Riga - Day 2 - From The Central Market (Centraltirgus) to The Dom square:
Part 1: the south part of Old Riga (1/2 day) - Tip 1 below.
Part 2: the central part of Old Riga (1/2 day) - Tip 2 below.
Part 1 Main Attractions: The Central market, The Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum, The Latvian Academy of Sciences, Riga Orthodox Church of Annunciation of St. Virgin, Riga Railway Station, Forum Cinemas.
Part 2 Main Attractions: Mentzendorff House, House of the Blackheads, Town Hall Square, Latvian Riflemen Monument, Riga Cathedral, Dome Square, Līvu Square, Mikhail Chekhov's Russian Theatre, Cat House, Saint John Church, St Peter's Church, Bremen Town Musicians statue.
Duration: 1 day. Distance (two parts): 7 km. Weather: any weather. Start & End: The Central Bus Station / Wellton Hotel and Spa.
Introduction: our route, today, starts in the southern part of Riga Old Town and move northward to more central sites in Vecrīga. The southern part is called Spīķeri (from German Spéicher), which have now been turned into a hip arts & entertainment quarter.
Our hotel: Wellton Hotel and Spa. It resides opposite (north to) the Central Bus Station. You have to pass an underway (3 minutes walk) which connects both of them. The Central Bus Station is adjacent (west and south to) to the Central Market of Riga:
We start our daily route in the Central market (Centraltirgus) that will attract you for hours. A great walking tour. Five hangars and outdoor stalls sell a variety of Latvian and international produce, from seafood to cheeses, to meats, to fruits and vegetables. The Central Market is an intriguing combination of sights and smells and is great for people-watching, too. There is no item on earth - not represented in this HUGE market. We saw tens of markets around the world. The RIGA market is one of the best two or three around the globe. No other attraction like this in Europe ! It is one of the most visited in the world, as 90,000-100,000 people shop here per day on the average. The market is busiest on Saturdays and Sundays. In 1998, the vast territory of Riga Central Market was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Here you can pick up a last-minute snack or souvenir to remind you of your brief stay in the Latvian capital city. Every hangar is equipped with automatic doors and you can move among 4 of them without exiting outside. You can visit the market hangars in any weather conditions. These architecturally-imposing food pavilions, built in the 1920s, are Riga Central Market’s calling card. It was planned from 1922 and built from 1924 to 1930. Originally used as military airship hangars, they were later transformed into market venues. The market's pavilions are five of nine Zeppelin hangars remaining in the world.
Everything is very inexpensive. It's a great market to check out and get a taste of the locals, and, above all, a fun stop in Riga.
Still, half of the market stall stand outside in the open air. Many of them are rows with souvenirs:
Onto the hangars - there are special territories for: fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, flowers etc':
Salmon fish products including eggs:
Medus = Sweet:
The open-air stalls are, mainly, clothes and second-hand items stalls and stalls for local small holders with at this time of year: cherries, raspberries, red and black currants and strawberries. Around there are many farmers that sell fruits for little prices (and they are very good too !):
You can also buy a local drink called Kvass from barrels. It is made by bread with very very low alcohol. It tastes a bit sweet. 0.3 Litre - 1 euro, 0.5 L - 1.4 euro, 1 L - 1.4 euro:
Pharmacy - alternative medicine:
The market is very vibrant, rich, intriguing - but, NOT noisy and NOT vulgar. Very suitable also for children. Part of the stall are open during the night. You can find stalls opened 'around the clock'.
Be careful from pickpockets. On the same time the market's administration has determined to take tough measures on sellers that are deceiving customers. There are future plans to join nearby train and bus station into a single complex as well as increase selling of Latvian produce.
From the most southern parts of the Central Market - we head to Spīķeri (the area of the past Riga Jewish Ghetto). You can easily arrive to the Ghetto even with our general hints. Search for the most south-east outskirts of the market and start walking in this directions. Ask the locals about the Ghetto or Spīķeri and follow several poor signposts. You will see the mighty, high-rising Latvian Academy of Sciences or the Observation deck on your left (west) all the time:
The Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum are, formally, at Maskavas iela 14A, Latgales priekšpilsēta. The more you strive for the south and approach Spīķeri - the more desolated, poky and neglected are the surroundings. Avoid this area in rainy or hot days. There is no shelter around. You will hear (during the weekdays) noises of reconstructions and build-up. This warehouses area or barn district on the banks of Daugava between present Gogoļa Street, Central Market, Krasta and Turgenev Street was, for hundreds of years a centre of wooden warehouses and, later, during the 19th century, of stone warehouses (the Red Warehouse district). All warehouses, except the warehouse stretching along Turgeņeva Street at Maskavas Street 14A, are massive two-storey or three-storey brick buildings. The warehouse at Maskavas Street 14A (now, the holocaust Museum) is a one-storey building. Warehouses have arched basements and wooden coverings between floors. Warehouses form a spatially not completed, but monolithic ensemble of buildings. According to special building regulations elaborated for the warehouse district, all warehouses have matching facades, i.e. facades that have similar and harmoniously attuned design. They are designed in the so-called „brick style” – one of formal varieties of the 19th century eclectic style that prevailed in the architecture of industrial structures, warehouses and other commercial buildings. We don't think that you'll have the opportunity to appreciate the qualities of this interesting district. It is under the project of “Revitalization of the degraded territory between Maskavas, Krasta and Turgeņeva streets” . The ambitious project turns the streets warehouses and blocks into a publicly accessible, cultural and educational quarter, of interest to both locals and tourists. The territory is attractive for both locals and tourists as the warehouse block is located in the historical centre, which is included on the Unesco World Cultural Heritage list. It will take years to complete this plan. Within the framework of the project, the entire block of buildings and the Daugava embankment were revitalised and the underground pedestrian tunnel reconstructed, through which one can go from city centre to the riverside promenade and take advantage of the beautiful views of the city seem from scenic river banks. The area is now characterized by cobbled passages, benches, flower pots, trees, playgrounds, a skate park, a place for performances and events, a wide promenade near the Daugava, viewing areas and a quayside – all instead of the desolation that was:
The entrance to the Jewish Ghetto Museum is from Krasta Iela. The Retro Tram #7 arrives nearby:
The museum is FREE (donation is happily accepted). Closed on Saturdays. Open: 10.00 – 18.00. The museum is VERY moving with both of its parts: the Jewish and the Armenian. Not for the faint-hearted, but great lesson to us all. You won't forget this exposition for a long time. A lot of provocative material, leaves you plenty to think of. This museum is mostly outdoors and has lots of information about the ghetto and the holocaust. There's also guided tour in area, but you can also just go and walk on your own. Very moving wall of memorial:
There is an exhibit about the Jews sent from Theresienstadt to Riga called "3000 Fates":
Do not miss the inspiring court with the 'Weeping Willow' (like the one in Budapest Jewish Museum) and the Hebrew letters:
You can go inside a ghetto house and see models of Latvian synagogues on the first floor and a typical ghetto apartment on the second floor.
There are several striking documents and photos concerned with the Jewish Holocaust and revival history - like the photo of David Ben-Gurion (1st Israel PM and the main figure of its independence) as a delegate in the Zionist Congress in Riga:
or the picture of Sara Aaaronson - member of 'Nili' underground group fighting against the Ottoman mandate, assisting the British army conquering Israel (Palestine) during WW1:
The exhibits on the Armenian genocide are mesmerizing. The exhibition consists of video-installation, rare photos and books,and textual information that increases the knowledge on the first genocide of the 20th century, the extermination of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks from 1915 onwards:
A small but AMAZING museum. The Ghetto is a very bold reminder of the evil that people can carry out or cooperate with. In this sense - Riga has a very shameful history.
Our next destination is the Latvian Academy of Sciences (Stalin's Cake), the highest building in Riga. Your direction is north-east. Find the intersection of Maskavas iela and Turgeņeva iela. Turn left (north-east) onto Turgeņeva iela, 160 m. Turn right onto Elijas iela, 50 m. Turn, again, left for 30 m. and the Latvian Academy of Sciences Observation deck, Akademijas laukums 1 will be on your left. The Latvian Academy of Sciences is a striking building, dating from the Soviet era (known in other countries as 'Stalin's Wedding Cake'), but it offers amazing views of Riga. "Panorama Riga" is a circular terrace - observation deck of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, offering breathtaking 360° panoramic views of Riga. Beautiful Stalinist style building. You can find buildings like this in Moscow and Warsaw. Open: daily 10.00 - 22.00. Entry fee to the viewing platform 5€. Children - FREE. Come with the 5€ notes ready in your pocket. Sometimes, the ladies there refuse to give change. Route to the platform via elevator and two staircases. There is an elevator that takes you to the 15th floor, the platform is on the 17th. Stunning 360° view from the top. You can see most of the Riga old town here. You get excellent views on all four sides on the very top of the building. You can see the Old Town, the Daugava River, and other major landmarks of the city from this deck without obstruction and the photographs taken here are terrific. The terrace is wide enough, so groups of tourists or companies of friends can feel free on the "Panorama Riga" observation deck. As you walk round the observation deck information signs help give some background to key buildings that you can see. You can watch the most beautiful sunset or have a romantic date in the height of 65 meters (17th floor of the building). There is an elevator almost to the top, you have to climb only two floors up. The views from atop the deck are better than the ones from the Radisson Blu hotel or from St. Peter's Church. Much cheaper than going to the viewing platform of the St Peter church in the old Town. You also get a flavour of the Soviet architecture and decor in the ground floor/entrance area. Early mornings are not busy and are favored for the sun position. Another favored hour is the sunset one. There is toilet in the tower:
Further north-east we arrive to the intersection of Turgeneva iela and Gogola iela. In this intersection - you see a beautiful Russian Orthodox church. The Riga Orthodox Church of Annunciation of St. Virgin or Rīgas Dievmātes Pasludināšanas baznīca, Gogola iela 9. The original church that once stood here was destroyed when the entire area was razed in 1812 to deprive Napoleon’s army of shelter. The army took a different route. Fortunately, some of the historic icons were saved and now adorn the walls of the current yellow wooden church that was built in 1818. Although it looks like it’s falling apart on the outside its simple interior is still worth a quick peek. Very colorful and nicely decorated church. No photos allowed inside:
It is a 550 m. walk to the central Railway Station in Riga. There were 3 reasons we decided to visit the station. First of all, it main hall is magnificent. It is a very cool commercial center, well organized, air-conditioned, not overloaded and includes many amenities - including the Lido restaurant (where we had a good lunch, see below). Head northwest from the Russian Orthodox Church in Gogla iela 9 toward Turgeņeva iela
200 m. Slight right to stay on Gogoļa iela, 280 m. Turn right at Satekles iela to face the central Railway Station (Stacijas laukums). This was the place to buy our tickets for our day trip to Jūrmala (well, no need to buy in advance). It is a terminus for five railway lines: Riga–Skulte, Riga–Lugaži, Riga–Daugavpils (Zilupe), Riga–Jelgava (Liepāja), Riga–Tukums (including Jūrmala) as well as international trains to Russia, Lithuania, Germany and Belarus. Most public city transport stops are situated in the nearby streets — Marijas iela, Merķeļa iela, Satekles iela and 13. janvāra iela:
In the Central station building on the first floor there is Rimi supermarket. Nearby Iin the Origo complex) there is a brilliant Stockmann supermarket.
The Station facade with reflection of Marijas iela and Satekles iela:
A bit north to the Train Station - you find the Origo shopping centre. We had our lunch in Lido Origo restaurant. Air conditioned. Pleasantly decorated. Always busy - but, you have your own space. 9 euros per person for beetroot soup (pink, not red, tasty, filling, full with beetroot pieces, onion, garlic, parsley, hard eggs etc' - a meal of its own), main course (meat or chicken or fish with two add-ons). Superb meal in a budget price. A huge selection to choose from. You choose your portions and pay for every piece of your selection. Rock-bottom prices with top quality. Very big, clean and spacious seating area. There approx. 9 branches of Lido in Riga. We stuck with Lido during our 5 days of stay in Riga:
Outdoor exposition of Latvian Hi-Tech achievements and innovations in the Railway Station Square (Crawler 'Step by Step'):
Wood S4P Board - 'GG SUP Race 12.6':
Leaving the train complexes behind and heading north-west to the Old Town of Riga - you find Marijas iela on your right (north-east) and Satekles iela on your left (south-west). Turn left to the busy Satekles iela to find Forum Cinemas or Kino Daile (Cinema Beauty) on your left. Generally spoken - a good experience. Average prices. Clean and comfy halls. Not packed with many spectators:
From the Forum Cinema centre we move to Tip 2, Part 2 our our 2nd day in Riga: several famous attractions like: The Dom Square, The Town Hall Square, The Blackheads building, St. John and St. Peter Churches and more. Move to Tip 2 below.
Southwark Gardens, Cathedral and Borough Market:
Start & End: Borough High Street tube station.
Orientation: Circular route. See below our option of combination with the St.Paul cathedral, Tate Modern and Bankside itinerary.
Distance: 5-6 km.
Weather: Mirror-like recommendation to our trip to St.Paul cathedral, Tate Modern and Bankside. Here, the most prefect day will be: the first half should be bright and sunny and the second half can be cloudy or even wet. BTW, the two itineraries can be combined into one, very busy day - due to their short-distance routes.
The Southwark "green" walk takes in parks, garden squares, churchyards, community gardens and other green spaces which reflect all aspects of Southwark. All the gardens are open during daylight hours.
From Borough tube station head north on Borough High St, turn left onto Marshalsea Rd, turn right onto Disney Pl. Follow the fenced-in school playing area to Little Dorrit Children's Playground. Little Dorrit is the main character in the novel of Charles Dickens, who moved to Southwark in 1824, aged 12, when his father was imprisoned in the nearby Marshalsea Prison. The site became a children's playground in 1902. Improvements were carried out in 2001 by the Little Dorrit Park Group, set up by local mothers. As with many sites on this walk, do not drop your eyes from London skyline (especially to the North) - the views towards central London are surprisingly stunning. The garden is featuring a centre piece of a mosaic dove and many beautiful flowers
Leave the playground from where you entered and carry on round the school playing area into Redcross Way, crossing over into the Red Cross Garden. The garden, originally laid out in 1887 on the site of an old paper factory. The restoration included the pond with bridge and fountain, new flowerbeds, lawns and benches. The charming cottages on the far side of the garden (1887, Elijah Poole) were built as part of Victorian philanthropist Octavia Hill's pioneering housing for the working classes. Do not miss the blue plaque in the garden - contributed by Octavia Hill:
Exit the Redcross Garden from the east exit. Head a bit southwest on Redcross Way toward Little Dorrit Ct. Turn right toward Ayres St and turn left onto Ayres St. Turn right onto Marshalsea Rd and turn left to Mint Street Park. Here again, local community people helped to improve the landscaping, access and lighting. There is tiered shrubbery planting to the left of the entrance, with a modern ‘mound’ and seating to the right. The raised beds were created and planted by a charity helping single homeless people in London.
From here 6-7 minutes to Cross Bones Garden/Cemetary. Head northeast toward Marshalsea, turn right onto Marshalsea Rd, turn left onto Ayres St, turn right toward Redcross Way, turn left onto Redcross Way and Cross Bones is on the right. Cross Bones is a post-medieval disused burial ground. It is believed to have been established originally as an unconsecrated graveyard for "single women," a euphemism for prostitutes, known locally as "Winchester Geese," because they were licensed by the Bishop of Winchester to work within the Liberty of the Clink. Cross Bones gates, decorated with messages and tokens. Apparently an ancient paupers & prostitutes' graveyard unearthed during work on the Jubilee Line extension. Now used as a builders yard. London transport who owns the site wants to build offices here, but Southwark council have refused planning permission.
