately gave orders that it should be taken down. But he confused the cathedral with the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, which only had a gilded iron cross. This cross resisted all attempts of French equipment and engineers to remove it from the tower. During the retreat Napoleon attempted to blow up the tower. The blast destroyed the former Church of the Resurrection, but the tower itself proved to be extremely stable and suffered only a few cracks in the foundation walls. The Ivan the Great Bell Tower today contains 22. Of these, 18 small bells hang in the base and in the middle of the bell tower. Of the four large bells, one is named the Upsensku Bell, and weighs 65.5 tons. It rings traditionally among the largest religious festivals such as Easter, and was made in the early 16th century. Today the bell tower houses a museum dedicated to the history of the Moscow Kremlin architectural complex throughout nine centuries. The historical and architectural exposition, occupying three floors of the bell-tower, is performed on a base advanced multimedia technologies, incorporating real and electronic video series:
Ivan the Great Bell Tower and the Great Bell from the Moskva river direction:
Ivan the Great Bell Tower adjoins the Assumption Belfry, which was built between 1523 and 1543 by the Italian immigrant architect Petrok Maly Fryazin (who converted to Orthodox Christianity and settled in Russia). The belfry of Ivan the Great contains 21 bells — among which the Great Assumption bell (cast by the 19th century masters Zavyalov and Rusinov) is the mightiest of all Kremlin bells. The bell itself weighs 4000 «poods» (a XIXth century measurement weighing approximately 65,5 tons). The ground floor of the Assumption Belfry houses an exhibition hall of Moscow Kremlin Museums. Artworks both from the Kremlin's collections and those of other Russian and foreign museums are exhibited in the hall:
The first tier of the Bell-Tower housed the ancient Church of St. John Climacus. In1532-43, the master builder Petrok Maly added a belfry to the Bell Tower; in the 17th century, the so-called Filaret Annex was added to the tower's northern side:
The Tsar Bell is located opposite the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. Made of bronze, the bell was broken during metal casting and has never been rung. The bell is currently the largest bell in the world, weighing 201,924 kilograms with a height of 6.14 metres and diameter of 6.6 metres, and thickness of up to 61 centimetres. The broken piece weighs 11,500 kilograms. It's believed that if the bell rang, it would be heard at a distance of 50-60 kilometers. The bell is decorated with relief images of Baroque angels, plants, oval medallions with saints, and nearly life-size images of Empress Anna and Tsar Alexey, who was reigning at the time the previous Tsar Bell was cast. The history of Russian bell founding goes back to the 10th century. In Russia bells were used not only for the church service, they played a great role in everyday life, announced important ceremonies, coronations, or were used as an alarm during enemy attacks or fires. People could always understand the language of bells. One of the largest of the early bells was the original Tsar Bell, cast in the 15th century. Completed in 1600, it weighed 18,000 kg and required 24 men to ring its clapper. Housed in the original wooden Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the Moscow Kremlin, it crashed to the ground in a fire in the mid-17th century and was broken to pieces. The second Tsar Bell was cast in 1655, using the remnants of the former bell, but on a much larger scale. This bell weighed 100,000 kg, but was again destroyed by fire in 1701. The bell was commissioned by Empress Anna Ivanovna, niece of Peter the Great. After becoming Empress, Anna ordered that the pieces be cast into a new bell with its weight increased by another hundred tons, and dispatched the son of Field Marshal Münnich to Paris to solicit technical help from the master craftsmen there. However, a bell of such size was unprecedented, and Münnich was not taken seriously. In 1733, the job was assigned to local foundry masters, Ivan Motorin and his son Mikhail, based on their experience in casting a bronze cannon. However, before the last ornamentation was completed, a major fire broke out at the Kremlin in May 1737. The fire spread to the temporary wooden support structure for the bell, and fearing damage, guards threw cold water on it, causing eleven cracks, and a huge (11.5 tons) slab to crack off. The fire burned through the wooden supports, and the damaged bell fell back into its casting pit. The Tsar Bell remained in its pit for almost a century. Unsuccessful attempts to raise it were made in 1792 and 1819. Napoleon Bonaparte, during his occupation of Moscow in 1812, considered removing it as a trophy to France, but was unable to do so, due to its size and weight. It was finally successfully raised in the summer of 1836 by the French architect Auguste de Montferrand and placed on a stone pedestal. The broken slab alone is nearly three times larger than the world's largest bell hung for full circle ringing, the tenor bell at Liverpool Cathedral. For a time, the bell served as a chapel, with the broken area forming the door... Today the biggest working bell is in Sergiev Posad. It's much smaller than the Kremlin giant, weighing only 72 tons, but you can hear its vigorous boom during the tour to The St. Sergius Monastery:
The Archangel Cathedral is at the southeastern corner of Soborny ploshchad. The Archangel Cathedral, built in 1505-08 by Alevis Novi, was the burial church of the Tsars. By the early 16th century it fell into disrepair and was rebuilt between 1505 and 1508 by the Italian architect Alevisio Novi. The Italian architect Alevisio Novi introduced the Corinthian capitals and Venetian shell scallops in the gables. Here all the Russian princes, grandprinces and Tsars from Ivan Kalita onwards had their last resting-place. The cathedral holds the tombs of Russia's rulers from Ivan I (1328-41) to Tsar Ivan V (1682-96), Peter the Great's predecessor. Absent is Boris Godunov, whose body was taken out of the grave by the order of a False Dmitry and buried at Sergiev Posad in 1606. The bodies are buried underground, beneath the 17th-century sarcophagi and 19th-century copper covers. Tsarevich Dmitry, a son of Ivan the Terrible who died mysteriously in 1591, lies beneath a painted stone canopy. It was Dmitry's death that sparked the appearance of a string of impersonators, known as False Dmitrys, during the Time of Troubles. Ivan's own tomb is out of sight behind the iconostasis, along with those of his other sons: Ivan (whom he killed), and Fyodor (who succeeded him). From Peter the Great onwards, emperors and empresses were buried in St Petersburg; the exception was Peter II, who died in Moscow in 1730 and is here.
Exterior: For more than a century the Archangel Cathedral attracted everyone's attention with its appearance. Thus sometimes people said that it was more elegant than two other Kremlin cathedrals and its architecture was even better. Its crown made of the huge ribbed white-stone shells, is amazing. In whole, the significant architectural five-domed mass of the building, the big area of the interior and high arches – all of these were supposed to express the dignity, force and fame of early XVI century's Russia. Unlike the other Kremlin cathedrals, the Cathedral of the Archangel has silver domes, apart from the recently gilded central dome. Like the Assumption Cathedral, it has five domes and is essentially Byzantine-Russian in style. However, the exterior has many Venetian Renaissance features, notably the distinctive scallop-shell gables and porticoes.
The entrance to the Archangel Cathedral:
The Archangel Cathedral from the Moskva river direction:
View of the Archangel Cathedral from Ivan the Great Bell Tower, with the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the background:
The Tsar Tower opposite the Archangel Cathedral:
Interior: Note: NO PHOTOS ALLOWED. THE RESTRICTION IS TOUGHLY KEPT. Inside the Archangel Cathedral - the interior of the church is fittingly somber. The interior is entirely covered with holy icons. Its hall of coffins surrounded by small shrines. It was for centuries the coronation, wedding and burial church of Tsars. It was built by Ivan Kalita in 1333 to commemorate the end of the great famine, and dedicated to Archangel Michael, guardian of the Moscow princes. Though built at the beginning of the 16th century, the Archangel Cathedral was painted only in the second half of that century. Only part of this painting has survived - in the altar and on the west portal. In 1652-66, a large team of artists from Yaroslavl, Kostroma, and Vologda painted the cathedral's frescoes, repeating the motifs of the sixteenth century painting. The 17th-century murals were uncovered during restorations in the 1950s. The south wall depicts many of those buried here; on the pillars are some of their predecessors, including Andrey Bogolyubsky, Prince Daniil and his father, Alexander Nevsky.
1. Western portal
2. North-western portal
3. South-western pillar
4. North-weatern pillar
5. South-eastern pillar
6. Burial place of Prince Ivan Kalita (Money-bag)
7. Shrine of Tsarevich Dmitry
9. The King's Gate
11. Burial places of Tsar Ivan the Terrible and his sons
12. Annexe of the XIXth century
The Annunciation Cathedral is at the southwest corner of Sobornaya ploshchad, where it connects directly to the main building of the complex of the Grand Kremlin Palace, adjacent to the Palace of Facets. The Cathedral of the Annunciation (Благовещенский собор, or Blagoveschensky sobor), the smallest of the three main Kremlin cathedrals, was built in 1482. It was built on the spot of an older 14th-century cathedral of the same name, which had been rebuilt in 1416. This older cathedral in turn had replaced a previous wooden church from the 13th century that had fallen victim to the frequent fires in the Kremlin.It was where the Czars (Tsars) were christened and married. The Cathedral of the Annunciation was built by architects from Pskov in 1484-1489 as part of Grand Duke Ivan III's plans for a large-scale renovation of the Moscow Kremlin.It was originally the personal chapel for the Muscovite Tsars, and (as we said before) its abbot remained a personal confessor of the Russian royal family until the early 20th century. From the time of Ivan the Terrible’s coronation as Tsar, the members of the royal family worshiped at the Annunciation Cathedral, got married and baptized their children there. Even after the relocation of the capital to St. Petersburg, the Annunciation Cathedral remained one of the most important churches in Russia. Construction work began using the existing foundations in 1484, and was completed in August 1489. A number of the early 15th-century icons were re-used in the new building. Due to its proximity to the palace, the church was chosen by Ivan III to be his personal chapel, and a staircase connecting the church directly to his personal chambers in the palace was constructed. Initially, today's Annunciation Cathedral just three domes. After being badly damaged in a fire again in 1547, the then Grand Duke and (the first Russian Tsar) Ivan the Terrible began a restoration of the church, which was completed in 1564. Two additional domes were added on the western side. Many of the church treasures were lost during the occupation of Moscow by the armies of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1612. It was also damaged by the great Kremlin fire of 1737. During the French occupation of Moscow in 1812, the cathedral was used as a barracks and was mostly robbed. It was restored in 1815-1820. During the 1917 Russian Revolution, the cathedral was damaged during the fighting. Afterwards, it was closed by the Bolshevik regime. During the 1950s, along with the other surviving churches in the Moscow Kremlin, was preserved as a museum. After 1992, occasional religious services resumed, including a service on the Feast of the Annunciation, conducted by the Patriarch of Moscow. The church building underwent a restoration in 2009.
Exterior: Compared with the other two major Kremlin cathedrals, the Annunciation Cathedral has slightly smaller dimensions. It is also built in a more traditional style, as it was created by local architects from Pskov, rather than Italian expatriate architects. Its nine domes covered with gold leaf look especially cool on a sunny day. Its tiers of tented gables and kokoshniki (pointed arches) are reflective of early Moscow architecture. The Cathedral was built of brick, with facades of white limestone that are dressed and decorated. There are entrances to the cathedral on the eastern and the southern side of the building. The bronze doors are decorated with gold foil. Tourists enter the cathedral via the eastern staircase, while the southern staircase is the one added in 1570 by Ivan the Terrible. The relatively high entrance is due to the fact that the building was built on the raised base of its predecessor:
The Annunciation Cathedral, the Archangel's Cathedral and Ivan-the-Great Bell Tower:
The Annunciation Cathedral, the Archangel's Cathedral from the Moskva river direction:
Interior: It is absolutely stunning inside ! The interior of the cathedral consists of the central prayer area and several surrounding galleries, with the additions of side altars in the 16th century. Faded frescoes line the stone walls and columns from marbled floor to painted ceiling, their enormous faces and curved figures gazing over the central chamber. The floor is made of uneven squares from extremely rare Jasper. In the basement of the cathedral there is a small exhibition "Archaeology of the Moscow Kremlin." (special ticket required):
1. Northern porch
2. North-western gallery. Temporal exhibitions.
3. Northern portal
4. Western portal
5. Staircase to the kliros
7. King's Gate
9. Southern portal
10. Southern gallery. Exhibition.
11. Southern porch
12. Former sacristy of the cathedral
The northern (facing towards the Palace of Facets) is the first gallery space, which is entered through the visitor entrance. This contains a famous Image of Edessa icon, attributed to the famous Russian icon painter, Simon Ushakov.
The main doors are covered in gold foil, and an internal door containing reliefs depicting some of the great literary figures of Ancient Greece ( see below) separates the Gallery from the Main Nave whose floor is richly covered by small tiles of Jasper and Agate. The gallery is separated by a doorway from the main room, created in the 16th century by Italian architects using a striking azure blue color with gilt floral ornaments. Many of the murals in the gallery date from the 1560s. Among them are the Capture of Jericho in the porch,
Jonah and the Whale in the northern arm of the gallery,
and the Tree of Jesus on its ceiling:
The door wings are decorated with figures of ancient poets and ancient Greek philosophers (including Aristotle, Diogenes, Euripides, Homer, Plato, Plutarch, Socrates and others - holding scrolls with their own wise words.
Detail of the Northern Portal:
Northern and Western galleries of the Annunciation Cathedral:
Southern gallery of the Annunciation Cathedral:
The small central part of the cathedral has a lovely Jasper floor. The 16th-century frescoes include Russian princes on the north pillar and Byzantine emperors on the south, both with Apocalypse scenes above them. Also striking is the altar area of the floor, consisting of sheets of agate yellow-red Jasper, which was brought from a cathedral in Rostov Velikiy in the 16th century and which may have originally come from Constantinople.
Emperor Constantine and his mother Helen Fresco. 1547—1551:
Emperor Michael and Empress Theodora - Fresco on the North-Western pillar - 1547—1551:
Fresco from the "Apocalypse" series of painting on the Northern wall -
1547-1551 - the earth and water gave up the dead:
Fresco from the "Apocalypse" series of painting on the Southern wall -
1547-1551 - procession of the righteous men to the hell's gate:
Framed icon "Mother of God Enthroned with the child Jesus and prophets David and Solomon Interceding" - from the iconostasis of the Archangel Gabriel's aisle in the Annunciation Cathedral:
Behind the altar (where once the sacristy was located) a large silver reliquary containing the remains are of about 50 saints from different places in the Middle East was discovered in 1894.
The following detailed icons are in the main Iconstasis:
Icon of King David:
Icon of King Salomon:
Icon of Prophet Micha:
But the chapel's real treasure is the iconostasis, where restorers in the 1920s uncovered early 15th-century icons by three of the greatest medieval Russian artists. Theophanes likely painted the six icons at the right-hand end of the deesis row, the biggest of the six tiers of the iconostasis. Andrey Rublyov is reckoned to be the artist of the most of the paintings at the left end of the festival row – above the deesis row – while the seven at the right-hand end are attributed to Prokhor of Gorodets. The fifth (lowest) row is pieced by a silver door, behind which is the old staircase to the Tsar’s personal chambers. The Iconostasis is a miracle of Russian art, and its gold ornamentation lights up a whole section of the church.
The main iconstasis from the western wall:
BTW - renowned icon painter Andrei Rublev is buried here. We add this remark - since the origin of the following icons (in the main iconstasis) are (presumably) Rublev himself:
Next door is the reconstructed Red Staircase mounted by centuries of Czars (Tsars) after coronation. Also from these stairs, a young Peter the Great watched relatives impaled during an uprising that prompted him to flee Moscow to found his own capital. It contains the celebrated icons of master painter Theophanes the Greek. They have a timeless beauty that appeals even to those usually left distant from icons.