Two minutes further to the north, in the junction of Red Cross Way and Southwark Rd (be careful here - heavy traffic !) you see this interesting decorated wall:
It is 6-7 minutes walk to Guy's Hospital grounds. Head EAST (coming from Red Cross it is RIGHT) on Southwark St. Then turn right (southwest) onto Borough High St. Turn left toward Newcomen St. (Restricted usage road). Turn left onto Newcomen St. Newcomen St turns slightly left and becomes Snowsfields. Turn right onto Kipling St and you are facing Guy Street Park. Once a burial ground for Guy's Hospital, then a recreation ground, the area was re-landscaped and reopened in 2003. In spring, a trail of crocus winds its way through the gardens and continues in Leathermarket Gardens opposite.
Leave the park via Weston Street (the most eastern exit) and cross the road to enter Leathermarket Gardens. Laid out in the 1930s, the gardens are overlooked by flats of the same period. There is a rectangular sunken area with a formal layout of beds and a raised circular rose garden. There is also a quiet garden planted with varied trees and grasses. There is a children's playground and a café, open Monday to Friday. Leathermarket Gardens contains open walking spaces and formal gardens. The name comes from the historic leather markets and tanneries nearby:
Returning to Weston Street, turn left and walk to the junction with Long Lane, passing an archway entrance into the workshops and café which now occupy the former 19th-century leather market. Continue along Weston Street on the other side of Long Lane. Turn right into Pardoner Street and right into Manciple Street. On the right is the Tabard Garden Estate. Turn left opposite Staple Street down a short path between Tabard House and Rochester House to Tabard Gardens. Tabard Gardens is a large local park set within the Tabard Gardens residential estate. The park is much used by local people as a green connecting route. It includes large grassy areas, a wildlife area, children's play area and multi use sports pitches. The gardens are the result of one of the former London County Council's slum clearance schemes in the early 20th-century. The blocks of flats are grouped around a rectangular garden with its original railings. The gardens provide a large and welcome open space away from traffic in an area of high-density housing and offices. There are grass and play areas at either end, and a central wildlife area planted with shrubs and grasses.
Leave the gardens via Beckett Street (WEST EXIT), turn left and cross at the traffic lights into Trinity Street. Continue to Merrick Square. (Private square, open for Open Garden Squares Weekend). This small, private garden square was laid out between 1853 and 1856. It retains its original 19th century cast-iron railings. Holy Trinity rectory, between numbers 16 and 17, was built in 1872. The garden is well maintained, with a variety of mature trees and shrubs. The central beds were replanted in 2000 under the supervision of the Museum of Garden History.
This small, private garden square (Open:Sunday 11.00 – 18.00) was laid out between 1853 and 1856. It retains its original 19th century cast-iron railings. Holy Trinity rectory, between numbers 16 and 17, was built in 1872. The garden is well maintained, with a variety of mature trees and shrubs. The central beds were replanted in 2000 under the supervision of the Museum of Garden History. Leaving Merrick Square, continue along Trinity Street to Trinity Church Square, also on the left (private square) (Open:Sunday 11.00 – 18.00). A formal garden square built between 1824 and 1832 on land belonging to the Corporation of Trinity House. Most of the houses, still owned by Trinity House, have been converted into flats. The church is now the Henry Wood Hall, used for orchestral rehearsals. The statue in the foreground has some interesting folklore. Many state that it is the oldest statue in London, a medieval depiction of King Alfred the Great moved to the square from Westminster Hall. Thought to be the oldest free-standing statue in London, heavily restored through the centuries, this portrait of (what is thought to be) Alfred The Great was moved here in 1822 from Westminster. Alfred became king in 871. He united England, founded St Paul’s, rebuilt London’s walls and drove off the Vikings.
However an alternative theory has recently been put forward that it was in fact the work of the sculptor James Bubb and was made at a similar time to the construction of the church (i.e. 1820s).
Garden square with Henry Wood Hall (the former Holy Trinity Church) at its centre:
Continue along Trinity Street, turn right into Swan Street and continue to Great Dover Street. Turn left and cross into Long Lane. Turn left behind St George-the-Martyr church into Tabard Street and cross over into St George's Gardens. The 18th-century church is often referred to as Little Dorrit's Church because Dickens' character was baptized and married here (see Little Dorrit Children's Playground, above). The church has strong associations with Charles Dickens, whose father was imprisoned for debt in the Marshalsea prison. The surviving wall of the prison adjoins the north side of the churchyard. Dickens himself lived nearby, in Lant Street, lodging in a house that belonged to the Vestry Clerk of St George's. This was during the darkest period of his life when, as a teenager, with his father in prison, he had to work in the 'blacking factory', and his literary career must have seemed an impossible dream. Later, he was to set several scenes of the novel Little Dorrit in and around St George's Church. There is a small representation of Little Dorrit in the east window of the church. The churchyard was opened as a public garden by Southwark Metropolitan Borough Council in 1882. In 1903, when Tabard Street was extended to Borough High Street, part of the churchyard was lost. The detached portion of the former churchyard, across Tabard Street, is now called St George's Gardens. The site of the old Marshalsea Prison, marked by an Historic Southwark plaque, is beyond the far wall. There is a fine spring show of bulbs under the huge London plane trees, and two beds planted with decorative box and a mix of perennials.
Surviving wall of the Marshalsea debtors' prison at the north side of the churchyard:
Return to Tabard Street and walk to the front of the church. Cross the road to return to Borough underground station.
Head northeast on Borough High St toward Tabard St. Continue to follow Borough High St for 5 minutes and Borough Market will be on the right. Located right behind London Bridge. Opening Times: Monday - Wednesday: 10.00 - 15.00 (limited scope), Thursday: 11.00 - 17.00, Friday: 12.00 - 18.00, Saturday: 08.00 - 17.00, Sunday: Closed.
Tips: Try to get there early or late so that you avoid the crazy crowd. Not on a Saturday morning. Around weekend lunchtime, you will be packed in the crowd like a sardine. Free samples are offered to you at every corner. Just make a lunch out of all the samples you get and it will all be delicious and filling.
Foodgasm. The absolute favorite food experience in London, which doesn't take place in a restaurant at all, but rather an open-air food market. It is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London, and sells a large variety of foods from all over the world. 2014 Britain’s Best Market Attraction in the Market of the Year 2014 competition. Borough Market's gourmet food market consists of up to 70-80 stalls and stands. Producers from all over the country bring a range of fresh produce to the market, including fish, meats, vegetables, ciders, cheeses, breads, coffees, cakes and patisseries. Other stalls specialize in produce imported from abroad. Open (full extent) Thursday to Saturday. it's not cheap and you'll want to buy everything you lay your eyes on... This is a foodies paradise. Prices might be higher than your local shop but it reflects the quality and uniqueness.
Try the Bread Ahead Bakery which pours a lot of buzz in the Twitter. get a Falafel (BTW, I found the best in... Israel !).
German Deli for brats and the sinfully bloody good Pork and Crackling with applesauce sandwich at Roast.
Burger patties made of alligator...
La Tua Pasta: buy packages to take home.
Le Marché du Quartier, French Cuisine and heavenly goods
Portena - which sells Argentinian Empanadas and Ginger Pig.
See the new Pad Thai place.
Seafood Paella stand. Thai Green Curry Paella with Chicken & Seafood over Rice.
Borough Nuts: Turkish delights.
Scotch eggs (hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs and baked).
As a dessert: Goat's Milk Ice Cream - very creamy. More ? 1 GBP Macarons (wealth of tastes). Coconut Pancakes (made with a mixture of rice flour and coconut milk).
Here, you can find the Monmouth Coffee (we already tasted in our Covent Garden daily trip).
Hot local cider.
Sometimes, you can find a Demo Kitchen where you can watch chefs, from various reputed restaurants in London, demonstrate different recipes at certain times of the day.
Go towards the railway bridge, turn right into Winchester Walk and cross Cathedral Street to Southwark Cathedral and Gardens. or: exit the Borough Market to Borough High Street. Continue north (to the Thames) along Borough High Street until it meets Montague Place (to the left). It would be a bit difficult to find the hidden cathedral. The Cathedral is open Monday to Friday from 8.00 to 18.00; Saturdays and Sundays from 8.30 to 18.00m. Main visiting times are 10.00 to 17.00. There is no official entrance charge, but there are boxes to make a donation. If you wish to take photographs you have to buy a £2 permit on entrance.
This church became a cathedral only from 1905. Some parts of it date to the 12th century. Many fascinating memorials inside and a 13th century wooden effigy of a knight. There is a window to Chaucer and a memorial to Shakespeare.
Shakespeare's younger brother Edmund is buried here. The Harvard Chapel is named after John Harvard who founded Harvard University in the US. The cathedral has been recently restored. In 2001 Dr. Nelson Mandela official opened major new buildings on the north (riverside) of the Cathedral complex. These contain a library, meeting and conference rooms, a Shop and Refectory / Restaurant. The courtyard leads to the Thames and it includes an excellent refectory with opening hours: Monday - Friday 9.00 – 18.00,
Saturday and Sunday 10.00 – 18.00. Hot lunches served daily from 12.00 - 15.00.
Tip: check out their website as there is a programme of free musical concerts (including harp recitals). Fabulous acoustic in the Cathedral. Terrace overlooking river is lovely.
The architecture is beautiful and the stained glass windows spectacular.
A closeup look at the head of Bishop Andrewe's effigy. The detail of the work is wonderful. The colors are rich to say the least, which I greatly suspect is the result of Victorian restoration, rather than any great skill with colored pigments in the early 17th century:
This sanctuary screen stands behind the high altar. The screen was created on the orders of Bishop Fox of Winchester in 1520, but the statues are much more recent, dating from 1905:
Looking up the south aisle from the south door entrance to the cathedral. The nearest part of the aisle (before the crossing) is largely Victorian, while the further passage dates to the 13th century:
The cathedral gardens are on three sides of London's oldest Gothic church, completed in the 13th century after the original church burnt down. Much reduced in size from the original churchyard, the present garden was restored in 2001 and opened by Nelson Mandela, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was a curate in the Southwark diocese. The splendid East Churchyard herb garden was constructed around the ruins of the medieval Lady Chapel, using herbs which were grown in the Apothecaries' Garden of St Thomas' Hospital, originally near the site. The South Churchyard was designed using plants with Shakespearean and biblical resonance. The churchyard on the south side of the Cathedral is also an oasis of calm and is a favourite lunch-time resting place for local office workers. There are good views from the river embankment to the north. Accessible toilet available.
At the east end of the cathedral is this attractive garden, which stands on the site of a 14th century Lady Chapel and the burial chapel of Bishop Andrewes, one of the scholars responsible for translating the King James Bible into English in 1611. The buildings were demolished to allow the building of James Rennie's London Bridge in the 1830s. The foundations of the chapels can be still seen in the garden.
This striking memorial stands in the south garden of the cathedral. It is a reminder of a poignant tale. Mahomet Weyonomon, a sachem (chief) of the Mohegan (Mohican) tribe in the America, came to England to plead with King George II to return tribal lands taken from his people by the British. Before he could plead his case, the sachem caught smallpox and died. This unusual memorial was erected here in his memory in 2006, using stone from Mohegan tribal lands.
From Southwark cathedral we move 150-200 m. westward to the Golden Hinde ship. Head west on Montague Close toward Montague Close. Take the stairs and turn right onto Cathedral St. The ship is on your right.
The Golden Hinde is a life-sized replica of Sir Francis Drake's flagship, on which Drake navigated the globe in a voyage beginning in 1577. Ship Opening Hours: 10.00 – 17.30 daily for self-guided Tours. Tickets: Adults - 7 GBP, Children - 5 GBP, Family - 20 GBP.In addition to normal, self guided admission, the Golden Hinde can be visited with a special guided tour, led by guides in pirate costume. There are also pirate fun days, and family sleepovers, and Tudor family day options. It was built in 1973 in Devon, and since that date has sailed over 100,000 miles, including a recreation of Drake's global circumnavigation voyage. It is full of replica period furniture, weapons, and nautical gear, giving a vivid picture of what it would have been like aboard ship on the Hinde's famous voyage. Visitors can explore the entire ship, from Drake's cabin, to the hold, where barrels of provisions were stored. A certain amount of agility may be called for if you visit the gun deck, which is sandwiched between the hold and the main deck.
Head west on Clink St toward Stoney St. One minute further westward the Clink Prison Museum is on the left. Opening Times: all year around, 7 days a week. Summer (July – September ) 10.00 – 21.00, Winter ( October – June ) Monday to Friday 10.00 – 18.00, Weekend 10.00 – 19.30, ( last admission 30 minutes before closing). Ticket Prices: Adults - 7.50 GBP, Children ( under 16 ) - 5.50 GBP, Concessions - 5.50 GBP, Family - 18.00 GBP (2 adults & 2 children under 16). The Clink Prison Museum is built upon the original site of The Clink Prison, which dating back to 1144 was one of England’s oldest and most notorious prisons. Quite pricey. Try to get a discount. Might be good with children. A small place.
One minute further westward is the wine bar Vinopolis. Opening Times: Monday: Closed. Tuesday: Closed. Wednesday: 18.00-21.30, Thursday: 14.00-22.00, Friday: 14.00-22.00, Saturday: 12.00-21.30, Sunday:13:00-18:00. Last admission is 2 hours before closing. Mainly, wine tasting experience and visitor attraction. Visitors come to taste the 100+ wines on offer and to enjoy a meal in unique location. Special offer: 31.50 GBP full meal with wine samples - every Wednesday. Regular self-guided wine tasting experience. Upon arrival every visitor receives a wine debit card pre-loaded with a certain number of tokens according to package selected. There is an introductory ‘How to Taste Wine’ session which lasts about 15 minutes. Then you are free to explore the tasting zones in your own time. Simply insert your card above the wines and spirits of your choice, press the screen, and your sample is served. Prices: 27 GBP 7 tokens 1-1.5 hours, 32 GBP 12 tokens 1.5-2 hours, 38 GBP 16 tokens 2-3hours.
We are almost the end of our daily itinerary but, we'll stop for a while in a very famous inn in London. Head south on Bank End and continue onto Park St. Turn right onto Stoney St. Turn left onto Southwark St. Sharp right onto Borough High St and the The George Inn, 75-77 Borough High St. will be on the left. The only example of a traditional, galleried coaching inn left in London. The building is from the 17th century. It was rebuilt after the Southwark fire of year 1676. This inn is mentioned in Dicken's Little Dorit (she is one of our daily stars...). Charles Dickens, himself, used to drink here. Although it functions as restaurant, the in is owned by the British National Trust. The pub/inn has perfect historic, well-worn atmosphere. The inside of the pub is full of history and very interesting. In the summer, expect the inn to be crowded, the yard to be filled with tables and actors or singers entertaining the visitors:
3 - 5 minutes walk further, southward, along Borough High Street will bring you to the Borough High Street underground station.
Centro Histórico do Porto:
Attractions: Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis), Museu da Venerável Ordem Terceira de São Francisco do Porto, Palacio de Bolsa, Praca Infante D. Henrique, Rua São Miguel, Miradouro da Viroia, Centro Português de Fotografia, Fonte da Porta do Olival, Torre dos Clérigos (Clérigos Tower), Igreja dos Clérigos, Jardim das Oliveiras, Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Carmo das Carmelitas + Igreja do Carmo, Praça de Gomes Teixeira, Praça / Jardim de Carlos Alberto.
Start: Sao Beneto Metro station (the yellow line).
End: Praca de Carlos Alberto.
Orientation: Our day is in the historic centre of Porto, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Other sites in the historic centre are explored also in other itineraries of Porto.
Duration: 1 day.