The basement – which remains from the previous 14th-century cathedral on this site – contains a fascinating exhibit on the archaeology of the Kremlin. The artifacts date from the 12th to 14th centuries, showing the growth of Moscow during this period.
We continue to the Faceted Chamber or Palace and other attractions in the Cathedrals' Square - see Tips 2,3 ,4 below.
From Donskoy Monastery:
Attractions: Donskoy Monastery, Danilov Monastery, Church of Ascension at Serpukhov Gates, St. Nicholas Church in Pyzhi, Mary and Martha Convent, Church of Iberian Theotokos in Vspolye, Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of all who Sorrow” (Bolshaya Ordynka Street, 20), St. Clement's Church, The Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, Church of Saints Mikhail and Fyodor, Kadashi Church, The Church of St. John the Warrior in Bolshaya Yakimanka Street, 46.
Start: Shabolovskaya (Шаболовская), Line 6, the Orange Metro line.
End: Oktyabrskaya (Октябрьская), Line 5, the Brown Metro line.
Duration: 1 day. The two monasteries (Donskoy and Danilov) will consume (at least) your first half of day.
Weather: No rain ,please.
General Orientation: walk along the two main streets ulitsa Bolshaya Ordynka and ulitsa Pyatnitskaya and feel the atmosphere of 19th century Russia: the low buildings, the ancients courts and the numerous onion-domed churches. The two streets are almost parallel to each other and their direction is from south to north. The ulitsa Bolshaya Ordynka is 200 m. WEST to ulitsa Pyatnitskaya. We recommend using public transportation for moving between the two first monasteries and between Danilov Monastery and the other churches around Bolshaya Ordynka and Pyatnitskaya streets. Do not miss the Church of St. John the Warrior in Bolshaya Yakimanka Street.
From Shabolovskaya - it is approx. 1 km. walk to Donskoy Monastery. Head north toward Petrovsky Academician st. (ул. Академика Петровского), 150 m. (Partial restricted usage road). Turn left onto Petrovsky Academician st. (ул. Академика Петровского) another 130 m. Turn left onto Donskaya ul. (ул. Донская), 850 m and Donskoy Monastery is on the left.
Practicalities: Entrance is free. You are allowed to take photos inside the churches. Videos are allowed after a special payment. Please be aware that the dress code for women is strict - covered knees and head (you can find scarfs to borrow at the entrance). After a walk you can enjoy a traditional Russian hot tea with home-made small cakes baked in the Monastery. Open: 07.00 - 18.00 everyday.
Donskoy Monastery was founded in 1592 by the Tsar Fedor Ioannovich and his close associate, the boyar Boris Godunov in memory of the victory over Crimean Khan Kazi Giray and Our Lady of the Don, the icon which accompanied Russians in the campaign. According to the ancient tradition, in former times Sergius of Radonezh blessed with this icon the troops of Grand Duke Dimitry to the Battle of Kulikovo. The legend is that Dmitry Donskoy had taken this icon with him to the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380. The Tatars left without a fight and were defeated during their retreat (they were shocked by numerous arrows of fire). When the monastery was established, Boris Godunov personally laid the foundation stone of its cathedral, consecrated in 1593 to the holy image of Our Lady of the Don.
Commanding a highway to the Crimea, the monastery was intended to defend southern approaches to the Moscow Kremlin. Thus, little by little, there appeared a Don monastery between the Danilov Monastery and the Novodevichy Convent – a new monastic fortress that completed the forming of Moscow defense ring.
In the mid-17th century the monastery was attached to the Andreyevsky Monastery. In 1678, however, its independence was reinstated and the cloister received rich donations, Under the princess Sophia, in the end of the 17th century Donskoy Monastery became one of the major metropolitan monasteries. The New (or the Great) Cathedral, also dedicated to the Virgin of the Don, was started in 1684 as a votive church of Tsarevna Sophia Alekseyevna. In 1684-1698 the the five-domed New or Great Cathedral was erected also in the name of the icon of Our Lady of the Don. The Holy Gates of the monastery (1693) are topped with the Tikhvin church (1713–1714) (see below), noted for its wrought iron grille. In 1713 above the northern gate of the monastery of the Virgin of Tikhvin was built. The Cathedral is surrounded by a roofed gallery made in 1717. Above the western gate there is the bell tower, construction of which was carried out at different times and was finished in the 18th century. A lofty belfry was erected over the western gates from 1730–1753 after designs by Pietro Antonio Trezzini and other prominent architects.
By the early XIX century the Donskoy Monastery had become the most privileged and rich cloister of Russia, which influenced greatly spiritual and political life of the country as a whole. From 1799 to 1827 in the Donskoy monastery there was a clerical and censorial committee. In 1812, the French army sacked the Donskoy Monastery. On the territory of the cloister in 1834 there was a religious school, and since 1909 – also a school for novices.
After the October Revolution, the Donskoy Monastery was closed. In 1922–1925, Patriarch Tikhon was detained in this cloister after his arrest. He chose to remain in this monastery after his release. Saint Tikhon's relics were discovered following his canonization in 1989. They are exhibited for veneration in the Great Cathedral in summer and in the Old Cathedral in winter. The Soviets moved the remnants of many demolished monasteries and cathedrals to the Donskoy Monastery, including the Cathedral of Christ the Savior (see photos of reliefs moved from Cathedral of Christ the Savior - below) , Church of Saint Nicholas, Church of the Assumption on Pokrovka Street in Moscow, Sukharev Tower, and others. From 1930 to 1946, the cathedral was closed for services and housed a factory.
Within the walls of the Donskoy Monastery for a long time there was the Museum of Architecture. From 1991, since the return of the monastery to Russian Orthodox Church the monastic life resumed there.
Donskoy Monastery as a Burial Place:
Donskoy cemetery entrance:
Since 1711, the Great Cathedral's vault was used for burials of Georgian tsarevichs of the Bagrationi family - David (1688), Alexander and Matthew (1711) and Mingrelian dukes of the Dadiani family.
A large new necropolis was inaugurated in the 20th century just outside the monastery walls. After the Russian Revolution, scores of Soviet soldiers killed during the Battle of Moscow. In 1927 the former church of St. Seraphim, situated at the New Donskoy Cemetery, was rebuilt to become the first crematorium in Moscow. Most of the mortal remains buried at the New Donskoy Cemetery are therefore interred in urns. Most of the individuals buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis were cremated in Donskoy burial grounds. In 1930, Bolshevik authorities dug a large pit in the east portion of the cemetery to act as a common grave for the cremated ashes of executed political prisoners from Joseph Stalin's NKVD and Great Purge. The pit currently bears two markers, one erected during the Soviet era and simply reading "Common Grave Number One:
The other one was erected after 1989 and reads "Here lie the remains of the innocent victims of political repressions in 1930-1942 who were tortured and shot. To their eternal memory". Nowadays, there are three mass graves at the Donskoi Monastery Cemetery in Moscow. From 1930 to 1953 this was a secret burial ground for Muscovites who perished in dictator Josef Stalin's political purges. Arrested by the state security forces (the NKVD) on fabricated charges of treason and espionage, they were shot in the city's Lubyanka and Butyrka prisons or in the cellars of the Military Collegium. The bodies were then brought to the Donskoi Crematorium at night and the ashes dumped into nearby pits, each some 16 feet deep, now known as Common Graves Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
Mass grave number three - in use from 1945 until 1953. It is the grave of the latest executions:
A memorial book placed by mass grave number three with the names of more than 5,000 identified victims:
Now, large area of the monastery is occupied by the necropolis. There are buried many distinguished representatives of Russian families, writers, artists, architects, philosophers. The necropolis of the monastery was considered the richest cemetery in Moscow.
Solzhenitsyn's resting place, Donskoy Monastery cemetery:
The Monastery exterior:
Great cathedral of Donskoy Monastery:
Christ the Saviour Cathedral, preserved reliefs in Donskoy Monastery:
Wall and watchtower of Donskoy Monastery:
Small Cathedral of Donskoy Monastery:
Barbican church of Donskoy Monastery:
Archangel Michael Church in Donskoy Monastery:
Church of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of All Russia Donskoy Monastery:
The monastery interiors:
Inside the cathedral is very impressive which is achieved by the carved iconostasis of six tiers made in the end of the 17th century in Moscow baroque style. The Great Cathedral of the Donskoy Monastery became the place where the icon of the Mother of God was kept. Our Lady of the Don was revered as the defender of the Fatherland. Now it is in the Tretyakov Gallery.
Eight tiers of its ornate Baroque iconostasis were carved by Kremlin masters in 1688–1698. The iconostasis' central piece is a copy of the Virgin of the Don, as painted in the mid-16th century. The cathedral frescoes are the first in Moscow to be painted by a foreigner. They were executed by Antonio Claudio in 1782–1785: the first church paintings in Moscow to be executed by a foreigner.
Our Lady of Iver:
Our next destination is another monastery in the south-east of Moscow. If you walk - bear in mind walking of approx. 2.5 km: Head south on Donskaya ul. (ул. Донская) toward 4th Donskaya pr (4-й Донской пр-д), 400 m. Turn left onto Ordzhonikidze st. (ул. Орджоникидзе), 300 m.
3. Continue onto Serpukhovskiy Val (ул. Серпуховский Вал), 1.1 km. Continue onto ulitsa Danilovskiy Val (ул. Даниловский Вал), 450 m. Danilov Monastery is at ulitsa Danilovskiy Val, 22 on your right.
From Donskoy Monastery walk SOUTH to Peoples' Friendship University (Университет Дружбы Народов), 450 m. Take tram 39 towards the metro station "Pure ponds ("Станция метро "Чистые Пруды") - 5 stops until Danilov Monastery (Свято-Данилов монастырь), ulitsa Danilovskiy Val, 22.
From Donskoy Monastery walk to Peoples' Friendship University (Университет Дружбы Народов), 450 m. Take share (collective) taxi No. 339м/349м towards Danilovsky market (Даниловский рынок). Drop off at the 3rd stop and walk EAST (Tulkaya Metro station is on your right) to Danilov Monastery, ulitsa Danilovskiy Val, 22 about 700 m.
Practicalities: for women: take head scarf to cover your head. Your knees should be covered as well. You can buy TASTY cakes or delicious bread opposite the entrance or in the kiosk/bakery immediately left after your entry.
Located a bit off central Moscow - this is more of a monastery of the Russian people and not frequented by tourists. A secluded, quiet beauty.
Access: the closest Metro station is Tulskaya (line No. 9, the Grey line). Walk NORTWARD along the tram tracks and turn right. Go straight (EAST) down to Danilovsky Val, Building 22.
History: Danilov Monastery is the oldest monastery in Moscow - founded in 1282 by Prince Daniil Aleksandrovich, the youngest son of the great Novogorod ruler Aleksander Nevsky, who was the first prince of the then tiny principality of Moscow from 1276 to 1303. In 1591, the armies of the Crimean Tartar Khan were defeated beneath its walls. Twenty years later, the monastery was set on fire by the second False Dimitriy, and the walls and many of the buildings had to be entirely rebuilt. The French invaders of 1812 took St. Daniil's silver tabernacle, and desecrated the church interiors. In 1591, the armies of the Crimean Tartar Khan were defeated beneath its walls. Twenty years later, the monastery was set on fire by the second False Dimitriy, and the walls and many of the buildings had to be entirely rebuilt. The French invaders of 1812 took St. Daniil's silver tabernacle, and desecrated the church interiors. The Bolshevik government began to close the monastery's churches when it came to power. However, the monks continued their work until 1930, when a youth detention centre was established on the site. The monastery was reconstructed, many of the original buildings were either demolished or fundamentally altered, and the monastery graveyard - which included the tombs of Nikolai Gogol and the great Moscow pianist and composer Nikolai Rubinstein - was destroyed. As restrictions by the government lessened in the 1980s - In 1983, the monastery became the first to be returned to the Russian Orthodox Church by the Soviet government. Reconstruction of the buildings began soon afterward, in the architectural style of the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. The Cathedral of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils was restored which also included the Church of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God on the ground floor. The restored iconostasis was done in the manner of the Kostroma school. A major reconstruction project began and, five years later, the seat of the Patriarch and the Holy Synod was transferred here from the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergei. Many of the buildings which are now contained in the monastery are recent additions, including the Residence of the Patriarch and the Millenium Chapel (1988 was the thousandth anniversary of Christianity in Russia). Restored buildings include the late eighteenth Gate-Church of St. Simeon, through which visitors enter the monastery, and which was pulled down in 1920. Its bells were sold to Harvard University, where they are still used - the Orthodox Church is trying hard to have them returned. Since 1983, the Danilov Monastery has been the official residence of the Russian Patriarch and the headquarters of the Russian Orthodox Church. There are also held meetings of the Holy Synod:
The oldest building in the monastery today is the Cathedral of the Seven Holy Fathers, which dates from 1565 and holds the remains of St. Daniil (Daniel), and icons of him and of Our Lady of Vladimir painted around the time of the church's construction. The Cathedral has a complex structure, divided into several parts, including two chapels and a refectory. The exterior is painted white, with green roofs and gold cupolas.
The Church of the Holy Fathers of Seven Ecumenical Councils. View from the north-west:
Also in the monastery and the main church is Trinity Cathedral built in 1838 by famed architect Osip Bove - the chief architect of Moscow's reconstruction after the Napoleonic Wars. It is the biggest church on the premises of Danilov monastery - it can hold up to 3000 people. During the Soviet period it was closed but it is currently functioning and holding Sunday and holiday services:
The Holy Trinity Cathedral. View from the south-west:
The monastery's entrance is beneath the pink St Simeon Gate-Church on the north wall:
View from the north to the main entrance and St. Simeon gate:
Official Residence of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia ("White House"):
View from the west, from the Residence of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia:
Danilov monastery - the bells:
The Crypt Church iconostasis of the Danilov Monastery:
Our next church is the St. Nicholas Church in Pyzhi, Bolshaya Ordynka, 27. It is 2.9 km. walk from the Danilov Monastery (better, use public transportation). Walking instructions: Head east on ulitsa Danilovskiy Val (ул. Даниловский Вал) toward Danilovskiy per. (пер. Даниловский). Turn left onto Danilovskiy per. (пер. Даниловский), 260 m. Turn right onto the Pavlovskaya ul. (ул. Павловская), 900 m. Continue onto Bolshaya Serpukhovskaya (ул. Большая Серпуховская), 700 m.
At Bolshaya Serpukhovskaya No. 24 (west to the Serpukhovskaya Metro station) stands the Church of Ascension at Serpukhov Gates (Храм Вознесения Господня за Серпуховскими воротами). The church was built in 1714 - 18 and 1756 - 62 on the money of the son of Peter the Great, tsarevich Alexei. In 1714 the lower church of the Jerusalem Icon of the Mother of God was built and the upper church of the Ascension (high altar) was built from the vaults up to the center of the windows and covered with a wooden roof. After the Tsarevich was put to death in 1718 construction of the church was suspended. The church was finished in 1756 - 62. In 1842 a quadrangular bell tower with a broach was built, and in 1839 a refectory was attached to the upper temple. In 1930 the church was closed. Its dome was destroyed. The church was partly demolished. It was rebuilt for cold store and then for the dormitory and different offices. The 2-4th levels of the bell tower were broken down. The first level was rebuilt for the apartment. The fence and gate were broken down. In the middle of the 1990-ies the church was under restoration. Old painting was revealed beneath plaster. The bell tower was restored. In 1991 the church was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church:
Slight left toward Lyusinovskaya st. (ул. Люсиновская), 230 m. Turn left toward Lyusinovskaya st. (ул. Люсиновская), 28 m. Turn right onto Lyusinovskaya st. (ул. Люсиновская), 85 m. 8. Continue onto Bolshaya Ordynka (ул. Большая Ордынка), 350 m. and the St. Nicholas Church is on the left.