Note: The itineraries " Around Porto Cathedral" and "From Moistero Serra do Pillar to Praca da Batalha" include, other sites of Porto Centro Storico. The itinerary of "From Moistero Serra do Pillar to Praca da Batalha" passes through several sites of this blog (Torre dos Clerigos, Praca de Carlos Alberto) but covers attractions not mentioned in this one (like Livraria Lello). Do not underestimate "From Moistero Serra do Pillar to Praca da Batalha" route: it "covers" several outstanding sites like: Ponte Luis I, Rua de Santa Catarina and Livraria Lello.
From Sao Beneto station head north on Av. Dom Afonso Henriques toward R. Corpo da Guarda, 20 m. Turn left onto R. Mouzinho da Silveira
550 m. Turn right onto Rua do Infante D. Henrique and the Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis) will be on the right.
From the outside, this 13th century Gothic construction looks rather plain and lacking in architectural grandeur. But, step into the church and you’ll be gobsmacked by its extravagant and opulent interior. The church of São Francisco's Gothic exterior reflects the modest, earthy mentality of the Franciscan order, while the extreme wealth of the patrons influenced the interior's gilded styling. Certainly, this is the most extraordinary church interior in Porto and all of Portugal.
Climb the stairs and look backward to see the Douro river behind:
The Igreja de São Francisco (Church of Saint Francis) is the most famous and prominent Gothic monument in Porto. It is well noted for its outstanding Baroque inner decoration. The Franciscan Order was established in Porto around 1223. They began building the convent and a first, small church dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi around 1244. In 1383, under the patronage of King Ferdinand I, the Franciscans began to build a more spacious church. This new structure was finished around 1425 and followed a relatively plain Gothic design. The general structure of the church has not been extensively altered, making São Francisco the best example of Gothic architecture in Porto. During the 15th and 16th centuries, prominent Porto families chose the Franciscan for their pantheon. The Chapel of St John the Baptist is a notable example, built in the 1530s for the Carneiro family in Manueline style, the Portuguese late Gothic. In the first half of the 18th century, most of the surfaces of the interior of the church, including walls, pillars, side chapels and roof, were covered with Portuguese gilt wood work (talha dourada) in Baroque style. Particularly notable are the many Baroque altarpieces of the apse chapels and the nave, which are among the best in Portugal. A fire, caused by the siege of Porto in 1832, destroyed the old cloisters. In its place, the Commercial Association of the city built the Stock Exchange Palace (Palácio da Bolsa), a magnificent example of 19th century Neoclassical architecture. 3.50 euros, fee includes catacombs and museum. No photos allowed - but visitors ignore the instructions...
Open: Nov-Feb 09.00 - 18.00, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Oct 09.00 - 19.00, Jul, Aug, Sep 09.00 - 20.00, Closed: 25 Dec.
The main façade of the Franciscan church has a large, elaborate rose window in Gothic style. This is the only original decoration of the main façade. The West portal is now a typical Baroque work, organised in two tiers, with solomonic columns and a statue of St Francis:
The South portal, facing the river, is still Gothic. The portal is stepped forward from the facade and has a triangular gable decorated with a pentagram. The opening is composed of a series of Gothic archivolts; the inner moulding is decorated with an arcade relief of Mudéjar (Islamic influenced) design:
Today, the church interior bedecked with luxurious gilded carvings and they are probably the most impressive and stunning in all of Portugal. On entering the church a statue of St. Francis of Assisi stands in an alcove on the right.
Whilst the Tree of Jesse is the main and the most important sightseeing attraction in São Francisco, there are many other interesting altars and chapels that should not be missed. The wood carvings inside the church are phenomenal !!! There is gold on the ceilings, alters, posts, statues, and just about everywhere but the floor. It is quite a dark church and a real treat on a hot day as it is cool inside..:
The most famous altarpiece of the Church of São Francisco is the “Tree of Jesse”, from 1718. The piece represented all generations of Jesse and king David to Jesus Christ. São Francisco’s Tree of Jesse was carved between 1718 and 1721. A popular Bible teaching during that time was Christ’s genealogy, in particular, showing his descent from the Kings of Judah and Israel. Before literacy was common amongst people, these teachings were very often expressed as biblical events in stained-glass windows or elaborate carvings such as the Tree of Jesse. The Tree of Jesse is believed to have been adapted from an earlier piece of work. Carved in multi-colored wood, it shows the figures of the twelve Kings of Judah connected by the branches of the tree which sprouts from a reclining Jesse of Bethlehem. At the top of the tree is Jesus Christ with the Virgin Mary and Joseph. This polychromed woodwork was carved by Filipe da Silva and Antonio Gomes:
On the third leg of the church, an altarpiece carved white and gold invocation to St. Louis King of France on the Epistle side and St. Margaret Cortona on the Gospel side:
Accessed the side doors of the nave - the Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows:
Downstairs you can visit the crypt the tombs of local citizens, mostly from 19th century. Below the church's three interior chapels, catacombs hold tombs for members of the Franciscan order as they await judgment day. Discreetly tucked in a corner of the crypt, in front of an hellish door to nowhere lies a glass, grated window in the floor allowing visitors to view the piles of human bones below their feet.
Museu da Venerável Ordem Terceira de São Francisco do Porto:
House of Dispatch (Casa do Despacho) - Sessions room with wooden ceiling:
The Saint Mother - Portuguese School , 16-17th century:
Exit San Francisco church to Rua do Infante Dom Henrique and turn left (north) to Rua Ferreira Borges passing through Palacio de Bolsa on your left and Praca Infante D. Henrique on your right (browsed at the "Ribeira (Porto Riverfront): From Rua da Bainharia to Praca da Ribeira" blog / itinerary):
We climb the whole road of Rua Ferreira Borges. Note at No. 57 an interesting ceramics shop:
At the end we turn left to Rua de Belmonte. From here we practice a few steep climbs. On your left Teatro de Marionetas do Porto, Rua das Flores 22. Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 11.00 - 13.00, 14.00 - 18.00. 3 euros. See current events at: http://marionetasdoporto.pt/ .
In the next intersection we choose the right "leg" of the steep climbing Rua das Taipas. Turn left to Rua São Miguel. The street of San Miguel was one of the main streets of the Jewish Quarter created in 1386 by order of king Joao I. This was the fourth, the last and most famous Jewish quarter of Porto and has existed for 111 years, between 1386 and 1496. Situated within the perimeter walls of the in the Muralhas Fernandinas (medieval, outer walls of Porto) in the space of the Vitoria quarter. By command of King Manuel I in 1496, the Portuguese Jews were forced, within a year, to convert to Christianity or leave the country. This resulted in the fact that the area of the former Jewish quarter was almost deserted. At the top end of Rua São Miguel stands Paroquia De Nostra Senhora da Vitoria:
Before you enter the church look, on your left, at house No. 4 to see the beautiful ceramic tiles. During the Siege of Porto, to avoid vandalism and looting that has undergone the Monastery of São Bento da Vitória, were removed some tiles that represent episodes from the life of Our Lady and of everyday life in general, and placed in front of the House in the Street São Miguel, in the n. ° 4, classified as a Public Interest:
At the end of Rua São Miguel turn right to Miradouro da Viroia to have a wonderful lookout over the Se' - Cathedral of Porto:
over Ponte Luis I:
Over Vila Nova de Gaia:
Bend slightly LEFT and continue climbing along Rua São Bento da Vitória. Pass Travessa São Bento on your left. Further, you pass Centro Português de Fotografia (CDF) on your left. Free entrance to the exhibitions centre. TUE - FRI 10.00 - 12.30 / 14.00 - 18.00. SAT and SUN and holidays: 15.00 - 19.00. The house was, originally, a prison (ceased being used as a prison in the 1970s) and is very impressive. Huge walls and enormous fences. There are also some wonderful views of Porto from the upper floors (albeit through windows with the old prison bars). The inner courtyard is used, Sundays summer mornings, for singing birds market (!). An excellent collection of old cameras. Temporary exhibitions changing every several weeks.
Nearby (in the square) is the Fonte da Porta do Olival. This fountain is located near one of the most iconic landmarks of Porto: Torre dos Clérigos:
Continue walking up along Rua São Bento da Vitória. Pass Rua dos Caldeireiros and Rua de Trás on your right, and TURN RIGHT to the narrow Rua da Assunção to face Torre dos Clérigos (Clérigos Tower), Rua Senhor Filipe de Nery. This great structure has become the symbol of the city. The Clérigos Church (Church of the Clergymen) is a Baroque church. The Clérigos Church was one of the first baroque churches in Portugal to adopt a typical baroque elliptic floorplan. The altarpiece of the main chapel, made of polychromed marble, was executed by Manuel dos Santos Porto. Construction of the church began in 1732 and was finished around 1750, while the monumental divided stairway in front of the church was completed in the 1750s. The main façade of the church is heavily decorated with Baroque motifs and was based on an early 17th-century Roman scheme. The central frieze above the windows present symbols of worship and an incense boat. The lateral façades reveal the almost elliptic floor plan of the church nave. The church was built for the Brotherhood of the Clérigos (Clergy) by Nicolau Nasoni, an Italian architect and painter who left an extensive work in the north of Portugal during the 18th century. In Porto, Nicolau Nasoni was also responsible for the construction of the Misericórida Church, the Archbishop's Palace and the lateral loggia of Porto Cathedral. He entered the Clérigos Brotherhood and was buried, at his request, in the crypt of the Clérigos Church, with the exact place remaining unknown.
The monumental tower of the church, located at the back of the building, was only built between 1754 and 1763. The tower is 75.6 metres high, dominating the city. There are 240 steps to be climbed to reach the top of its six floors.
If you want to see the beauty of Porto - you must climb to the top of "Torre dos Clérigos". It is one of the main attractions of Porto and it is beautiful. The climb is quite demanding. There is a 360º view of the city itself and the building is ancient and awesome inside and outside. Ticket: 3 euros.
See the sub-ordinate Tip about "Climbing the Torre dos Clerigos".
Walk down further a few steps along Rua Senhor Filipe de Nery to look at the Igreja dos Clérigos:
Return west along Rua Senhor Filipe de Nery back to Praca de Lisboa. With your back to the tower - on your right (north-west to the tower) is the Jardim das Oliveiras with the statue of the Bishop of Porto:
Cross from south to north the sophisticated Rua do Doutor Ferreira da Silva - lined with cafe's, boutiques and souvenirs stalls. Turn back to take another photo of the Torre dos Clerigos:
Walk along the Praça de Gomes Teixeira square from east to west (heading LEFT). Opposite you stands Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Carmo das Carmelitas glued with the adjacent Carmo church (Igreja do Carmo). with wonderful exterior ceramic tiles (Azulejos). With the face to both of them - the Carmelitas church is on the left (west) and the Carmo church is on the right (east). Its construction began in 1616 and was completed in 1628. The interior decoration had been completed only in 1650. The church belonged to the Carmelites convent. It was classified as a National Monument in 2013 and now occupied by the National Guard. The facade of granite ashlar, has three entries with round arches, surmounted by an equal number of niches with images of St. Joseph, St. Teresa of Jesus and Our Lady of Mount Carmel to the center. It has a bell tower on the left, clad in monochrome tiles of blue color, topped by a dome-shaped bulb.
The interior of the Church of the Carmelites is a Latin cross plan with a single nave with six side chapels and a narthex at the entrance. The sun coming from the south highlights the great gilded, Baroque and Rrococo style side-chapels and the altar. The design of the main altarpiece is the work of Joaquim Teixeira Guimarães and the execution of José Teixeira Guimarães.
The Carmo Church or Church of the Venerable Third Order of Our Lady of MountCarmel is closer is with Baroque / Rococo style and was built in the second half of the eighteenth century, between 1756 and 1768. It was designed by the architect José Figueiredo Seixas. This church is twinned with the Church of the Carmelites, the east side, forming one volume, though differing the two churches. It was also classified as a National Monument in 2013, in conjunction with the Church of the Carmelites.
The square with the fountain adjacent to the twin churches is Praça de Gomes Teixeira - popularly known as the Lions Square. It was called "Carmo Square" until 1835, the year that, by city council resolution, happened to be called "Square of volunteers Queen" and later changed to "University Square". In 1936 Porto Council adopted its current name in honor of Francisco Gomes Teixeira, an eminent mathematician and university professor. However, because of the Fountain of Lions, the broad square is commonly known as "Square of Lions".
Building of the University of Porto Rectory (Edifício Histórico da Universidade do Porto) in the square:
With your back to the Carmo and Carmelitas churches turn twice left. Coming from Praça de Gomes Teixeira turn RIGHT (north) to Rua Carlos Alberto. In the end of this road is Praça de Carlos Alberto and Jardim de Carlos Alberto. The name of the square is attributed to Charles Albert, King of Piedmont and Sardinia, which, thrown from his throne in 1849, sought refuge in the city of Porto. In the twentieth century, in year 1928, was inaugurated in the Praca de Carlos Alberto the Monument to the deads of the Great War (WW I), designed by Henrique Moreira - succeeding an earlier statue that did not match the taste of the Portuenses.
On May 14, 1958, about 200,000 people waited General Humberto Delgado, candidate for the presidency of the republic, on the Sao Bento train station, and accompanied him In a parade to Carlos Alberto Square, above the Luso Café. Therein, in his speech, said: "My heart will be at Porto". It was the biggest flood of people ever seen in this square. Monument in honor of General Humberto Delgado, by the sculptor José Rodrigues, inaugurated on May 14, 2008:
In 2006, the "Quarter of Carlos Alberto" was selected by Porto Vivo project and the Urban Rehabilitation Society as its first urban unit to be restored rehabilitated in an effort to engage more people and commerce to downtown Porto. Every Saturday the Praca / Jardim de Carlos Alberto functions as an hub for Mercado Porto Belo (MPB): vintage, antiques, handicrafts, second-hand items, old books and newspapers, art and bio-food. Open: Saturdays 12.00 - 19.00.
Sant Pau Recinte Modernista Hospital, Guinardó, Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167. 10-20 minutes walk from the Sagrada Familia (if you are not tired or overflowing with emotions after the Basilica). This is an excellent sight to visit while in Barcelona and easily done in the same day as Sagrada Familia, which is visible from the southwest corner of the hospital, down Avenue Gaudi.
Duration: allow 3 hours for the visit. Queuing up will take 30-45 minutes in the busy summer mornings. Not overcrowded.
Public transport: Metro: L5 (Blue Line) Sant Pau / Dos de Maig. Buses: H8, 19, 20, 45, 47, 50, 51, 92, 117, 192. Opening hours: for for self-guided visit: November – March: MON - SAT: 09.30 - 16.30, SUN and holidays: 09.30 - 14.30. April – October: MON - SAT: 09.30 - 18.30, SUN and holidays: 09.30 - 14.30. Guided visits in English: MON - FRI: 10.30, SAT - SUN: 10.30, French: 11.00. Closing days: 1st and 6th January, 25th December. Prices: adult - Self-guided visit: 13 €, Guided visit: 19 €, Audio guide: 3 €. Guided tours start at the main Administration Pavilion and include visits to the network of underground tunnels connecting pavilions and to the gardens. Concessions: ages 12 to 29, over 65, Targeta Rosa Reduïda cardholders, people with a degree of disability: Self-guided visit: 9,10 €, Guided visit: 13,3 €. FREE admission: children under 12 (accompanied by an adult), unemployed, teachers, Targeta Rosa Gratuïta cardholders, people with a degree of disability and their companion. FREE entrance dates: 12th February, 23rd April, 24th September, first Sunday of the month (only self-guided visits). 20% off: BCN Card, Bus Turístic, City Tours, Carnet BCN Cultural. 50% off: Ruta del Modernisme / Barcelona Modernisme Route, Carnet Jove (only self-guided visit).