With public transportaion allow 30-40 minutes ride and walk to St. Nicholas Church. From Danilov Monastery take Tram A towards The metro station "Pure ponds" (Станция метро "Чистые Пруды"), 8 stops, approx. 10 minutes. From the stop at Vishnyakovsky lane (Вишняковский переулок) WALK WESTWARD along Vishnyakovsky lane, turn left to Pyatnitskaya street (Пятницкая ул.) and turn, immediately, right to Bolshoya ordynka (all in all 750 m. walk) until you arrive to St. Nicholas Church Bolshoya Ordynka 27.
Access: From Tretyakovskaya Metro station (line 6, orange line OR line 8, yellow line) walk south 5 minutes (190 m.) along Bolshoya Ordynka. The church is behind the Embassy of Israel.
St. Nicholas Church in Pyzhi (The Church of St. Nicholas the Wonder worker) (Храм свт. Николая в Пыжах) is a snow-white church and a typical five-domed, mid-17th-century church, with spade gables and thin onion domes. It is especially beautiful in spring, when the tulips and daffodils beds bloom around. Very large beautiful iconostasis inside. The Soviet power withdrew about 250 kilograms of gold and silver decorations and closed the church so the original interiors were lost. This beautiful five-domed church was erected on the exact spot where a wooden church used to stand. The main part of the church was built in 1672. In 1691 a chapel dedicated to the monks Anthony and Theodosius from Kiev and St Nicholas was added. Ravaged in 1812, it was restored in 1848. The church of St Nicholas was closed in 1930 and used for various purposes. It was returned to the orthodox Church in 1991:
From St. Nicholas Church walk SOUTHWARD along Bolshoya Ordynka for 150 m. until you arrive to ulitsa Bolshaya Ordynka, 34 and here stands (on your right, the west side of the street) the Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy. Mary and Martha Convent (or Marfo-Mariinsky Convent) (Марфо-Мариинская Обитель милосердия) of Mercy was founded by the Grand Duchess Elizaveta Romanova, an older sister of Alexandra, the last Russian Empress. Both of them were granddaughters of Queen Victoria. She was married to Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, who was assassinated in 1905 by a terrorist Ivan Kalyayev. After his death she sold everithing she had and devoted herself to charity and spiritual life. She opened a hospital, library and asylum for girls. Architect Alexey Shchusev designed the main church of the convent in the Russian ancient style. Today the convent has been restored and is fully functional. Its inhabitants are only female nuns. The Saints Martha and Mary Convent. Built between 1908 and 1912 by the Russian architect Aleksei Viktorovich Shchusev (1873-1949), is considered one of Russia's most remarkable examples of Art Nouveau style. It is interesting to note that Shchusev also built the Lenin Mausoleum which houses the mummified remains of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin. In 1928, the convent was finally closed, looted, pillaged, and desecrated. The frescoes by Nesterov (see below) were covered and the church was turned into a movie theater. In 1999 the Educational Center of the SS Martha and Mary Convent of Mercy was founded, with the blessings of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia (1929-2008), for the purpose of training Orthodox girls as certified nurses. The Holy Protection Cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 2006. It has undergone restoration and now holds regular services. In 1990, a monument to the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna was erected in the courtyard and can be seen nowadays. Pleasant bright place in a noisy bustling Moscow. It is very quiet here, calm and peaceful, and you cannot believe that just beyond the fence lies the wild and hectic center of the capital. Right at the entrance there is a small refectory, where you can dine under the Romanov family pictures. Everyday (except Monday) you can join a guided tour at 11.15 in the room-museum of Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna:
The frescoes and icons of the convent are the work of painter Mikhail Nesterov. Nesterov's works are noted for their lyrical colours, beautiful design and the accessible saintliness of the personage he depicts on his icons and frescoes:
150 m. further south along Bolshaya Ordynka , in No. 39 (on your left, the EAST side of the street) is the Church of Iberian Theotokos in Vspolye (Храм Иверской иконы Божией Матери (великомученика Георгия Победоносца) на Всполье). Church of the Iberian Icon of the Mother of God, which now stands on the Big Ordynka, 39, originally was called Church of St. George the Great Martyr. It is known as wood church from 1625 - dedicated to the St. George the Martyr. Half a century later at his own expense merchant Semen Potapov built a stone church. A hundred years later, at the end of the 18th century, Ivan Savinov parishioner asked permission to update the building of the church of St. George. The temple was completed in 1802. Ever since the church complex of the Iberian Icon of the Mother of God is one of the best examples of Moscow classicism end XVIII- early XIX centuries. In 1993 it was decided to return to the temple of the Russian Orthodox Church:
We change direction and return northward 600 m. along Bolshaya Ordynka. We pass through Tretyakovskaya Metro station on our right and the next block, on our left, is the The Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of all who Sorrow”, Bolshaya Ordynka Street, 20. The church was built during two periods: in 1783 - 91 (the refectory and bell tower) and 1828 - 36 (main temple). In 1688 in this church the miracle-working icon of the Mother of God “Joy of all who Sorrow” was glorified. In 1770 for this church the side-chapel was created. In 1783 - 91 the merchant L. Dolgov ordered to his relative, architect V.I. Bazhenov to attach to the church of 1685 (in place of the old refectory and the bell tower) the new three-level bell tower and the refectory in the style of Classicism with two internal columns and with four-column Ionic porticoes outside. But the construction was stopped and continued only after the death of Bazhenov (1799) in 1828 - 36. Then in place of the main church of 1685 the new church was built following Empire style (architect - Osip Bove). In 1812 the church was damaged in fire. It was renovated in 1814, 1904. The church is a rotunda, cylindrical with two-column Ionic porticoes, semi-circular arched windows, decorated with stucco and medallions. Inside in circle there are 12 Ionic columns bearing a small tholobate of a high hemispheric dome with almost spherical cupola. The round tree-level bell tower with the round windows and semicircular openings for chime is decorated with details of Corinthian order. It is crowned with the dome and cupola with an apple under the cross. The refectory with the rounded corners is decorated with four-column Ionic porticoes. In the large windows there are art forged grates. In 1933 the church was closed, the bells were removed but interior decoration is extant. During the Great Patriotic War in 1941-45 the store-rooms of the Tretyakov Gallery were located there. Religious services were resumed in 1948. In 1948 the chanter N.V. Matveev created a church choir that became well-known:
The icon of the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow:
We head, now, to St. Clement's Church - 250 m. east to the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of all who Sorrow”. Head SOUTH on ul. Bolshaya Ordynka (ул. Большая Ордынка) toward Ordynskiy tup. (Ордынский туп.), 65 m. Turn left (east) onto Klimentovskiy per. (Климентовский пер.), 80 m. (Tretyakovskaya Metro station on our right) and St. Clement's Church (The Church of St. Clement the Martyr, the Pontiff OR the Church of the Transfiguration of Christ the Savior) (Священномученика Климента, папы Римского (Спаса Преображения) церковь), Pyatnitskaya Street, 26/7 is on the left.
The church's predecessors were the wooden churches: of icon of the Mother of God “the Sign” and St. Clement the Martyr (the first record dated 1612). In 1613 in this place the battle between the folk home guard of the Prince D.M. Pozharsky and the Polish soldiers took place. The church was built in 1762 —1774. It is supposed to be in the place of a small stone church from which the refectory and the bell tower survived. The church was renovated in 1900-1902. The church was built in a RARE Baroque style (which, Duchess Elizabeth so loved). It has no analogs in Moscow architecture of the 18th century; it is close by form to the buildings by V.V. Rastrelli, to the Cathedral of St. Andrew in Kiev. The church was closed in 1933. The book storage of the Russian State library was located there. The church and the fence were restored in the 1950—60-ies. In 1990 the Moscow authorities decided to return the church to the Russian Orthodox Church however religious services were not resumed.
The main building is in cubical shape, with two rows of windows, with choirs on four sides. It is crowned with 5 domes. The walls of the main building are framed with double Corinthian columns. The facades are decorated with the two-column porticoes with the bow-shaped pediments. Along the top of the building there are pattern metal grates. It is decorated with the ornamental molding:
Inside the seven-tier iconostasis (the 18th century) with various wooden carves and internal decorations partially survived:
The central part of the main iconostasis. Note the sculptures of angels, quite rare in Moscow iconostasis:
Chapel in honor of Our Lady "Burning Bush":
Chapel in honor of the Holy Martyr the Pope Clement and the Archbishop Peter of Alexandria:
View of the central western part of the iconostasis of the church:
Chapel in honor of Our Lady "of the Sign" (left), in which the first service was held in 2005:
In the top part of the picture - see the side chapels in the choir:
Go up the stairs to the second floor where there are two chapels, and a choir. The acoustics in the church is wonderful, so even a chorus of five people sounds very powerful and moving:
Chapel of Nativity of the Virgin (left) in the gallery:
From St Clement's Church we walk 600 m. to the next church - The Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Head east on Klimentovskiy per. (Климентовский пер. toward ул. Пятницкая), 65 m. Turn left onto Pyatnitska st. (ул. Пятницкая), 500 m. and The Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, Pyatnitskaya Street, 4/2 bldg. 9 is on the right. The church is adjacent to the church of SS. Prince Michael and Boyar Theodore, Wonderworkers of Chernigov (see below). The church was built in 1658 (according to other sources - in 1675 - 1686) on the white-stone basement of the church dated back to 1514. In 1781 a three-level campanile was built (the old bell tower was demolished), the crown of the church was altered. The church was renovated in 1796 and in 1896 - 1904 the western side-chapel was built. In the beginning of the 20th century the porch with the staircase was built. After 1917 the church was closed. Its dome was destroyed. The building was occupied by offices and exhibition hall. In the 1970 - 80s the church was under restoration. In the beginning of the 1990s the church was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. Fromm the 1990s the church hosts an exhibition of rare Russian glass art items. Note: THERE ARE 5 CHURCHES in Moscow with the name of "The Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist"...
West, adjacent to the Church of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist - stands the Church of Saints Michael and Fyodor, Martyrs of Chernigov, Chernigovsky, 3. The church was built in 1675 as a side-chapel of the neighboring Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist in memory of Prince Michael Vsevolodovich of Chernigov and his loyal Boyar Theodore Prince Mikhail Chernigov and his companion Boyar Fyodor, envoys to the Mongols who were killed in the 13th century because they refused to renounce their Christianity (awfully killed in 1246 in the headquarters of the Mongol Khan Baty, the founder of the Golden Horde, for the determined refuse to perform the religious ceremony of the Golden Horde and bow before the Kahn's fires and idols). Legend has it that Batu Khan had them trampled to death beneath wooden boards. Their bodies were returned to Moscow where they were buried alongside the Tsars in the Kremlin's Cathedral of the Archangel Michael. In 1675 this cube-shaped brick building with five green tile-covered cupolas replaced an earlier wooden church. It was closed during Soviet times and used as a warehouse, but has been open for worship since 1993:
Great Russian painting by Vasiliy Smirnov: It depicts Saint Michael of Chernigov, at the camp of Batu Khan (1883), refusing to renounce his religion and to bow to the idols:
From Church of Saints Michael and Fyodor we head westward and walk about 400 m. to the Kadashi church. Head west on Chernigovskiy per. (Черниговский пер.), 80 m. Turn right to stay on Chernigovskiy per. (Черниговский пер.), 65 m. Turn right onto ul. Bolshaya Ordynka (ул. Большая Ордынка), 30 m. Turn left onto 2-y Kadashevskiy per. (2-й Кадашевский пер.), 190 m. Turn left for 45 m. (restricted usage road) and the Kadashi Church, 1-y Kadashevskiy pereulok, 7 (Resurrection Church in Kadashi Sloboda) (Храм Воскресения Христова в Кадашах) is on your left. The church was built with a particular style of Baroque architecture and decoration which was fashionable in Moscow from the turn of the 17th into the early 18th centuries (Naryshkin Baroque). A wooden church on this site was documented as early as 1493. The elongated five-domed church with an elegantly "laced" belfry was constructed between 1687 and 1695. The interior was frescoed in the late 17th century. Napoleon's soldiers desecrated the church, turning it into horses' stables. In the 19th century, the icon screen was restored, the galleries and apses were expanded, and several outsize domed porches were added. The church was closed by the SCommunist regime in 1934 and was adapted for accommodation of a KGB archive. It was not returned to the Russian Orthodox Church until December 2006. There was much media focus on the Kadashi Church in 2010 when Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov ordered the demolition of several old buildings near the church, including a deacon's house from 1813, in order to replace them with an elite apartment complex. The decision was viewed as Luzhkov's latest attack on Moscow's architectural heritage in the interests of building companies and sparked a resistance campaign labelled the "battle of Kadashi" by the Russian media. Moscow citizens call the elegant and tall bells-tower - 'the Candle':
Our last church for today is the MOST BEAUTIFUL church in Zamoskvorechye: The Church of St. John the Warrior in Bolshaya Yakimanka Street, 46. We walk 1.8 km to this church which is close a central Metro station to the Fallen Monuments Park and Krymski Val. From Kadashi Church in 1-y Kadashevskiy pereulok, 7 - we head north toward 2-y Kadashevskiy per. (2-й Кадашевский пер.) (restricted usage road), 45m. Turn left onto 2-y Kadashevskiy per. (2-й Кадашевский пер.), 35 m. Turn right onto 1-y Kadashevskiy per. (1-й Кадашевский пер.), 130 m. Turn left onto Kadashevskaya nab. (Кадашевская наб./Кадашёвская наб.), 300 m. Continue onto Yakimanskaya nab. (наб. Якиманская), 65 m. Turn left onto Bolshaya Polyanka (ул. Большая Полянка), 230 m. Slight right onto Yakimanskaya pr-d (Якиманский пр-д),250 m. Continue onto ulitsa Bolshaya Yakimanka (ул. Большая Якиманка), 750 m. and The Church of St. John the Warrior in Bolshaya Yakimanka Street, 46 is on your left. (Khram Svyatogo Muchenika Ioanna Voina na Yakimanke) (Храме Иоанна Воина).
History: The church was built in 1709 - 17 (according to legend, by order and for contribution of Peter the Great with use of his drawing) in honour of the Victory over the Sweden armies under Poltava (on the 27th of June in 1709). The high altar was in honor of the Martyr St. John the Warrior - Patron Saint of the Streltsy (Tsar Guardsmen) living in the settlement. The first record of its predecessor, the church of the same name, dated 1625 (it was located closer to the Moskva River, destroyed by flooding, moved to the new place).
Exterior: Due to the similarity of some architectural details of the Church of 1717 and the tower of Menshikov some researchers attribute this church to the architect I.P. Zarudny. The church follows the style of early Moscow Baroque. It has several levels. The first level is a large octagon located on the quadrangular building, has semi-domed form with the corresponding octagonal internal cloistered vault. The second octagon that looks like a lantern is crowned with the semi-dome. Both side-chapels of the refectory have cupolas outside. Above the each side-chapel there is an independent cloistered vault with four decks. The bell tower is octahedral (the bells are extant). The church has NEVER been closed. Later to the Church the icons, church plates and shrines with fragments of relics of saint bodies were handed over from the closed neighbouring churches. Brick fence is with the patterned metal forged grate in style of Baroque with vegetation ornament of 1754 - 1758.