Introduction: The largest display of Art Nouveau anywhere on earth. It is organized as a "village" or collective group of buildings - each carrying out specialist medical responsibility, discipline and activities. Art Nouveau (known in Barcelona as Modernista or Modernisme) is characterized by the revival of Gothic forms with modern materials and the addition of natural/organic shapes. The buildings themselves are very colorful and built to be light and airy reflecting positive energy on the treated patients and the personnel and lifting their spirits. It is so far from the rather bland interiors of regular, modern hospital facilities. Very impressive Modernista buildings designed by the genius Lluis Domenech i Montaner (who designed also the Palau de la Musica) with lots of Art Nouveau details in the tiles, the sculptured figures, along the exteriors, the detailed ceilings, archways, flower-beds, grass spaces and trees. The gardens and brilliant decor were meant to be therapeutic for the hospital patients. You can take your picnic among the buildings. Only a handful of buildings are open for viewing the interior. There are interesting exhibits in a few of the buildings and tunnel areas. One exhibit shows old medical instruments. Another exhibit shows old photos of the area before it was developed. Exceptional, unique and amazing place. You will be blown away by the architecture. Like the Sagrada Familia - it leaves you breathless and astonished. In the SF the architecture goes hand-in-hand with the religion. Here, it goes hand-in-hand with the humanity and rehabilitation.
As practical information it is worth to indicate that the visitor has toilets in more than one pavilion, and various drinking fountains and benches in the courtyard of the Art Nouveau Site of Sant Pau.
History: The Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau came into being in 1401 with the merging of six hospitals in the city of Barcelona at that time. Santa Creu, the Hospital of the Holy Cross, as it was called in those days, was right in the centre of the city, in what is now the Raval district, in one of the most important examples of Catalan Civil Gothic architecture. By the late 19th century, the old Hospital de la Santa Creu in Barcelona's Raval neighbourhood needed to be relocated because it had become obsolete and too small. Thanks to the bequest of the Catalan banker Pau Gil, the first stone of the new hospital, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, was laid on 15 January 1902. The last part of the hospital's name, "Sant Pau", was added in honour of the banker, Pau Gil. The new hospital had been built between 1910 (another version: 1905) and 1930.
An excellent designer, a devoted political leader and a respected teacher among other activities he carried during his life, Lluis Domènech i Montaner (1850-1923) merged his values and convictions based on solid historical knowledge together all kinds of disciplines and a deep commitment with society during his career as an architect in his unique buildings.
Sant Pau is a hospital complex opened in 1910. It was a hospital from 1910 to 2009. Alfonso XIII, the king of Spain, opened the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in January 1930. The compound housed the ‘garden city Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (one of Europe's oldest healthcare centres) for more than eight decades. This ambitious project was, always, inspired by breakthroughs in health and hygiene at the time. It is important to remember that this institution had always been associated with charitable work, advanced inspiration, welfare and the latest discoveries in healthcare. In 2003, a new hospital building was established to the north of the Domènech i Montaner's Modernista site. Almost all the pavilions and departments were moved out. It was closed in 2009 and over the last few year was restored to it's full glory. It was opened as a museum and cultural center in late 2014. This is also Unesco World Heritage site from 1997.
The main building is dedicated to the hospital administration and the 27 pavilions are dedicated to the serve as clinics. All the different buildings are connected by underground galleries, prepared for transporting the patients.
The main entrance to the complex is made by the Administration Pavilion. The main entrance building has the most decorative and ornate works so make sure you have your camera ready while queuing-up or, immediately after entrance. The interior of the main building is stunning - ornate ceilings with beautiful windows and tile work. Make sure you check out the view of the Sagrada Familia from the stained glass windows upstairs.
The exterior of the building is adorned with statues depicting significant figures in the history of the hospital and Barcelona, including Isabel and Count Ramon Berenguer I, Saint Margaret, and Saint Eulàlia, patron saint of Barcelona.
Upon entering, we find a small room with panels explaining each of the buildings that make up the whole hospital. To better understand the space, we can see a small model right next to the panels that shows all buildings, towers and gardens in great detail. Before starting the visit, also take the time to stand a few minutes and watch the short video that is projected on one of the room's walls. The video helps understand the importance of the hospital for both Barcelona and for universal medical evolution:
Entrance Hall in Hospital de Sant Pau Administration Building:
Hallway in Administration Building:
Dome over the main staircase in the administration pavilion:
Lluís Domènech i Montaner Room – located in the Administration Building, this impressive chamber is decorated with large stained glass windows, ceramic tiles, mosaics, sculptures, stone balusters in the shape of Gothic letters, and a painting by Moderniste artist Aleix Clapés depicting the transfer of the remains of Saint Eulàlia:
Pau Gil Room – this room, also located in the Administration Building, features ornate columns and colorful ceramic-tiled vaulted ceilings:
There are six buildings and underground tunnels that are open to the public are certainly worth a visit. Each pavilion bearing the name of a saint or holy, includes his sculpture guarding the main facade. Very close to the Administration Pavilion doors there is map like a small model of the site, where you can see how the pavilions on the left are named after female saints while those on the right are male.
Sant Jordi Pavilion – this small pavilion adjacent to the Administration building, served as the hospital’s examination and observation ward; the tiled walls aided with disinfection efforts. The pavilion is now used for exhibitions. This is really worth exploring to understand each of the elements of ornamentation and the process of construction and rehabilitation during this period. Right at the end, we can also read a little more about the work and character of the architect to understand his great contribution to Catalan modernist heritage:
The Sant Salvador Pavilion takes you on a journey through the history of medicine in Barcelona and one of Europe's oldest healthcare institutions. With Sant Salvador Pavilion you start the recommended route around the outdoor spaces of this magnificent Art Nouveau site, that reproduces the garden city model, designed in the early 20th century.
You can also enter the Sant Rafael Pavilion and see its interior exactly as it was designed at the start of the 20th century. Sant Rafael Pavilion, built between 1914 and 1918 and designed as a space for traumatology, it retains its original essence today as it has not been renovated or redesigned. This originally had a row of beds for in-patients. Since this was funded by Rafael Rubel, there's an R denoted in the ceramic designs atop the windows. The walls of this room is fitted with ceramic tiles which is easy to clean, so hygiene is at a good standard. Its limited decor includes mosaics found on the walls and ceiling, as well as an original photograph of the building in its years of operation with more than forty beds inside:
Facade of the Operations Pavilion, built 1902-12, behind a Gothic style cross:
Surgery Pavilion of Hospital de Sant Pau:
Pavilion of Sant Manuel:
The Theatre Hall - Sala d'Actes. Its circular in shape and the observation deck for the interns was along the edge. It has no walls at all, just pillars & glass. So the whole place gets all the light from the nature!
The Hypostyle Hall provides access to the tunnel system, this chamber features stout columns and ceramic-tiled vaulted ceilings:
You can take the underground tunnels linking the various buildings and visit the most representative heritage spaces of the Administration Pavilion.
Patients Pavilllion: In the pavilion, you see a lot of green mosaics and tiles being used. We were told that since the hospital was a Catholic hospital and green colour in the wards symbolises ‘green for hope’ in Catholic, it was used to bring hope to the patients:
After or during your visit, relaxing in the courtyard is beautiful and peaceful. It seems far removed from busy Barcelona. The gardens behind the Hospital are beautiful and a nice place to sit on a sunny afternoon.
During SEP 2016 a temporary exhibition of INTERNATIONAL CERAMICS took place in Sant Rafael Pavilion:
Sant Pau at Night:
Tip 2 - From Turia Gardens to Valencia Old City:
Main Attractions: Turia Gardens, Gulliver Park, Palau de la Musica (Concert Hall), Placa Zaragoza, Puente d'Aragón, Puente de la Mar, Puente de las Flores, Puente Calatrava, Jardines del Real, Puente del Real, Plaça de Tetuán, Museo del Patriarca, The Plaza del Patriarca.
The Turia Gardens are built on the former riverbed of the Turia, whose course was altered to prevent constant flooding in the city. After a devastating flood on 14 October 1957, the Turia's course was diverted south of the city, leaving a huge tract of land that crosses the city from West to East, bordering the historical centre.They stretch from Cabecera Park in the north and west to the City of Arts and Sciences in the south and east. The Turia Gardens is one of the largest urban parks in Spain. It runs through the city along eight-nine kilometres of green space boasting foot paths, leisure and sports areas, and romantic spots. Turia Gardens are the largest urban gardens in Spain. Crossed by 18 bridges full of history, the former riverbed passes by the city's main museums and monuments on either bank. Several urban planners and landscapists designed different sections of the park, recreating the former river scenery. They created a unique itinerary of palm trees and orange trees, fountains and pine woods, aromatic plants and ponds, sports facilities and rose beds. The gardens were inaugurated in 1986. The Cabecera Park and Bioparc border the huge gardens to the west, and the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences border it on the opposite side, near the mouth of the river. The Turia Gardens connect a realistic-looking African savannah in the Bioparc with the underwater world and ecosystems you can visit in the Oceanogràfic in the City of Arts and Sciences, and the spectacular opera auditorium and Palau de les Arts housed also in the City of Arts and Sciences. There are many other interesting stops along the way. In the huge Gulliver park (see below), children can climb onto the fingers, hair and legs of a giant, 70m recumbent figure and slide down them like Lilliputians. The Palau de la Música (see below), which offers a complete annual programme, is nearby. Broad esplanades outside the Palau provide spaces where children can skate and play football. The ponds surrounding the City of Arts and Sciences hire out water walking balls and canoes in summer (see Tip 1 above). Valencia is a flat city, so the Turia Gardens are the perfect place for walking, running enthusiasts and those who prefer to cycle on bicycles and segways. As well as hiring a bike, you can hire a ‘bicycle and carriage for two’ – great if you want to enjoy the park at your leisure. These small vehicles are for hire in the Gardens. Valenbisi bike sharing scheme (http://www.budget-travel-tips.com/2011/10/valenbisi-bike-share-valencia-system.html) makes it easy and cheap to rent a bike and explore the city. The docking stations are spread all over the city, many of them being placed along the shores of the Turia Gardens. You will find several bars and cafés with extensive terraces along the way, where you can take a break for refreshment. The gardens are very popular with dog walkers, but in spite of that, stray cats made the riverbed their home, and they can be spotted in trees or sleeping in the grass, fat, happy and free, as people leave them cat food in the places where they know the little fellows hang around.
The part of Turia Gardens around City of Arts and Sciences is the most spectacular of them all - large green spaces, elegant garden design, ponds and alleys, random artworks. Very popular, especially on weekends:
Turia Gardens can be accessed from the steps nearby the nineteen bridges that cross the old riverbed. Some of these bridges are more than 5 centuries old (see below in Tip 3). We walk approx. 1.1 km. along the Turia Gardens from south-east to north-west until we arrive to Gulliver Park, Antiguo Cauce del Turia. A total disappointment. No shade. Almost no water. No people during the hot hours. All fibreglass which with lots of different, huge slides coming down (children can, easily, disappear). Most of the equipment tools in the Gulliver playgrounds are neglected, dangerous or impractical due their temperature. The whole park is baked in the sun. However, the idea of Gulliver and tiny little people crawling over is brilliant. The famous literary work of fiction Gulliver’s Travels was the inspiration for this magical adventure park that lies at the heart of the Turia Gardens. The adventure park includes, also, a scale model of the city, surrounded by a minigolf course, a giant chessboard, tracks, skateboard area and lots of playground equipment:
We continue walking 400 m. northward into and along the Turia Gardens - arriving to Jardines del Palau.
Above them, on your right (east) stands the Palau de la Musica (Concert Hall). Designed by José María de Paredes. The Palau (palace) was inaugurated on the 25th April 1987 and since then has become one of the iconic buildings of modern Valencia and it is considered to be among the most important concert halls in Europe. An enormous glass dome that runs parallel to the Turia river-bed Park provides the main entrance. The exterior ambience penetrates the interior; the green areas flourish in the foyer while the great glass waterfall seems to pour into the pool, specially designed by Ricardo Bofill. From here you can watch the fountains that have been designed to spout to the beat of the music heard from the Palau throughout the garden. Concerts, operas, ballets, conferences, presentations, and all sorts of other educational activities have been and continue to be held inside and outside the building:
Here, we quit the gardens and climb eastward (on our right) to the bustling street of Paseo de la Alameda (Passeig de l'Albereda). The section of the Paseo de la Alameda (south to Zaragoza Square) is the New Alameda:
Here, in Placa Zaragoza (Zaragoza Square), we connect with the Historical Alameda. The historical part or walk runs from the square of Zaragoza (south) to the Municipal Nurseries (north) along 1 km. It is connected with the Paseo de la Ciudadela, on the other side of the river, by five bridges: puente de Aragón (bridge of Aragon), el puente de la mar (the bridge of the sea), el puente de las flores (the bridge of flowers), el puente de la exposición (the exhibition bridge), el puente del Real (the Royal bridge). The Alameda is organized in main avenue, two independent lanes of three lanes each one with zones of parking to the center as the edges; Two strips of lawns on both sides; And a one-way (east-west) two-lane service road to the north. This is where the Torretas de los Guardas (Guard Turrets) are located. The two towers called Guardas, built in 1714 and dedicated to San Felipe and San Jaime, were preserved from the primitive mall and were intended to house the tenants of the nearby orchards and the private walk. The roof of each one has pyramidal form covered with blue glazed tiles. On the façade are the shields of the most influential families of the eighteenth century , symbolizing the aristocratic character of the new Bourbon Valenci. From the Plaza Zaragoza - start Av. del Puerto and Av. d'Arago to your right (east) and the Puente d'Aragón is on your left (spreading over the Turia Gardens):
Torretas de los Guardas / Torretas de aduana (Guard Turrets) - Antigua Estación de Aragón (ancient railway station of Aragon:
As we said before - there are 18 bridges along the Turia gardens. The most outstanding historical bridges are those of San José (17th century), Serranos (16th century), Trinidad (15th century), El Real (16th century) and El Mar (16th century). More recent bridges are the Puente de la Exposición, 9 d'Octubre, Las Flores and l'Assut d'Or, designed by Santiago Calatrava; the Las Artes bridge, next to the IVAM (Valencian Institute of Modern Art), by Norman Foster; and the Ángel Custodio bridge, by Arturo Piera. The former riverbed also links other points in Valencia not to be missed, like the Serranos Towers, a gate in the old city walls that surrounded Valencia, currently converted into a wonderful viewpoint over the historical centre and gardens; the Valencia Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) and the Museum of Fine Arts. All of these are located on the former banks of the Turia, which serve as a guide for an interesting cultural itinerary in the city of Valencia.
We shall walk the Alameda from south to north. It is a landscaped walk of just over a kilometer in length that runs along the left bank of the River Turia, from the Puente de Aragón to the Puente del Real. The current Paseo de la Alameda was part of the old access road to the Royal Palace from the sea (Camino del Grao). Originally a place full of wetlands because of its proximity to the river and certainly unhealthy place. Between 1643 and 1645 Rodrigo Ponce de León, 4th Duke of Arcos and Viceroy of Valencia between 1642 and 1645, ordered to plant two parallel rows of poplars along the river's stream. From this moment the place will be known as the Alameda (place of poplars), losing its previous name of Prado of the Palace of the Real that boasted from the end of 16th century. In the middle of the seventeenth century, the "Fábrica Nova del Riu" finished building the walls and river banks in this area (left bank of the river) so that the place was protected from the floods and became a more livable place. From 1674 a period of public beautification of the place began, creating in 1677 an oval space or square in front of the Royal Palace, a place that would be used as a place of festivities, mainly for bullfights. This space was located approximately in the place that today is called Llano del Real. Towards 1692 La Alameda has become a public walking thoroughfare and the "Murs i Valls Factory" decideed to beautify the walk in all its extension that at that time only reached the Puente del Mar. New trees were planted and the oval square facing the Royal Palace was decorated with balls and stone benches creating the formal entrance to the Paseo de la Alameda.
We arrive to the Bridge of Aragon (on our left, west) which is a pedestrian bridge and for passage of vehicles that crosses dried Turia riverbed - communicating the Zaragoza Square and the Paseo de la Alameda with the Gran Vía Marqués del Turia. It is the work of the engineers Arturo Monfort , José Burguera and Gabriel Leyda . It owes its name to the old railway station of Aragon, now disappeared. It was because of its construction that the Puente de la Mar happened to be of exclusive use for pedestrians.
The next bridge is Pont del Mar (Puente de la Mar), 400 m. north to Pont (puente) d'Aragon. The Bridge of the Sea is a pedestrian bridge that crosses diagonally the Turia Gardens - connecting the Placa d'America and the Paseo de la Alameda. It is the most eastern of the five historical bridges of Valencia. The first bridge that is known had to be raised during the fourteenth century, then built of wood. Damage to this structure that produced the various floods of the River Turia forced in 1425 to build a more robust structure, which already had the foundations and pillars of stone:
Puente de las Flores is 270 m. north to the Puente de la Mar. The Puente de las flores (Flower Bridge), was opened in 2002.,It connects Passeig de la Ciutadella with the Paseo de la Alameda. It owes its name to the flower pots full of flowers that can be found on both sides of the bridge. Puente de las Flores is decorated with 27,000 beautiful flowers of all colours, which vary throughout the seasons. The Puente de las Flores was built (in 2002) to replace a temporary pontoon constructed to meet the demands of the city’s traffic:
A bit north to the Puente - note several interesting (Art Deco ?) buildings along Passeig de l'Albereda:
We continue walking northward along the Alameda and we arrive, after 350 m. to the Puente Calatrava or Pont de l'Exposició (Bridge of the Expocision). The current bridge was designed by the Valencian engineer and architect Santiago Calatrava. It draws its name from the Regional Exposition Valenciana of 1909 and the world-known architect who designed this marvelous bridge. The Alameda Metro station resides here. The metro station located underneath the Exposition bridge, parallel to the Alameda and with access to it, was designed by Santiago Calatrava adopting the Spanish name of the old Alameda railway station that was located on the neighboring avenue of Aragon:
There are 450 m. walk from the Fuente Calatrava to the last historical bridge - Pont del Real. Still a bit south to Pont del Real we observe the towers that crown the walk. They stand through the end to the Jardins del Reial / Jardines de Viveros, and were called Los Guardas (the Guards). They were incorporated into the walk in 1714:
We ignore, at the moment, the Pont del Real and turn direct into the Jardines del Real (the Royal Gardens). The gardens used to be part of the Royal Palace until year 1810, or Viveros (greenhouses). There are many different areas to the park - tree lined avenues, a rose garden, a pond with ducks, fountains, pergolas, the nursery, a restaurant and lawns. The Natural Sciences Museum is also situated in the gardens. FREE gardens. It is the biggest park in the city. On one side, it continues into the pretty jardines de Monforte and, from their west side, they border the dried river Turia garden, which spans the 16th century royal bridge. A vast area of the green grounds provides fresh air for the city (quite rare during the summer months). Throughout the 20th century, the gardens have been repopulated and beautified, and are now a favourite spot for Sunday morning walks. In the summer the central esplanade is converted into an improvised concert hall, especially during the July Fair, and in springtime the walkways are filled with bookstalls during the Feria del Libro. Some nice statues and fountains in the park. There are also restrooms. The cafe/restaurant in the gardens - is good, budget and honest. Just light portions. Overall the gardens are devoid of colour (bear in mind: Valencia suffers long hot temperatures during the summer), and in some areas, water features are in need of maintenance:
We exit the gardens and walk westward (direction of the Turia Gardens) to connect with Puente del Real (Royal Bridge). A 16th century bridge. It holds images of both Saint Vincent Martyr (died in 3rd century AD) and Saint Vincent Ferrer (died in 1419) - carved by Carmelo Vicent and Ignacio Pinazo.
Statue of San Vicente Mártir:
Statue of San Vicente Ferrer:
This bridge was inaugurated to celebrate the wedding of King Philip III of Spain to Queen Margarita, but it seemingly does not take its name "Real" from "Royal" but from "Rahal", an Arabic word that means orchard or garden. The bridge connected the Palacio del Real to the walled city. The Palace itself was demolished in early 19th century by the Valencian people so that Napoleon troops could not place their guns up there to bomb the city. The former Palace's gardens are Jardines del Real or Viveros - we've just visited. The Gothic bridge was built after the 1517 flood destroyed the old wooden bridge. Construction on the Puente del Real began in 1595, with ashlars and keystones from the cemetery of the nearby Santo Domingo Convent, and was concluded three years later, to coincide with the wedding celebrations of King Felipe III and Queen Margarita.
The Puente del Real has nine pointed vaults and a pair of structures housing sculptures of San Vicente Mártir and San Vicente Ferrer . The bridge was severely damaged in the floods of 1957 and was widened in 1964 to increase traffic flow, thereby losing its human scale.
From the western end of Pont del Real we head southwest toward Passeig de la Ciutadella, 110 m and turn right onto Passeig de la Ciutadella and Plaça de Tetuán. Turn left onto Plaça de Tetuán, 80 m. Plaza Tetuan is one of those places in Valencia that just happen to be a cluster of things to see with nothing in common between those. Convento de Santo Domingo is a large, atmospheric monasterial complex that will remind you of the Imperial days. A mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Neo-classical, it dates from as far back as 14th century:
Right opposite it is Palacio de Cervello. Although not particularly anything special visually, it is a very important building in Valencia - used as a royal residence during the 19th century, Those rooms have seen hugely historic events and are currently housing a museum:
A few meters down is the small park of Glorieta where you can soak up the Spanish afternoon among some very curious trees. As you walk towards there, note the high bank building on your right, Centro Cultural Bancaja it is unbelievable:
There are many more attraction, nearby (Puerta del Mar, Palacio de Justicia, Chapel of San Vicente Ferrer) - but, we shall return to them in other Tipter blogs of Valencia. The same holds for the Old City of Valencia. We assume that, at this point of your daily itinerary in Valencia - you are quite late in the afternoon or, even, in the evening hours. We shall sample the old city in one spot only - the Museo del Patriarca. In these hours of the day - it won't be crowded and you will be able to spare a generous span of time for this rare attraction. From the Plaça de Tetuán there are three altrenative routes to arrive to this museum. All of them are 600 metres walk. The simplest route is the following: Walk south in Plaza de Tetuán, 100 m. Continue onto Carrer del General Tovar
160 m. Continue straight onto Plaça d'Alfons el Magnànim (we shall visit this magnificent square in another Tipter blog on Old Valencia !), 35 m. Turn right toward Carrer de la Nau, 55 m, slight left along Carrer de la Nau, additional 55 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Nau 200 metres further and the Iglesia / Colegio / Museo Del Patriarca, Carrer de la Nau, 1 will be on your right. Formally, it is called Royal Seminary School of the Corpus Christi. This Royal Seminary School, well-known among the Valencian people as ´The Patriarch´, has as its main aim the training of novice priests following the spirit and wills of the Council of Trent precisely laid down in the Constitutions by its founder Juan de Ribera who became archbishop of Valencia in year 1568. This archibishop was fully committed to the ideal of the reformation of the Church according to the precepts of Trent. It is an important building architecturally for reflecting the importance the Italian Renaissance had in Spain. Guided tours (1 hour) cost 7 € per person and include the rare tapestries. This combination of Museum, Corpus Christi Royal College (seminary) and the church (Iglesia) will consume, at least, one hour from your time. PLAN YOUR TIME IN ADVANCE TO AVOID BEING RUSHED OR DRIVEN OUTSIDE WITHOUT SEEING ALL THE SEMINARY CORNERS !!! The visit in this place is an highly spiritual experience. There are very rare treasures inside. If you are lucky you will hear the monks singing there - a wonderful and moving experience. The guided tour is interesting, but it drives you forward quite hastily without allowing enough time to explore all the museum overwhelming works of arts. Ignore all the concerned websites (there are two of them). The best time to arrive id daily from 11.00 until 13.00. If you wat to take part in the service and listen to the monks songs - come TUE-SUN at 09.30 (the CHURCH, not the museum, is closed on Mondays). You pay the entry fee of 6 € (non-guided, free tour) to the old man in the entrance, on your right).
The building itself is stunning, the architecture. The structure takes up an entire city block, deliberately built in front of the original university so that the students could easily attend relevant classes. The main entrance on Carrer de la Nau shows a mix of architectural styles, and the main double vestibule or hall separates the church from the "Capilla de la Inmaculada", both of which are worth of a visit:
The internal Italian court from the 126th century with with mosaics from Talavera near Toledo, Spain. This is, perhaps, the most important feature architecturally in the Patriarca complex. Considered one of the most beautiful within the Spanish Renaissance:
The interiors are, basically, a single vaulted nave and FOUR deep high arched chapels on the sides leading to a magnificent apse and choir space with a dome above - all crossed by a short transept. The high altarpiece features a masterpiece painting of "The Last Supper" (La Última Cena) by Francisco Ribalta in 1606:
The building also houses the Patriarca museum where you can contemplate a selection of paintings by Archbishop Ribera as well as many other artists. All of these works are representative of the painting done in the 16th and 17th centuries. Many pictures are by Ribalta and very few by El Greco and Caravaggio, Novaro and Baglione.
The Crucifixion of Saint Peter - Caravaggio:
The Kiss of Judah - Caravaggio:
St.Augustin and St. Heronimus - 16th century picture:
Another 16th century picture:
Descent from the Cross, 15th cent., Roger van der Mezden:
On the other side of two sides of the cloister are the church, richly frescoed by the Genoese painter Bartolomeo Matarana (1573-1605)
and the Colegio chapel. The chapel, dedicated to the Passion of Christ, was conceived by San Giovanni de Ribera and painted by Tomas Hernandez, probably on the designs of Matarana, around 1606.
Iglesia del Patriarca - Chapel of the Purisima, the Dome - Frescoes with Biblical Stories - by Tomás Hernández:
The nave is painted with three Biblical scenes (Isaac's Sacrifice, the burning serpent in the desert, Jonah and the sea monster) that symbolize the three moments of Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Binding (Sacrifice) Of Isaac - Tomás Hernández:
On the sides of the vault, the Prophets of Israel are depicted. Style and design are inspired by the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
Jeremiah - by Tomás Hernández:
Jonah The Prophet - by Tomás Hernández:
Paintings of the Biblical prophets:
Do not miss the frescoes of Carlo Maratta or Maratti (13 May 1625 – 15 December 1713). An Italian painter, active mostly in Rome, and known principally for his classic paintings executed in a Late Baroque Classical manner. Although he is part of the classical tradition stemming from Raphael, he was not exempt from the influence of Baroque painting and particularly in his use of colour:
The Plaza del Patriarca, opposite the seminario, is not less impressive. Decorated with a symmetrical grid of orange trees, the Plaza del Patriarca is home to a couple of Valencia’s most historic buildings: the Real Colegio Seminario del Corpus Christi and La Nau (Universitat de València), both of which date from the 15th century. The square is dominated by the eastern façade of La Nau , an exhibition center of the University of Valencia , which occupies part of the square with a large public fountain with sculptures. To the north is the building that gives its name to the square, the Royal College of Corpus Christi of Valencia or Patriarca Seminario with a huge vertical window covered with a grid, although be on the second floor.
The impressive fountain of Place del Colegio del Patriarca. You can watch and listen to free traditional Valencian music concert on Saturday nights in this square. Nearby can be found the Museo Nacional de Ceramica and Calle Poeta Querol, also known as Valencia’s Golden Mile, due to its great concentration of luxury brands:
The closest Metro station is Colón (walk of 400 m.). From the Plaça del Collegio del Patriarca head south toward Carrer de Salvà, 30 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Salvà, 100 m. Turn right onto Carrer de la Universitat, 25 m. Continue onto Carrer del Dr. Romagosa, 100 m. Turn left onto Carrer de Don Juan de Austria, 120 m. Take Metro line #5 (to the Aeroport). Drop off after 2 stops at Àngel Guimerà. Take Line # 1 to Seminari - CEU and your hotel is near Beniferri station (3 stops). From Beniferri walk 250 m. to the Eurostars Gran Valencia hotel.
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.
Part 2 of our 2nd day in Riga: the central part of Old Riga (1/2 day):
Main Attractions: Mentzendorff House, House of the Blackheads, Town Hall Square, Latvian Riflemen Monument, Riga Cathedral, Dome Square, Līvu Square, Mikhail Chekhov's Russian Theatre, Cat House, Saint John Church, St Peter's Church, Bremen Town Musicians statue.
How to move from Riga Bus Station / Wellton Hotel and Spa to Mentzendorff House, our first spot (in day 2) in Riga Old Town:
There are several itineraries to arrive to the Old Town from the Bus Station. We chose a route which combines the Soviet southern parts of Riga with the more elaborated, multicultural central part of Old Riga (via Kungu iela - 500 m. walk). From the Central Bus Station head northwest on Prāgas iela
60 m. Walk along the underway to exit in the front of Wellton Hotel and Spa at Kalēju iela. Turn left (west) onto Kalēju iela. Turn right onto Kungu iela and 200 m. further you see, on your left, Mentzendorff House, Grēcinieku 18 (Mencendorfa Nams). A 3-storey building which houses a museum about the life of a wealthy resident of Riga, as well as the culture and traditions of the city in the 17th and 18th centuries. Museum is named after the family name of the last family who lived in this house – the Mentzendorffs. The house is a branch of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation. In the turn of the 19th /20th cent. August Mentzendorff – the owner of this house – sold the best coffee in town. Descendants of August Mencendorff still maintain relations with the museum and support it. It is the only museum presenting social culture traditions of wealthy Rigans. Visit the centuries-old shop room, kitchen with chimney piece, drawing room, dance hall, “poet’s room”, chapel, landlord’s room, girls’ room, see the old cellars and a romantic attic that now house exhibition halls. Magnificent and original wall and ceiling paintings (17th –18th cent.) are the basis of the exposition. If you like to see how people lived in the places where you visit, this house is worth a look. If you have time go there (most of the attraction in Riga are closed at 17.00). Open: WED – SUN: 11.00 – 17.00. Price: €3. Guided tours in English, German and Russian are available for €10:
Continue several metres northward along Kungu iela - to see, on your left, the Town hall Square (Rātslaukums) and the House of the Blackheads at Rātslaukums 7. The House of the Blackheads is the Riga Old City and the Latvian capital’s most magnificent edifice. This is one of the most colorful buildings in Riga, which contains a very unique historical legacy about the legendary brotherhood of the Blackheads, as well as the history of the Latvian capital. The present House of Blackheads is a replica, it was built only in 1996-2000 on the site of the former destroyed in the Second World War, but it allows us to draw a fairly accurate picture of the former house. A venue for exhibitions, concerts and other events and the Latvian president’s temporary residence. The House of the Blackheads, originally called the New House, was built in 1334. It has been reconstructed several times from 1522, when stones where set next to the doors. Major works were done in the years 1580 and 1886, adding most of the ornamentations. The sculptures were made by the workshop of August Volz. Works continued to the late-19th century, when lion figures where set above the front doors and St. George's figure appeared in the annex. The building was bombed to a ruin by the Germans on June 28, 1941 and the remains were demolished by the Soviets in 1948. The current reconstruction was erected from 1995 to 1999. It became the Latvian president’s temporary residence. Towards the end of the 14th century, the guilds uniting Riga’s merchants and craftsmen were joined by a brotherhood of banquet caterers to upper classes which quite significantly called themselves Blackheads. The brotherhood members included young and unmarried merchants of foreign, mostly German, origin. These merchants were known for their temperament and enthusiasm for the organization of various celebrations and events. Their enthusiasm transformed this building into one of the main cultural venues in the city, which set the pulse of Riga’s social, commercial and cultural scene. When traveling and supplying exotic goods from overseas, they managed to protect their ships and caravans from pirates and robbers. The Blackheads chose St. Maurice as their patron saint (his symbol - a black head), who traditionally was depicted as a black soldier with knight’s armour. After obtaining their tenant’s rights, the members of the brotherhood become part of Riga’s patrician elite, serving as councilors, members of the Great Guild and as respected members of the city’s community. During the 17th century the merchant organization, the Brotherhood of the Blackheads, became the sole tenant of the House of the Blackheads. To be a member of the Blackheads order - you need to fulfill 3 requirements: being German, rich and single. In the house merchants and ship owners gathered for centuries, the necessary connections were established and deals were concluded. The building is part of Riga’s Town Hall Square ensemble. Historically, the building’s function was to promote business activities in the city - it was a place for gathering of traders and shippers for many centuries. It was the building which basically maintained the city’s economic lifeline, as well as trade links with partners in the West and the East. The House of the Blackheads was the cultural epic centre of Riga for centuries, as the blackheads and their successors always gathered the cream of the crop of Riga’s societal scene at their events. The building fulfils these tasks up to today – concerts, balls, gala dinners and diplomatic receptions are frequently organized here.
House of the Blackheads at the evening:
In the morning:
House of the Blackheads at dusk:
The coat of arms of the Brotherhood of Blackheads, featuring Saint Maurice:
The imposing rooms of the House of Blackheads are beautifully reconstructed. The Blackheads building includes: HISTORICAL CELLAR: A historically original part of the house that was built in 1334. The cellar was used by merchants as a storage place. Wine supplies and other trading goods were stored here – grain, leather, linen, honey, wax and much more. An hot air stove was installed here to provide heating during the cold winter months, which is open for viewing. On the wall in the cellar you see a very good historical chart of Riga, since its establishment in 1201.
HISTORICAL CABINETS: The historical cabinets of the Black Heads House are representative of the 19th century interiors. Day by day meetings, important decision-making and bookkeeping were held here. A collection of sophisticated tobacco boxes, and the once largest collection of refined silverware in the Baltics can also be seen in the cabinets. During President's castle renovation from 2012 to 2016 the no. 1 citizen of the Latvian nation worked here.
HALLS AND COMPOSERS’ GALLERY: Upstairs you have enormous entertainment grand rooms with chandeliers, with beautifully painted ceilings. The magnificent Assembly Hall or Conference Hall or Festival Hall is the most luxurious ballroom in Riga. Restored to its pre-war appearance and decorated with portraits of kings:
and the splendid Lubeck Hall (used for press conferences and banquets),
along with the Composers’ Gallery. In detailed carved wooden frames, paintings of kings and rulers from the past have witnessed countless concerts of local artists. A masterpiece of ornamental and monumental art is depicted on the ceiling – “Apotheosis of St. Maurice”. Next to the halls there is a gallery with busts of eight foreign and four Latvian composers. They remind us of how much the Black heads loved art and the music that was played here. From the year 1837 to 1839 the German composer Richard Wagner lived and organised concerts in Riga and has left a significant influence on the Latvian musical development. During his stay in Riga, Richard Wagner conducted the symphony orchestra at the House of Blackheads. In 2017, a memorial plaque was erected there with
the inscription: "Riga is the city of Wagner's youth". It is recommended to see, first, the 5-D movie shown in the back side of the House of the Blackheads Guild on the 1st floor. The movie is a well-made overview of the city and its history, and the added sensory stimuli provide good entertainment as well. Then, see the rest of the museum and it will all make more sense. Opening Hours: TUE – SUN: 11.00 -18.00 (the last visitor at 17.15). Guided tour: 15 euros, adult – 6 euros, concessions (senior, student, pupil): 3 euros. Excursions can be ordered by phone. 67043678 or e-mail: email@example.com:
The Town Hall Square represents the diverse, sometimes complicated history of Riga. It features buildings from different periods - old, historical ones, replicas, soviet-era additions and newly build blocks. Several landmarks are there - Roland's statue, Blackheads house, and a view on St. Peters tower. It is crowded during the day, so don't expect to make a picture of your own! Many restaurants and cafes are nearby. When we were there there was a fun exposition of fiberglass giant bears from around the world, beautifully painted and decorated.
The Town Hall is opposite the Blackheads House. Come to the Town Hall Square also during the dusk hours. There is usually some street performers outside of the Blackheads building and the lights at night look amazing. Roland Statue stands in the middle of the Town Hall Square. Several towns have Roland statues. In late 19th century, the Society of Riga History Explorers decided that Roland Statue would also suit the city's main square. Thanks to donations, the granite statue was erected in 1897. However, the statue was destroyed during World War II, along with the entire square, nowadays statue's replica has been erected.
Head southwest on Kaļķu iela toward Mazā Monētu iela, 140 m. Turn left, 50 m. and you arrive to the Latvian Riflemen Monument - Latviešu strēlnieku laukums 1 on the right. It is a controversial red granite statue that was originally dedicated to the Latvian Red Riflemen, some of whom became Lenin's personal bodyguards. Some view the monument as a symbol of the old Communist system and would love to tear it down. Others believe it's a necessary tribute to Latvians who fought in the early years of WWI. It now honours all Latvian riflemen, both Whites and Reds. They were originally a military formation of the Imperial Russian Army assembled starting 1915 in Latvia in order to defend Baltic territories against Germans in World War I. Initially the battalions were formed by volunteers, and from 1916 by conscription among the Latvian population. A total of about 40,000 troops were drafted into the Latvian Riflemen Division. In May 1917 the Latvian Regiments transferred their loyalty to the Bolsheviks. They became known as Red Latvian Riflemen (Latviešu sarkanie strēlnieki), (Russian: красные латышские стрелки) and actively participated in the Russian Civil War. The Riflemen took an active part in the suppression of anti-Bolshevik uprisings in Moscow and Yaroslavlin 1918. On the other hand, still in 1917, a smaller number of Latvian Riflemen, mostly officers, sided against the Bolsheviks. They were called – the White Latvian Riflemen:
Head northwest on Latviešu strēlnieku laukums toward Kaļķu iela, 20 m. Turn right onto Kaļķu iela, 60 m. Slight left onto Mazā Jauniela (Little Jauniela), 110 m. Several sessions of the TV Sherlock Holms series had been shot here:
On your right - the Fat Cat Cafe'. The eclairs are delicious and the staff is very friendly. A sweet place:
Turn left onto Jauniela, 25 m. Turn right onto Palasta iela, 100 m. Turn right onto Herdera laukums, 60 m. On your right a statue of Johan Herdera. On your right also Museum of History and Navigation. You've arrived to the Riga Cathedral, Herdera laukums 6. The Riga Cathedral is the largest house of worship in the Baltics with its Romanesque cloister and the Riga Bourse Art Museum. The immense size of this cathedral is intimidating. Opening hours: May, 1 - September, 30: On Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9.00-18.00, on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.00-17.00, on Thursdays from 9.00 - 17.30, on Sundays from 14.00 - 17.00. October, 1 - April, 30: Daily 10.00-17.00, except Sundays from 14.00 - 17.00. Prices: adult: 3.00 €. The foundation stone of Riga Cathedral was laid in 1211, and a monastery of the Cathedral Chapter of the Riga Diocese and the Riga Cathedral School were built next to the Cathedral soon afterwards. In the 14th-15th centuries, the church was transformed into a basilica, raising the central nave, constructing the western cross-nave and side chapels, as well as raising the tower to 140 meters, which made it the tallest tower in Riga of that time. The building of Riga Cathedral combines features of Romanesque, Early Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau styles. Its weathercock (or rooster) is quite visible from other parts of the city:
The organ is magnificent and it is worth going just before 12.00 to see if you can get in for one of the noon-time organ recitals…. it is fantastic to hear the huge sounds reverberating in the large open space. The organ is one of the biggest of its time (1880s) and is in fabulous working order, unlike almost every other church in the world. It is now the second largest but possibly still the best sounding. The Cathedral’s organ boasts a 6,789 pipes. The organ was built by one of the best master organ builders H.A.Contius. There seems to be daily recital at 12.00 for 20 mins and regular evening recitals (lasting for one hour and NOT for 20 minutes as stated in the ads. The Cathedral is great space for this type of concerts and we would recommend to everybody to visit one. The sound is spectacular and would rival the best around the world. 10 EU p/p seems to be on the high side. For the evening recitals it looks more reasonable:
The Riga Cathedral Ensemble includes: Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation has more than 500,000 items in its archive, and its exhibits displayed in 16 halls tell about Riga’s history of more than 800 years. The Cloister of Riga Cathedral constructed in the 13th century, is a magnificent masterpiece of Early Gothic architecture. Originally, the cloister connected Riga Cathedral with the monastery, the seat of the highest college of clerics, or the Cathedral Chapter. Displayed at the cloister are several collections of the Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation:
• Cannons and their equipment,
• Tomb plates,
• Pieces of decorative stone elements and hammered work from buildings that once stood in Riga,
• Plaster replica of a statue of Russian Czar Peter I,
• Materials unearthed during archaeological excavations, including a hypothetical Liv idol, the so called Salaspils Stone Head, found in the Cathedral garden,
• Coats of arms of families, societies and fraternities displayed in niches over the arcades.
Note: there are plenty of visitors in the Cathedral. Expect a 5-15 minutes queue in the entrance. There are toilets inside too (down a flight of stairs situated on the same wall as the organ as you would go out into the courtyard). The Cathedral space is quite extensive and you do NOT feel packed. Most of the organ recitals are good value and praised by the visitors - despite their price tag.
The Dome Square (Doma laukums) is the largest square in the Old Town . It is considered to be the Old Town's central square, where various public events are often held. There are seven streets in the Dome Square - Smilšu, Rozena, Šķūnu, Horse, Castle, Jacob and Jauniela.
The square includes several monuments of the 19th and 20th centuries. The most remarkable and most recognizable building on the Dome Square is the Dome Cathedral or Dome. The eclectic Riga Stock Exchange or Bourse (architect Harald Bose), built in 1855, is also worth of attention. Opposite the building of the Commercial Bank built in 1922 (architect P. Mandelshtam) and the 1940 building of the Ministry of Finance , which occupies an entire block (arch. A. Klinklava ). When we were in the Cathedral Square (Doma laukums) there was a fun exposition of fiberglass giant bears from around the world, beautifully painted and decorated. The United Buddy Bears is an international art project. More than 140 Buddy bears (every bear is 2 m high) are representing United Nations - recognized countries. Every bear was designed, constructed and sent to the exposition - by a different country. Thanks to the diverse design of bears in accordance with the specifics of each country, visitors to the exhibition are traveling around the globe:
The Buddy Bears Exposition with the red-bricked Cathedral Tower in the background:
in the background the Bourse:
This is the former building of the Riga Commercial Bank, built in the style of Neo-Classicism. The allegorical composition of the building symbolizes prosperity and is complemented by the Riga Coat of Arms. Sculptural works of the building are created in Art Nouveau style. The Latvian Radio is now in the building:
United Buddy Bears - Israel:
United Buddy Bears - Iraq:
United Buddy Bears - Denmark:
United Buddy Bears - Azerbijan:
United Buddy Bears - Poland:
In case - you are looking for a restaurant nearby: search for the Lido Alus sēta restaurant (another branch of the Lido chain in Riga), 250 m. from the Cathedral or 180 m. from the Dome Square. Head northeast on Doma laukums toward Pils iela, 65 m. Turn right to stay on Doma laukums, 110 m. Continue onto Šķūņu iela, 30 m. Turn right onto Tirgoņu iela and walk 45 m. and Lido Alus sēta, Tirgoņu iela 6 is on your left - always packed with diners. Good quality food. Moderately priced. Always fresh and tasty. You select your portions from the huge variety. Every portion, every selection is priced differently. Alll in all - very low prices and good value for your payment in the cashier.
From the Dome/Cathedral Square or from the Lido restaurant - we head to Livu Square (Līvu laukums). A 250 m. walk. Leave the square at its north-east edge. Continue onto Šķūņu iela, 55 m. Turn left onto Amatu iela, 120 m. Turn right toward Līvu Square (Līvu laukums). In summertime, the Square features outdoor cafes and beautiful flower-beds which are designed like waves to remind of the lost river after whom Riga was once named. In wintertime, this Old Town square offers a skating rink. This is the place in Riga that never sleeps. It has a lot of places to eat or have a drink and also interesting market stalls and nice buildings. A very lively place. Līvu Square is the centre of Riga's youthful life. Restaurants and bars tend to be for tourists and are a bit expensive. There is live music in many open restaurants:
Līvu Square at its eastern edge at the intersection of Vaļņu iela and Kaļķu iela - with view to the Freedom Monument:
Līvu Square is situated between Zirgu, Meistaru and Kaļķu iela. It was "flattened" during World War II, when several buildings were destroyed. The concert hall of the Latvian Philharmonic has been known since 1941 as the Great Guild Hall housing musical performances also nowadays and it stands at the western side of the square. Also standing in the western side are the Cat House and the Small Guild (south to the Great Guild house). The Riga Russian Drama Theatre resides in the southern side near the Tourist Informatin Office.
Līvu Square at its southern side. The blue-white building is the Chevalier Relais hotel:
At the southern sdide of the square we see the Mikhail Chekhov Riga Russian Theatre.The Mikhail Chekhov Riga Russian Theatre, Kaļķu iela 16 is on the right side of the photo below. Mikhail Chekhov's Russian Theatre in Riga is the first Russian theatre in Latvia and the oldest one outside Russia. Established in 1883, it was the second theatre in Riga, after the German Theatre. Throughout 1902-1915 the theatre had flourished under the leadership of Konstantin Nezlobin. In 1915, the shows were suspended because of WWI, but in 1922 the theatre resumed operation, this time under the new Latvian Republic. During that period, the theatre also enjoyed great success and its troupe travelled extensively throughout Europe. Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen and other European capitals eagerly anticipated to see the Russian drama. In 1940, after Latvia was annexed by the Soviet Union, the theatre was declared “national” property and forced to adhere to the ideological views of the Communist Party. Still, even then, the theatre largely succeeded in preserving its traditions and passed them onto the next generation of actors. After Latvia regained its independence in the early 1990s, the Russian Drama Theatre once again embarked on a new creativity quest. Although Russian is still the main language in the theatre, there have been more and more bilingual shows staged lately in both Russian and Latvian. The theatre is open six days a week, Tuesday through Sunday. The season starts at SEP. It is difficult to enter inside without watching a performance. Very beautiful inside:
Meistaru iela is stretching along the western side of the square - packed with bars, restaurants and historical buildings (the Great Guild, the Cat House and the Small Guild). At #19 – look at the yellow house called The Cat House. This used to be a house. The original owner wanted to get into one of the guilds that were located in the city (the guild he was interested in was the one across the street from his house). When he was denied, he had a sculptor create 2 cat statues and he put them on the rook of his house with their buts facing the guild's building. The town eventually made him turn the cats around so that it would not be offensive. The realtor of the statues went up to turn them around but fell to his death when he slipped. This building is now a casino, but the cats are still there today on the roof.
View from Līvu Square to its west side - the Great Guild, the Cat House and the Small Guild:
Līvu Square - the first cinema was opened in Paris in 28 DEC 1895. The second one was opened in Riga in 28 MAY 1896.:
At the centre of the square - you can't miss a permanent exposition of photos of Riga History.
Latvian Soldiers 1910:
Procession in Riga 1931:
In the spring of 1941, the Soviet central government began planning the mass deportation of anti-Soviet elements from the occupied Baltic states. During the night of 13–14 June 1941, 15,424 inhabitants of Latvia — including 1,771 Jews and 742 ethnic Russians — were deported to camps and special settlements, mostly in Siberia. 35,000 people were deported in the first year of Soviet occupation (131,500 across the Baltics):
Troops of Red Army entering the Freedom Monument in Riga, 14 OCT 1945:
Demolition of Lenin's Monument, 23 AUG 1991:
The last three destinations in our daily itinerary are pretty close to each other and to Līvu Square (Līvu laukums): Saint John Church, St Peter's Church and the Bremen Town Musicians statue. Head south on Līvu laukums, 30 m. Turn left toward Meistaru iela, 25 m. Turn right toward Meistaru iela, 35 m. Turn left onto Meistaru iela, 55 m. Continue onto Kalēju iela, 110 m. Turn right at Gleznotāju iela, 75 m. Turn left onto Skārņu iela, 50 m. and Saint John's Church, Skārņu iela 24 is on the left. Saint John Church (Svētā Jāņa Evaņģēliski luteriskā baznīca) is the oldest house of worship in Riga. The church is built on the site of the bishop's palace of Albert of Riga (thirteenth century). In 1234 Dominican friars took responsibility for the original small chapel and dedicated it to John the Baptist. It was extended around 1330, and continued as a Dominican chapel and parish church until 1523, and the Reformation. It continued as a parish church of the reformed Evangelical Lutheran Church. From 1587 there was further expansion of the church, in stages. The church suffered severe damage in Riga's great city fire of 31 May 1677, but was repaired, with a new spire added The church is dedicated to St John the Baptist and contains several art works related to the saint, including a large painting on the north side of the crossing, and a stained glass window depicting the saint, to the right (south) of the high altar. The window, among others, was installed around 1900. The present tower was built in 1849 according to a project by architect J.D.Felsko. The ceiling vaulting is beautiful. It is well decorated and a cool mirror showing the ceiling. The church is also used as a concert venue, due to its large size and good acoustic properties. St.John's Church has a legend - in the 15th century two monks wished to become saints and were immured in the wall. While they were still alive, Riga residents fed them through a special hole. But they were not consecrated. There is still a cross-shaped hole in a wall where both bodies lie. Take the elevator to the tower – with wonderful view on the city. In the summer months organ and vocal music concerts (FREE) are held here every Saturday at 17:00 by students. Opening hours: TUE-SUN 10.00 – 17.00. Mondays – closed. Do not mix the two churches: Saint Peter’s Church is west to the Saint John’s Church. St. John closes at 17.00 and St. Peter at 18.00. Very often the church is closed to visitors. Free entrance but donations are (loudly) demanded...:
Between the two churches you find the Bremen Town Musicians statue, Skarnu street. A gift from Bremmen town to Riga. From a tale by the Brothers Grimm, it shows the 'musicians' staring through the window at the robbers' feast at a table full of drinks and food. However some say that it depicts a political movement and they are actually staring through the Iron curtain where they had thought to find a bone or a piece of meat. Bremen, a sister city of Riga, gave this sculpture to Riga in 1900. It is located next to St Peter's Church and it is seen to give luck if you rub their noses:
Head northwest on Skārņu iela toward Jāņa sēta, 60 m. Turn left onto Reformācijas Laukums and walk 85 m. The St. Peter’s Church (Pēterbaznīca), Skārņu iela 19 is on the left. Riga’s tallest church with a tower offering a breath-taking view of the red roofs of Old Town, the modern part of the city, Riga Bay and the Daugava River with its large port. The tower is 123.25 meters high, and visitors are taken to the second gallery at the height of 72 meters. The more than 130 meters tall Gothic tower was completed at the end of the 15th century, but already in 1666 it collapsed. In 1690, a new tower was built in the Baroque style, with several domes and galleries, being the highest wooden construction in the world at the time. In 1721, a lightning struck the tower and it burned down. At the decree of Russian Tsar Peter I the tower was renovated. The church was also demolished and the tower burned down during World War II. In 1967, renovation of the tower began. This time a metal construction with an elevator was built so that the galleries can be used as sightseeing platforms. The church hall is rather bare but leaves a grand impression. The middle part of it reaches a height of 30 meters. The altar part with five chapels demonstrates verticality of the Gothic style and fine profiles. In 1997 Riga St Peter’s Church was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Take the lift to the observation platform for spectacular views of the city. Open: 10:00-18:00, Sun 12:00-18:00. Closed Mon. Price: 9 euros. St. Peter's Church is seen from the far. You can, already, observe its tower from the intersection of Skārņu iela and Kaļķu iela in the south-west corner of Līvu Square (Līvu laukums).
Note: we don't think you have to pay the hefty entrance fee for getting a view of Riga. You may see better views from the National Latvian Library building west to the Daugava river (FREE) and from the Radisson Blu Hotel (FREE. No need to enter the Skyline restaurant. You get marvelous views from every high floor as well:
If you are still fit - make a final effort to see a gorgeous internal courtyard - several metres from the St. Peter's church - before returning to the Central Bus Station or your hotel. Head north on Reformācijas Laukums toward Skārņu iela and walk 85 m. north-east along Skārņu iela to see the Felicita
Restaurant at Skārņu iela 22 and its marvelous courtyard:
View of St. Peter's Church from Felicita Restaurant:
To return to Riga Bus Station or to Weelton Hotel and Spa: head southeast on Skārņu iela toward Jāņa sēta, 130 m. Turn left onto Audēju iela, 170 m. Here you see the retro-bicycle:
BTW: Saulkrasti Bicycle Museum, Rīgas iela 44 a, Saulkrasti is the only collection of old bicycles in Latvia. The home of bicycles! The development of the collection started in 1977. It contains the most technically interesting samples from the history of bicycle development found in Latvia. Opening hours: Apr - Sept, Monday - Sunday: 10.00 - 18.00. Turn right onto Vaļņu iela, 120 m to see Wellton Riga Hotel & SPA at Vaļņu iela 49.
Nice Old Town:
Main Attractions: Massena Square, Nice Hôtel de ville, Nice Opera, Place du Palais de Justice, Caserne Rusca, Palais de la Prefecture, Cours Saleya, Galerie Marine and the Galerie des Ponchettes, Chapelle de la Miséricorde, Rue de la Poissonnerie, Rue Droite, Eglise Saint Jaques, Place Rossetti, Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, Place de la Halle aux Herbes, Palais Lascaris, Place Garibaldi.
Start: Place Massena.
End: Place Garibaldi.
Distance: 6-7 km. Weather: any weather. Duration: 1/2 - 3/4 day.
Place Massena Place Massena is a wonderful and colourful square worth visiting. It is one of the most strategic spots in Nice. Bus no.98 from / to Nice airport stops here. It is very handy for the (cheap and efficient) trams that cross the city. Place Masséna is 5-10 minutes walk to the beach and to the famous Promenade des Anglais. It is 2 minutes walk to the old town and to the Promenade du Paillon. Place Massena is home to the little white tourist train which runs on the road along the Promenade des Anglais and climbs to the old town hill. From the square - it is 15 minutes walk to the main train station. The Avenue Malaussena from the square leads directly to Nice train station. This square is in the middle of the city with many restaurants and shops. This is, mainly, a pedestrian area - but watch out for the trams passing through !
The Massena Square's fountain and sculptures alone make it a must-see attraction on its own. The square is especially beautiful at night when the lights are on. The statues are lit-up, during the night, in various colors which is rather romantic to wander around. The lighting colour is changed at preset intervals. The Massena square is beautifully tiled (the black and gray/white pavers are very attractive) and surrounded with beautiful, Italian-styled, "palaces" and brick painted buildings with remarkable architecture. The main attraction is on the southern edge of the square - the amazing statue of Apollo with the dancing fountain waters (were the river used to be). A Christmas market is installed during December with terrific illuminations and big wheel. Do not skip the Gallerie Lafayette, nearby, for, rather expensive, shopping.
Note: be aware of pickpockets and homeless people sleeping there during the durkness hours:
Noe, on the eastern side of Massena Square - the Galeries Lafayette:
Statue of Alfred Auguste Janniot (1889 - 1969) - "La Fontaine du Soleil" (augurated - 1956):
From the Fontaine du Soleil leave the Place Massena from its EASTERN corner and descend onto the old Nice town to Rue Alexandre Mari.
After approximately 120m. walk eastward along Rue Alexandre Mari - turn right onto Rue de l'Hôtel de ville for 60 m. and arrive to the Nice Hôtel de ville (town hall), 5 Rue de l'Hotel de ville. It is a Neoclassical building on the outside and Art-Deco inside. Was built in 1730 and used successively as a seminary for the Diocese, a Saint Roch hospital and a barracks. Since 1868, it has been the Town Hall:
Head southward along Rue de l'Hôtel de ville until its end. Rue Saint-François de Paule is on your right and left. Turn left onto Rue Saint-François de Paule for 95 m.
Maison Auer, 7 rue St. François de Paule, is one of the favourite places in Nice in the Old Town. It is a Confiserie and Chocolaterie (sweet shop/chocolate shop). Feast for the eyes. The architecture is beautiful. When you enter this amazing shop on rue St. François de Paule you are transported back in time about 150 years. The ORIGINAL Florentine style interior is decorated with stained glass, crystal chandeliers, and marble-topped display cabinets adorned with cherubs and festoons of flowers. After you have finished admiring the architecture, you will start to notice the stunning products on offer. Henri Auer was a Swiss confectioner. He moved to France in the mid 1800s and opened up several shops in the Marseille area. But when this shop came up for sale in Nice, just across from the opera, he sold his other shops and moved here. No doubt it had something to do with the boom in tourism happening in Nice at that time. In the 19th century, Nice was filled with wealthy, mainly British, tourists, looking for places to spend their money. Henri’s business flourished and has been in the same location and owned by the same family ever since. Today, this sweet shop is run by the fifth generation of the Auer family:
Turn right onto Rue Raoul Bosio for 35 m. and the Nice Opera building (Theatre Municipal), 4-6 Rue Saint-François de Paule is on your right. The building is one of the most spectacular in the city. It is sumptuously decorated with composite capitals, gilded boxes against an off-white background and red tapestry.
The Opera is home to the Philharmonic Orchestra, a ballet company, a professional chorus and a children’s chorus. The artistic season features opera, symphonic music and choreography. Capacity: 800 seats 200 standing. Season: SEP - JUN. Current calendar of performances: http://operabase.com/view.cgi?lang=en&cal=wfnio_1516. Matinees Musicales at the Opera: One Sunda, every month, there is a performance of the Nice Symphony Orchestra (Nice Philharmonic en famille) at the magical setting of the Nice Opera House, at a bargain price: Children from 7-18 are free, little children from 4-7 are 5€, and adults are only 7€. The concert starts at 11.00, but it’s open seating so you’ll want to get there early (one hour in advance) to get good seats or even stake out one of the private loges. The best idea is to drop by the day before to get your tickets so you won’t be stuck in the ticket line while the others are racing for the best seats.
A small wooden theater was established in 1776 by the Marquise Alli de Maccarani. Laid out in 1776, all wood, the theatre's north façade opens onto the city and its southern facade on the ramparts of the Quai des Americas (Quai des États-Unis). In 1826, the City of Nice bought the theater on the advice of King Charles Felix and decided to raze it off in order to build a grand, new opera in the Italian style, on-lieu of the site of the old one. The Opera became Municipal Theatre in 1870. On Wednesday, March 23, 1881, during the opening of "Lucia di Lammermoor" opera, a terrible fire, probably due to a gas leak at the scene ramp, completely destroyed the theater. On 7 November 1882, the municipality decided to rebuild the new theater on the site of the former one. François Aune, a student of Gustave Eiffel built a traditional masonry envelope containing stones, bricks and lime. The new theater was equipped with a beautiful decoration, the ceiling, painted by Emmanuel Costa, representing the Chariot of the Sun. The sculptures represented the Muses: Euterpe (music), Melpomene (tragedy), Thalia (comedy) and Terpsichore (dance). In 1902 the Municipal Theatre takes the name we know today: Opéra de Nice. The Theatre has been declared as "historical monument" in 1993:
Our next destination (Cours Saleya) is 300 m. from the Opera house. You can go from the Opera to Saleya Square via the seashore orr through the market. The first route passes through dirty backyards and the second one through noisy, bustling, touristic market. We'll select the first itinerary. Head south on Rue Raoul Bosio toward Quai des États-Unis, 35 m. Turn left onto Quai des États-Unis, 170 m. Turn left toward Cours Saleya, 50 m.
The alternative route: Just after the opera on the left, you will get a glimpse of the large Palace of Justice/law courts Square - which has some terraces but isn’t the most pleasant part of the Old Town to stop over in. So just keep going straight down the road until you hit the pedestrian area where the street becomes the Cours Saleya. The Place du Palais de Justice where there are markets almost every Saturday. The first and third Saturdays of the month, you’ll find a book market selling everything from used paperbacks to beautiful rare books. The second Saturday is a craft and painting market, and the fourth Saturday is a market selling old post cards. Officially, the hours for these Saturday markets are 07.00 - 17.00 but, you'll find they start quite later...:
Marché aux Cartes Postales Anciennes, Place du Palais de Justice:
Opposite the Palais de Justice (north of it) is the Caserne Rusca, 2 rue de la Terrasse; Palace Square (actually in Rue Raoul Bosio). The Rusca Barracks are often touted in guidebooks as a former St. Dominic convent. The building was constructed for the accommodation of troops. It dates from the last quarter of the eighteenth century. In 1990, the building became an annex of the courthouse on the opposite side of the square. It houses including the district court as well as various services of the High Court (Family Court, juvenile court judges, enforcement of sentences). The pink/ivory colored bell tower looming above us, is called the "Clocher de la Tour Rusca". It dates from 1718:
A bit east to the Palais de Justice is the Palais de la Prefecture (also known as the Palais des Rois Sardes), 10, Rue Prefecture. NOT to be missed. This site is normally closed to public. You should be lucky to catch a special event or festive day to visit this wonderful palace. We visited the place during the Heritage Days (FREE) which are held every September (2nd or 3rd week of the month). Nicely illuminated in the evenings. Great place for photographs. Fantastic decor inside. You will be amazed by the richness of the furniture, painted ceilings, tables of Jules Cheret, the Hall of Mirrors and the Rural Hall. Nice view of the Cours Saleya markets and the beach (Quai des États-Unis) from its balconies. it was first constructed as the 18th-century Palais Royal to accommodate the governors and princes of Savoy, a hospital during the French Revolution and the Prefecture Palace when Nice became French in 1860. This building has been renovated several times. It is now the seat of the region's administrative dignitaries and, as such, is not open to the public:
The Rural Hall:
Hall of Mirrors:
The Grand Dining Room:
The Small Dining Room:
Head east on Rue Raoul Bosio toward Place du Palais de Justice
15 m. Turn right onto Place du Palais de Justice, 45 m. Continue onto Rue Louis Gassin, 50 m. Turn left onto Cours Saleya. The Cours Saleya is a long open space running parallel to the sea, is one of the liveliest streets of Old Nice. The Cours Saleya is between the Old City (Vielle Ville) and the beachfront. It is looking eastwards towards the Castle Hill.
Cours Saleya hosts four different markets. Every morning, the Cours Saleya market overflows with fresh produce, cheeses, olives, herbs, flowers and charm. A veritable kaleidoscope of sights and smells, Cours Saleya Market is at its best on Sundays, with the vendors out in full force, complimented by the weekend artists and street musicians. It’s the perfect day to experience the market, pick up a little something for lunch, and then picnic on the beach or at the top of the Chateau (free elevator across from the beach for those disinclined to climb the stairs). The only day you won’t find flowers and food in Cours Saleya is Monday. On Mondays, don’t miss the Brocante at Cours Saleya, a giant open-air weekly antique market that goes on all day. The fabulous Nice flower market (Marché aux Fleurs) runs from TUE - SUN, and whereas the food area is open only in the morning (until 13.00), the flower section stays open all day until late afternoon hours. The largest part of the market today is made up of colourful fruit and vegetables, often quite artistically displayed. The sellers tempt the passers-by with samples. Fruit is really excellent, and it is a pleasure to get up early and select the best raw ingredients with many chefs and local restaurant owners. Maybe the traditional fame of the flower sellers gets its fame because of the importance of the flower market in Nice’s history. In 1897 Nice opened the first wholesale cut flower market in the world. Thanks to the railroads, carloads of cut flowers were shipped from Nice to cities across France and Europe every day for almost 100 years. The growers in the hills would bring down their cut flowers every morning. After the wholesalers had made their bulk purchases, the market would be opened for individuals to buy their bouquets. In the summer Cours Saleya never sleeps, and from 18.00 on becomes a Summer Night Crafts Market. The rule is that everything must be hand-made or painted by the local artist, which happily eliminates mass-produced trinkets. It makes for a lovely festive atmosphere, surrounded by the cafe tables and restaurants.
Once you get to the end of the Cours Saleya, you can either turn right and head towards the waterfront and enjoy some sumptuous views over the whole Baie des Anges from the Castle Hill, or else carry on the tour of the Old Town and go left. Running parallel to Cours Saleya is the rue de la Préfecture which heads back towards Place du Palais and comes to life in the early evenings at around 5 or 6pm, which is aperitif time in Nice. The street is lined with bars (mainly English-style pubs or more upmarket lounges) and some pretty decent restaurants.
Head on Cours Saleya until its most western end toward Place Pierre Gautier. Turn left to stay on Cours Saleya. Turn right onto Quai des États-Unis, 75 m to reach the seashore and we face the Galerie Marine and the Galerie des Ponchettes, 59 and 77 Quai des États-Unis (respectively). The French city of Nice has always been a magnet for artists, who are attracted by its Mediterranean climate, mouth-watering cuisine, azure blue sea and vibrantly coloured houses. Matisse, Renoir, Arman and Chagall were all inspired by this stretch of the Côte d’Azur. The Galerie Marine is dedicated to young emerging artists on the national and international stage of contemporary art. One of Nice’s many municipal attractions, Galerie de la Marine was the premier contemporary art space in the city until the founding of the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain in 1990. As a consequence of the opening of this new museum, Galerie de la Marine instead turned its attention to displaying the permanent collection and paintings of Alexis Mossa (1844-1926) and his son, Gustav-Adolf Mossa (1883-1971). Upon the arrival of the 21st century, the gallery went back to promoting contemporary art and focusing on the young creative scene. A variety of international artists have exhibited their works here. Opening hours:
daily (exce. Website :
The Galerie des Ponchettes is located next to the sea. The 19th century building of Galerie des Ponchettes was a fish market. Since the 1960s, however, it has housed a contemporary art gallery showcasing local and foreign talents. Galerie des Ponchettes was the first project in the creation of Nice’s Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, MAMAC. Opening hours: daily (except Mondays and public holidays): 10.00 to 18.00. Free admission:
Note: The 14 municipal museums in Nice all have an 10€ admission charge (although some are grouped into one ticket, see below), but there are still 3 major categories of free: Children under 18, students of any age get in free (but you have to have student ID) and locals. The best deal, If you don’t qualify for any of the above, is the 7-day museum pass for 20€, that gets you in to all 14 municipal museums at your leisure for a week, including the Matisse Museum in Cimiez (NOT recommended) and the Palais Lascaris (recommended) in Old Nice. Admission is free to all galleries. More details: https://www.nice.fr/uploads/media/default/0001/04/museum_admission_fees.pdf
We return to to Cours Saleya. Head east on Quai des États-Unis, 75 m. Turn left toward Cours Saleya, 50 m. Slight right onto Cours Saleya
15 m. Turn right to stay on Cours Saleya, 25 m. On your left - Chapelle de la Miséricorde (Chapel of Mercy). Entirely decorated in yellow. Supposed to be one of the most stunning churches in Nice (the interiors). The exterior is not such impressive. Very difficult to find this church opened. You may target it only during JUL-AUG on Tuesdays from 10.00 - 18.00. But, not sure, it will be open even during these opening hours. No information in the web and in the local tourist office. NO PHOTOS ALLOWED INSIDE. STRICTLY PROHIBITED. The Chapelle de la Misericorde (Chapel of Mercy) is a Baroque structure built in the mid 18th century, between 1747 and 1770, by the design of Bernardo Vittone. The Baroque style is reflected both by the façade of the building and by its interior layout and decorations. Starting with the elliptical nave and ending with the chapels which border it. At present, it is entrusted to the religious order of the Black Penitents of Nice. Inside, you can admire a series of paintings representing different patterns of archiconfrery and Theatines, previous occupants of the chapel. There are also two paintings in the sacristy of the Virgin of Mercy, one conducted in 1429 by Jean Mirailhet and the other around 1515 by Louis Brea. Thanks to the excellent acoustics, it is a favored place for concerts and conferences. It is also the venue of The Biennale Internationale de Ceramique d'Art de Vallauris and is known in general to provide space to artists to display their work. Vallauris is a small town further down along the coast and infamous for ceramics, even Pablo Picasso set up a studio there between 1948-1955 during which he created many masterpieces, and Vallauris has been a hub for ceramists ever since:
Head east on Cours Saleya toward Rue de la Poissonnerie, 100 m. Behind the golden houses of the Poissonnerie square (the Fish Square) - rises the Château de Nice (Castle Hill of Nice):
Turn left onto Rue de la Poissonnerie. In this road stands the painted house. In this old house, part of the facade is painted as were many fronts in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The fresco bears the date of its creation "1584" and the initials LT owners:
It was common during these centuries to adorn the walls and houses fronts with scenes from the Bible. Here we see Adam and Eve in the Garden of Paradise:
In the MIDDLE of Rue de la Poissonnerie - we turn right (east) to Rue Barillerie and LEFT (north) to Rue Jules Giley (where the impressive wooden toys shop stands...). We pass Rue du Malonat on our right (east). Continuing on the same direction - we walk along Rue Droite. Rue Droite connects Cours Selya (south) and Place Garibaldi (north). It a straight and narrow road - very famous with its shops, galleries and medieval houses:
Note, on your right, the Chez Acchiardo (38, rue Droite): lovely small restaurant with a good reasonably priced menu. Open ONLY MON- FRI (closed at weekends). Pre booking is mandatory. A family-run restaurant. Enjoy local food and hearty atmosphere.
30 m. further north, on your left, is the Restaurant du Gesu (1, Place du Jésus) (facing the Saint Jaques church (see below): good Italian food (including tasty Pizzas), not expensive and good service. Better dine in the early evening hours (later - very busy). No WI-FI:
We continue northward (in the same direction) through Rue Droite. Walking along Rue Droite - pass Rue du Château on your right (east) and a bit further - you see the Eglise Saint Jaques (Gesu church of the Jesuits order). Souvenirs are sold in the front door. It mat detract some visitors. Built in the second half of the XVII century. It resembles the Gesu Cathedral in Vittorio-Emmanuel square in Rome. The construction works were initiated in 1607, but they were completed only 43 years later, in 1650. The church was entrusted to the Jesuit order of Nice, and since its construction until now it had undergone little or no modification of the original structure. Its gray-blue western façade combines Baroque and Classicism styles. The interior of the church is of the Baroque. Inside the church is richly decorated with sculptures, gilding, moldings, extraordinarily beautiful frescoes:
Note, on your left, continuing north along Rue Droite the Atelier Fiorella Pierobon at #33, Rue Droite:
Walk 60 m. further north and turn LEFT (west) to Rue Rossetti
and walk 100 m. westward along Rue Rossetti. Place Rossetti is on your left. Turn LEFT (south) onto Rue Sainte-Reparate, 10 m. to face Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate, 4 Rue Sainte-Reparate.
We’ve arrived on Place Rossetti, an extremely charming, busy square, full of terraces. The restaurants & ice cream shops combined with the church mean this is a place that is never empty or quiet. It has a number of popular restaurants and ice cream shops (Fenocchio's) (huge selection of flavors - some of them very exotic !):
A great spot to get the real feel of Old Nice. Fantastic place to hang-on during the late evening or dark hours. The whole world is here.
Rue du Pont Vieux - leads north from Place Rossetti:
According to the legend, St. Reparate's martyred body, killed at the age of 15 in Caesarea (Israel), was loaded upon a small boat and abandonned to the sea. A dove guided it to the Nice's seashore where people built a chapel to house the relics. Early in the 15th century, rather than giving them to Pope Benedict XIII, they concealed them using several hiding places until Nice's bishop displayed them in the St. Reparate Cathedral where they lie since 1690s. The Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate was built between 1650 and 1699, the year of its consecration. It is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saint Reparata. The cathedral is dedicated to Sainte Reparate, a virgin who was martyred. Her remains are sheltered inside the cathedral. The cathedral was rebuilt, in a Baroque style, on the model of Santa Susanna in Rome. A bell-tower (campanile) was built between 1731 and 1757, which partially obscures the cupola. Between 1825 and 1830 a Baroque revival façade replaced the original west front. Between 1900 and 1903 an apse was added on either side of the choir. The interior, also Baroque, includes ten chapels. Until the end of the 17th century each of them was connected to a different guild which had the responsibility and expense of maintaining them. The high altar is surmounted by a picture of the Glory of Saint Reparata, the virgin martyr to whom the cathedral is dedicated and whose relics have been enshrined here since 1690. The cathedral's exterior in no way prepares you for the stunning interior. BEAUTIFUL, calm and pleasant INTERIORS. You can stay here - at least half an hour and enjoy this hidden gem. The décor, architecture and paintings are stunning to behold:
This little square next (WEST) to the Cathédrale Sainte Réparate is actually part of Place Rossetti, but it’s called Place de la Halle aux Herb. Note, there, the Restaurant Patin Couffin, 1, Rue Francis Gallo with its wonderful frescoes:
From Place de la Halle aux Herbes - you have 2 options:
Heading to a good, budget restaurant and continuing to Place Garibaldi (our last destination) OR returning to Rue Droite (to Palais Lascaris) and to Place Garibaldi.
From Place de la Halle aux Herbes to our restaurant: Head west on Place de la Halle aux Herbes toward Rue Francis Gallo 10 m. Continue onto Rue Francis Gallo, 60 m. Turn left onto Rue du Marché, 85 m. Here, we found the new-opened Grill and Diner restaurant, 10 Descente du Marché - facing, on its north side - the most western part of magnificent Promenade du Paillon. Honest and kind service, delicious and generous portions. Very clean and well air-conditioned. Nice decor. Just opened in SEP 2015. They try to do their best.
From Place de la Halle aux Herbes to Palais Lascaris (160 m.): Head east on Place de la Halle aux Herbes toward Rue Sainte-Reparate, 20 m. Continue onto Pl. Rossetti, 90 m. Turn left onto Rue Droite, 55 m. and Palais Lascaris is at 15 Rue Droite.
From 10 Descente du Marché to Palais Lascaris (300 m.): Head northeast on Rue du Marché toward Rue du Pontin, 30 m. Slight left to stay on Rue du Marché, 55 m. Continue onto Rue de la Boucherie, 100 m. Continue onto Rue du Collet, 35 m. Turn right onto Rue Centrale, 10 m. Turn left onto Rue de la Loge, 60 m. Turn right onto Rue Droite, 10 m.
The Palais Lascaris is a seventeenth-century aristocratic building. Toda, it is a musical instrument museum. Iit houses a collection of over 500 instruments, which makes it France’s second most important collection. It is an unexpected gem, small museum with very pleasant collection of artefacts and instruments. If you have the opportunity to visit the museum freely or included in your pass - DO NOT MISS THIS MUSEUM. You will thoroughly enjoy the splendor of the palace itself (rooms restored to their original medieval glory) as well as the wonderful rare exhibits (many unusual instruments from different periods). Fascinating insight into rich, vieux Nice and its Belle Époques. This Baroque-style ‘palace’ was built in the early 1600’s for the richest and most powerful family in town, the Vintimille-Lascaris family. Check out the grand staircase, the arches, the unusual carved doors and hinges (automatic door-closers), the frescoes and the ingenious medieval air-conditioning system. Fast forward 200 years to the beginning of 20th century, by which time Old Nice had transformed into a slum, and all these formerly fancy digs were occupied by multiple poor families often living in pverty, usually having only one shared sink and toilet for all the families on each floor. Even up through the 1960’s, apartments in Old Nice didn’t have refrigerators, the streets were full of garbage and rats.This house was no different, and even after it was acquired by the city in the 40’s, it was still inhabited by squatters until the restorations commenced in the ’60’s. The museum is in three parts. The temporary exhibit, the curious collection of ancient musical instruments (the 2nd largest antique musical instrument collection in France), and the opulently restored 10.00 to 18.00, closed Mondays, May 1, Easter, Christmas and Jan. 1. Tickets: 10€ for adults, or 20€ for 7-day municipal museum card good for 14 museums and galleries in Nice. Free for children under 18, students of any age with student ID. Even though this is a Municipal Museum, it is one of only two (the Matisse Museum is the other) that doesn’t have a shared admission ticket with one or more other museums. A 10€ admission just for this tiny museum is a bit steep, so I would instead recommend getting the 20€ 7-day municipal museum card good for all 14 museums and galleries in Nice:
Salon de Venus & Adonis:
Chambre de Aparat:
Salondes Chevalliers de-Maitre:
From Palais Lascaris - you just head north, 450 m. - to arrive to Place Garibaldi (our last spot in this daily route). Head north on Rue Droite toward Rue de la Loge, 75 m. Rue Droite turns slightly right and becomes Rue St Francois, 75 m. Continue onto Rue Pairolière, 190 m. Turn left to stay on Rue Pairolière, 10 m. Turn right onto Boulevard Jean Jaurès, 35 m.
Continue onto Place Garibaldi.
From 10 Descente du Marché to Place Garibaldi: you walk 650 m. to Place Garibaldi (the northern edge of the old town. Head north on Descente du Marché toward Descente Crotti
60 m. Turn right onto Boulevard Jean Jaurès and walk 510 m. north-east until Place Garibaldi. Place Garibaldi owes it's name to Giuseppe Garibaldi who was born in Nice, shortly after the region had been annexed from Italy by Napoleon, but was subsequently returned to Italy some years later. Garibaldi, later, become a famous Italian general and, personally, commanded and fought in many military campaigns that led eventually to the formation of a unified Italy. Today, Garibaldi Square is a large and busy tree-lined and collonaded square, near to the heart of Nice. There is a statue of Garibaldi, as a son of the city, in the centre of the square. The square is crossed by the new and popular tram line and surrounded by street restaurants in the summer, shops & cafes, a cinema that shows English language films. Far more cafe's reside in the area between the square and the Port of Nice (south-east of the square). Note the well known seafood restaurant on the south west corner - Cafe de Turin, favored by locals and tourists (reasonable prices). Nearby, north-west of the square, stretches a large open green area, known as the marvelous Promenade du Paillon, with fountains and pleasant walking-paths (see our blog of "Chateau de Nice"). We liked the yellow color of the buildings framing the square. It seemed warm and cheery.
A lot of money has been invested in cleaning Garibaldi Square surroundings. Now that the renovations are all finished it's a great place to stroll around and admire the Venetian (Italian)-looking "Piazza". This the core of Nice and one of the most bustling spots of the city:
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.