Interior: Under the design of V.I. Bazhenov in 1785-91 the over-the altar canopy on 6 columns and four-tier iconostasis were built. The iconostasis was demolished in 1860 and substituted by the new one. In 1928 in that place the wooden carved iconostasis – the contemporary of the Church (1708; according to other sources - 1705) brought from the destroyed church of Three Sanctifiers at Krasny (Red) Gate was installed. It is considered to be one of the best examples of Russian decorative wooden carving of the 17th – 18th centuries.
500 m. further south and we arrive to the Oktyabrskaya Metro station. Head south on Bolshaya Yakimanka (ул. Большая Якиманка), 200 m. Turn right, 42 m. Turn left, 55 m. Turn right, 40 m. Turn left, 90 m. Turn left, 70 m.
Alexander Nevsky Monastery and Nevsky Prospect (northside and southside) :
Tip 1: Alexander Nevsky Monastery.
Tip 2: Northern (sunny) side of Nevsky Prospect - from east to west - from Alexander Nevsky Monastery to the Admirality.
Tip 3: Southern side of Nevsky Prospect - from west to east - from the Admirality to Vosstaniya Square.
Distance: 4.7 km. from east to west + 3 km. back west to east + additional side sights 4 km. = approx. 12 km.
Start: Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskogo I Metro station (line No. 3, the Green line). This station is at the intersection of two subway lines, the Green or 3 line, and the Orange/Yellow or 2 line. TAKE EXIT II. The monastery is opposite the station. You have to cross a bustling roundabout.
End: Vosstaniya Square and Metro Station.
Alexandra Nevskogo II Metro station (the Orange Line):
Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskogo I Metro station:
Duartion: Exploring Nevsky could take all day if you want to. An exhausting day !
Distance: Nevsky Prospect is 4.6 km. So, for both of the directions and poking, here and there, the side streets - allow, at least, 10-12 km.
Introduction: Nevsky Prospect (Не́вский проспе́кт) is the main street in the city of St. Petersburg. In Russian, prospekt means a straight street or avenue. Peter the Great planned this avenue as beginning of the road to Novgorod and Moscow. The avenue starts, in the east, in Alexander Nevsky Lavra (Monastery) and continues, to the west, to the Vosstaniya Square and, after making a slight turn opposite the Moscow Railway Station, it runs westward to its west end in the Admiralty. The Nevsky today functions as the main thoroughfare in Saint Petersburg. The majority of the city's shopping and nightlife are located on or right off of the Nevsky Prospekt. The street is served by the following Metro stations: Alexandra Nevskogo I, Ploshchad Vosstaniya, Mayakovskaya, Gostiny Dvor, Nevsky Prospekt. How many streets in the world can boast of having six separate underground stations? Nevsky Prospect was planned by the French architect Alexandre Jean Baptiste LeBlond, whilst working for the city's founder, Tsar Peter I (the Great). Peter the Great planned this street as the beginning of the road to the ancient city of Novgorod. But it quickly became adorned with beautiful buildings, squares and bridges and became the very center of the bustling, rapidly growing city of St. Petersburg. t least twice, in 1721 & 1777 Nevsky Prospekt was completely navigable by boat due to flooding. In those days this mainly broad avenue was partially lined with trees and the trees were regularly used by Nevsky's residents to dry clothes! Every building on Nevsky Prospect is a monument. Only very few occasional buildings on the whole of the street were built as late as the twentieth century. Nevsky Prospekt's architecture is in spirit with the Champs-Elysées and it rivals the best of Amsterdam, Rome and Venice. "Step into it, and you step into a fairground," wrote Nikolai Gogol. In Gogol's time, it was swept clean by prostitutes doing their early morning penance, prior to them being released to err afresh on the cobbles that evening. Until recently, the authorities appear to turn a blind eye to the elegant ladies of the night who ply their trade around the hotel bars and in the bustling night clubs. Nowadays (Summer 2015) everything is well maintained. We found the Nevsky Prospect perfectly clean, quiet, solid and well-disciplined. After 3-4 years of unpleasant heat waves - summer 2015 shined with comfortable temperatures and all-around polite, kind and welcoming locals. Even the prices were very convenient for us. In contrary to Moscow the signage, in St. Petersburg, is bi-lingual and also in English. Another big difference is that Nevsky Prospekt and SPB city centre retained their uniqueness and were not blighted with towering characterless skyscrapers as Moscow had been.
Elegant city and street. This is one of the most beautiful city roads in the world. All the buildings are very impressive and no wonder that UNESCO has granted the city center as World Heritage. Very nice and lively at all times of day and night. I recommend spending 2-3 hours along the avenue during the night hours. Rich in history, architecture is magnificent and beauty all the way down. Every building, along Nevsky Prospect is unique. Amazing combination of modern extravagance mixed with historical flavor. You can walk for hours and never be bored. It is neat and clean all around and it actually motivates you to walk and keep walking. The only downside - be careful of pickpockets.
Alexander Nevsky Monastery (Lavra) - Russian Orthodoxy with great devotion: the word lavra in Russian is reserved for a monastery of the highest order, of which there are just four in all of Russia and Ukraine. The Alexander Nevsky Lavra is situated at the eastern end of the Nevsky Prospect and can be easily reached by underground (station opposite the monastery) or bus.
Who was Alexander Nevsky: Alexander Nevsky was a 13th century Russian national hero who was given credit for defeating the separate Swedish and German invading armies. He was later canonized and lies buried in the monastery (Lavra), which is named after him by Peter the Great on the (wrongly) purported 1240 battle site against the Swedes. (That battle actually took place some 30 km distant at Ust-Izhora in what is now Kolpinsky District). His victorious battle against the invading Swedish army on the banks of the Neva river at its junction with the Izhora, earned him the nickname of Nevsky (meaning of the Neva), which became the name history remembers him by. Just over a year later in 1242 saw Nevsky gain greater fame in another battle, by leading the Russian army to victory against the invading steel clad German Teutons at Lake Chudskoye. Recognition that Nevsky is Russia’s greatest ever hero comes in a poll conducted by one of its country’s biggest TV stations, Rossiya. Over 50 million people voted by text, phone, or on the Internet during a six month period and the result was announced in late December 2008.
Short history of Monastery:
The monastery was founded in July 1710, seven years after the foundation of Petersburg - by Peter the Great - supposing that that was the site of the Neva Battle in 1240 when Alexander Nevsky, a prince, defeated the Swedes. After Peter I's armies defeated the Swedes at Poltava in 1709 and seized Viborg, Riga and Reval in 1710, St. Petersburg was considered secure. In 1712 on the left bank of the Black River the first wooden church was constructed on the site of the future monastery. The monastery began working shortly afterward. In 1724, a new church, designed by Italian architect Domenico Trezzini, was consecrated. The new church was named for Alexander Nevsky - considered a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church - whose remains were brought to the church from the ancient city of Vladimir, in a journey that took several months. When Peter I decided to move the holy remains of St. Alexander Nevsky to St. Petersburg, he himself marked the spot where the remains were to be preserved. The day the remains were moved into the new church is celebrated each year as a Russian holiday. In 1750 Empress Elizabeth ordered that a silver shrine will be built to shelter the holy remains. The shrine - using an incredible one and a half tons of pure silver - was decorated with symbols of the famous Battle on the Ice fought on Lake Peipus in 1242 and other of Alexander's victories. The shrine was moved to the new cathedral in 1790, and in 1797 Emperor Paul gave the monastery its current rank - the highest in the Orthodox hierarchy - and name: the Alexander Nevsky Monastery of the Holy Spirit. By the beginning of the 20th century the territory of the monastery complex was home to impressive 16 churches. Today, only five survive: the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Church of the Annunciation, the Church of St. Lazarus, the Church of St. Nicholas, and the Church of the Holy Mother of God and the Joy of All Those who Mourn, which is over the monastery gates. The monastery and churches within the complex suffered the tragic destruction of most churches in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution but have gradually been revived with the end of the communist state. In January 1918, the Bolsheviks attempted to seize the monastery and its valuables, but were driven off by determined church-goers, summoned by the ringing of the monastery's bells. However, the monastery was closed shortly afterward, and robbed and looted of its valuables. Happily, though, much has survived, and restoration work has been ongoing in recent years. From 1931-36 all of the churches and cathedrals within the monastery were closed, and in 1932 the Museum of City Sculpture was organized on part of the monastery's territory. The remaining space was turned over to the city government, which soon distributed it to various different institutes, offices and warehouses. After a number of petitions from local believers, Holy Trinity Cathedral was returned to the Orthodox Church in 1955. However, the destruction of church buildings and monastery graveyards continued, and trading in graves continued well after 1959, when it was officially banned. Services began in the Church of St. Nicholas - located in the graveyard behind Holy Trinity Cathedral - in 1985. On June 3, 1989, the remains of Alexander Nevsky were moved back to the Cathedral from the Museum of Atheism which had been opened in Kazan Cathedral, and in the early 1990s the monastery was the center of celebrations of Alexander's life and heroic deeds.
Opening Hours: Grounds daily 06.00 - 20.00. Cathedrals SAT-FRI 06.00 - 18.00, SUN 08.00 - 18.00.
Prices: You can wander freely around most of the grounds, but you must buy tickets from the kiosk on your right after entering the main gates to enter the most important two graveyards (Tikhvin and Lazarus - see below) - 200 RUB. Museum of City Sculpture - 60R.
What to See at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery:
Entrance Gate: entrance is through the archway of the elegant Gate Church (Tserkovnyye Vorota), built 1783-85. The walled pathway is flanked by two cemeteries whose entrances are a short walk down the path. Note: even if there is an open payment booth in the entrance gate - formally, no payment is needed ! The only mandatory payment is for Tikhvin and Lazarus cemeteries.
Mosaic above the gate leading to the monastery:
Alexander Nevsky Monastery and the Entrance Gate:
The Monastery grounds: The monastery and the cemeteries are certainly worth visiting. There is a great, sombre, gloomy atmosphere around. Note this is a Russian Orthodox Church, so no shorts for men and women should cover their heads. Place to witness Russian Orthodox Christianity. Nice grounds with blooming flowers all around. Expect to meet plenty of worshipers activity. The grounds of the Monastery are equally impressive to the compound's buildings:
Holy Trinity Cathedral: The monastery is dominated by the centrally located Holy Trinity Cathedral, built in 1790 by the renowned Russian architect Ivan Starov. The neo-classical domed church is best known for its interior, where you'll find a magnificent iconostasis with gilded bronze gates. Near the iconostasis is the reliquary of Alexander Nevsky. His remains were brought to the earlier built church in 1724. Alexander Nevsky is considered a Russian Saint since the sixteenth century and is also the patron saint of St. Petersburg. One of the few churches in St. Petersburg allowed to function during the Soviet era, the cathedral's Neoclassical design stands out among the monastery's predominantly Baroque architecture. Near the cathedral is a millennial monument celebrating 2,000 years of Christianity. No photos allowed. Do not miss the services held inside, which are deeply moving, regardless of your religious affiliation:
Holy Trinity Cathedral from the southern internal cemetery:
Entrance to the Holy Trinity Cathedral:
Holy Trinity Cathedral Interiors:
The Orthodox Russian praying and devotion are VERY MOVING !!!
Alexander Nevsky Monastery with the Assumption Church:
The Cemetries: In a relatively small area around the Alexander Nevsky Monastery are four historic cemeteries - Lazarevskoe (Lazarus), Tikhvinskoe (Tikhvin), Nikolskoe, and Kazache (Cossack), as well as the Church of the Annunciation - the first stone temple and mausoleum of St. Petersburg and the first resting place for the Tsarist family. Today, all the cemeteries of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery are part of the State Museum of Urban Sculpture. In the 20th century, the graves of many prominent St. Petersburg residents that were deteriorating in dilapidated cemeteries were moved here. The monastery contains the graves of the writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, famous composers Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Modest Mussorgsky, and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, and numerous other luminaries. For many visitors one of the major attractions is the monastery's graveyards, home to the final resting places of many of the great names of Russian culture. The nearby cemeteries are worth and two hours or three of time. Especially the pay for entry Tikhvin cemetery where so many great and world-renowned Russian composers, musicians, writers and artists are laid to rest. The burial vault of St Lazarus is a must visit also. Note this is a Russian Orthodox Church, so no shorts for men and women should cover their heads. The Tikhvin Cemetery (admission fee !) (on your right - with your back to the entrance gate and your face ahead to the Monastery courtyards) contains many of the most famous graves: In the far right-hand corner from the gate is an impressive bust of Tchaikovsky over his grave. When you go through the entrance turn right and follow the path in an anti-clockwise direction . You very quickly come to Dostoyevsky (his grave is surrounded by low railings and his bearded bust is fairly obvious). Continue anti-clockwise following the outside wall of the cemetery. The four big composers are pretty much in a row, along the edge of the cemetery – first you come to Rimsky-Korsakov (a pale-coloured medieval cross inset with religious icons, with a low circular of stones surrounding it), next is Mussorgsky (a simple stone showing his head surrounded by a wreath and with a star above it), then Borodin (music from Prince Igor is written on a gilded mosaic behind his bust) and lastly Tchaikovsky (the largest, with an angel with tall wings, a tall cross above his bust and someone seated reading beside him). If you then turn your back on all those and walk a little way towards the centre you will find Glinka’s grave (with Mrs Glinka’s matching one beside it!).
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov tomb:
Alexander Borodin tomb:
Go get immersed in history!
The other main cemetery, the Lazarus Cemetery, (on your left, when you enter the complex) is the resting place of several of the great architects who left their indelible mark on the city, including Starov, Quarenghi and Rossi. Mainly prominent people were buried here, and there are many different tombstones, sarcophagi, columns, stelae, and obelisks. All are striking in their artistic appearance and allegorical symbolism. Today the cemetery is called the Necropolis of the 18th Century and well known graves include the great Swiss-born mathematician and physicist Leonhard Euler; architects Andrey Voronikhin, Giacomo Quarenghi, Thomas de Tomona, and Carlo Rossi; Pushkin’s widow Nathalie Pushkina-Lanskaya; and many others. More than 1 000 gravestones from the 18th – 20th centuries can be found here.
Communist Section at the Lazarus cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery:
In front of, south to the Holy Trinity Cathedral there is a simple, a bit neglected cemetery with old, no-frills tombs - the Kazache (Cossack) Cemetery:
East of the Monastery - there is a fourth Cemetery Nikolskoe Cemetery with many tombs of Russian famed war heroes. This is a tomb of a Jewish Pilot, Hero of the Russian Nation - Barsht (and his wife):
Alexandra Nevskogo Square (Ploschad) (Плóщадь Алексáндра Нéвского): a tribute immortalizing this remarkable man, is the new monument in the center of the traffic island at Ploschad Alexander Nevskogo, which is just outside the entrance to the Lavra where his remains are buried. This statue was unveiled in May 2002. At the front of the monument is a plaque with an inscription which translates as "Whoever will come to us with sword, from sword will perish":
Alexandra Nevskogo Bridge (most) (мост Александра Невского) - the first, and the most eastern bridge of 4 bridges along Nevsky Prospect. It is also the newest bridge, located at the south eastern end of the Prospekt. It is the longest in the city (905.7 metres) and was built in the early 1960's. It connects Ploshchad' Aleksandra Nevskogo with Zanevskii Prospekt. The bridge provides a solution for the need for high-speed links between new developments on the right bank of the river Neva and the city center. The city's longest bridge was opened amid pomp and circumstance in late 1965. It is not really much of a beauty but is remarkable, at least for its impressive dimensions: