Moscow - from Pushkinskaya Square to Red Square

JUN 21,2015 - JUN 21,2015 (1 DAYS)

Russian Federation

1 DAYS

Citywalk

From Pushkinskaya Square to Red Square

Tip 1: Tverskaya. From Pushkin square to the Manege Square.

Tip 3: From the Red Square to the Revolution Square Metro Station.

Main attractions: Pushkinskaya Metro station, Tverskaya Metro station, Pushkinskaya Square,  statue of Pushkin, Izvestia building, Tverskaya Street, Moscow Townhall, Central Telegraph Building, Kamergerskiy pereulok (Moscow Art Theatre), Theatre Square, Bolshoy Theatre, Operetta Theatre, State Duma, Yermolova Theatre, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Hotel National,  Four Seasons Hotel, Manezhnaya ploshchad or Manege Square, statue of Marshall Gregory Zhukov, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Red Square, Resurrection Gate and the Iveron chapel, The State Historical Museum, former City Hall, Kazan Cathedral, GUM shopping centre, St. Basil's Cathedral, Lenin's Mausoleum, Kremlin Wall Necropolis, Lobnoye Mesto.
Start: Pushkinskaya. Nearest metro stations: Tverskaya, Pushkinskaya,
Chehovskoya.
End: Ploshchad' Revolyutsii (Revolution Square) Metro station (Line 3, the Dark Blue line).
Duration: 3/4 day - 1 day.
Distance: 6 km.

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By saying "Pushkinskaya" - we mean, primarily, the Pushkinskaya Square or Pushkin Square (Пу́шкинская пло́щадь) in the Tverskoy District of central Moscow. You can reach this square ONLY from the underground pass. If you're looking for something to do, people to watch, and a general buzzing atmosphere, this is the place to take it all in. After all, this is one of the busiest squares in the world. Moscow's Time Square. We were there, in a gloomy, summer-time Sunday - and it was EMPTY. It was historically known as Strastnaya Square, after Strastnoy Monastery, which was demolished after the revolution, like all other churches. It was renamed for Alexander Pushkin in 1937. It is part of the Boulevard Ring: Tverskoy Boulevard to the southwest and Strastnoy Boulevard to the northeast (followed by  Petrovsky Blvd. further to the east). Tverskaya Street, 2 kilometres is leading us from Pushkinskaya Square southeast to the Kremlin (2 km. northwest of the Kremlin). It is commonly known to locals as "Pushka" (cannon).

In 2011, city authorities halted the construction of an underground retail and leisure centre at Pushkinskaya Square. The decision to build the centre had sparked protests from cultural heritage groups, members of the scientific and artistic communities and the public. The project, had been canceled, formally, at 2013. In 2011 Moscow has lost more than 10 historic buildings. So, on 1 OCT 2011, Archnadzor, a Moscow preservation society, organized a rally opposing the destruction of Moscow architectural landmarks. Around 700 people attended. The participants were Archnadzor activists, public figures, experts. They, mainly, protested against the Pushkinskaya Square reconstruction plans.

Do not miss the square during the Christmas period or during local holidays and festivals. In summer, the Moscow Film Festival is held here. The square itself is a bustling collection of restaurants, bars, cafes and entertainment venues. The huge building of Pushkinsky cinema never leaves cinema-lovers in peace: it possesses the biggest screen in Western Europe, and almost every show here is a national premiere. Pushkinskaya Square is home to Russia's very first - and biggest - McDonalds restaurant. With stories of queues around the block upon its initial opening in 1990, and images of McDonalds' staff being given lessons in smiling to patrons, this is worth a stop if only just to contemplate the capitalist journey of this heavenly consumerist city over recent years. Notably, this McDonald has been the largest one in the world for over 20 years, but will be beaten into 2nd place by a new establishment on the London's Olympic site. The restaurant had been closed in AUG 2014 by the Russian authorities. McDonald's has become a casualty of heightened tensions between Russia and the US over the Ukraine crisis, as some of Moscow’s more patriotic officials take aim at the US fast food giant, presumably as a proxy for the White House.

There is a bunch of Metro stations around. Pushkinskaya Metro station is 60 m. east to the Tverskaya Metro station and 180m. west to the Chekhovskaya Metro station. Practically, all the three are interconnected underground. Arguably the most beautiful station on the 7 Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya (violet) line - the architects Vdovin and Bazhenov took every effort to make it appear to have a 'classical' 19th century setting. The central hall lighting is created with stylised 19th century chandeliers with two rows of plafonds appearing like candles, while the side platforms have candlesticks with similar plafonds. The columns, covered with 'Koelga' white marble are decorated with palm leaf reliefs and the grey marble walls are decorated with brass measured insertions based on the works of the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. The grey granite floor completes the appearance of the masterpiece. Architecturally the station put the final stop to the functionality economy design of the 1960s and went against Nikita Khrushchev's policy of struggle to avoid decorative 'extras', which left the stations of 1958–59 greatly altered in their design. “Pushkinskaya” (Пушкинская) metro station is located on “Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya” line (violet line) of Moscow metro, between stations “Barrikadnaya” and “Kuznetski most”. It is possible to get to “Zamoskvoretskaya” subway line ("Tverskaya" station) and “Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya” line ("Chekhovskaya" station) from station “Pushkinskaya”. The station was opened on December 17, 1975. Depth of the station is 51 meters. Width of the middle hall of the station is 8.2 meters, height - 6.25 meters. Pushkinskaya metro station has two underground lobbies: West underground lobby is shared by stations “Pushkinskaya” and “Tverskaya”. The lobby has two underground halls, connected by two passages (here are located ticket-offices). The lobby has entrance on “Tverskaya” street and in the underpass. East underground lobby is shared by stations “Pushkinskaya” and “Chekhovskaya”. The lobby has an exit to the underpass under “Strastnoj Boulevard” street (further north to the start of our daily route).

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Tverskaya (Тверская) Metro station is located on the “Zamoskvoretskaya” metro line (green line No. 2), between stations “Mayakovskaya” and “Teatralnaya”. The station was opened on July 20, 1979. Until 05.11.1990 the station had the name “Gorkovskaya”. The station has connections to the station “Pushkinskaya” (Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya line) and “Chekhovskaya” (Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya line). Entrance to the station is via a shared with “Pushkinskaya” station underground vestibule, which is located under Pushkinskaya Square. Exit to the city from the lobby through the underground passages, through of the “Izvestia” publishing building, on Tverskaya Street. Passage to the station “Pushkinskaya” is located in the center of the station underground hall. Passage to the station “Chekhovskay’ is located in the south end of the station hall.

Metro station “Chekhovskaya” (Чеховская) is located on “Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya” line (gray line, No. 9) of the Moscow Metro, between stations “Tsvetnoy boulevard” and “Borovitskaya”. The station was opened on December 31, 1987. Depth of the station is 62 meters. The metro station is located at the intersection of streets “Strastnoy Boulevard”, “Malaya Dmitrovka”, “Bolshaya Dmitrovka”, next to the “Pushkinskaya” square. Passage to the station “Pushkinskaya” of Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya line is located in the middle of the hall. Transfer to the station “Tverskaya” of Zamoskvoretskaya metro line located in the western end of the central hall of the station. Exit to the city through the underpass and ground lobby, located in a building on Pushkin Square.

At the center of the square is the famous statue of Pushkin, funded by public donations and opened by Ivan Turgenev and Fyodor Dostoyevsky in 1880. The square worth a quick visit if only to admire the dominating statue of Pushkin. Originally installed on the opposite side of the Pushkin Square, In 1950 the monument was moved to the place where he stands today. Hard to believe that this wonderful creation exists for more than a hundred and thirty years, and the monument is still maintained in excellent condition. The most popular meeting-place in Moscow. It's hard to find a Muscovite, who at least once did not appoint a meeting at the monument. This poetic genius is seen as the father of Russian poetry and culture, and is immortalized throughout Russia and other post-Soviet countries almost obsessively. This particular Pushkin monument stands near the Moscow center in Pushkinskaya square, where number of poetic performances take place. Alexander Pushkin is depicted (by Russian artist Alexander Opekushin) deeply thoughtful, lays a hand behind his coat, extended leg forward, hands behind his waistcoat - appearing just as philosophical as the father of Russian poetry should be. He looks thoughtful, humble and majestic:

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The Izvestia building is on the North side of Pushkin Square (cross Putinkovskiy, Большой Путинковский пер.), just off Tverskaya Ulitsa. The building is not open to the public. Izvestia, still a Russian daily newspaper. It was the official newspaper of the Soviet government (in contrast to Pravda which was the Party newspaper). The Izvestia building in Pushkin Square was built ten years after the Revolution (designed by Gregory Barkhin, 1927) to house both the offices and printing presses of Izvestia newspaper.

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Tverskaya Street (Тверская улица) flows between Pushkinskaya and Tverskaya Metro stations. With Tverskaya on your right and Pushkinskaya on your left - head DOWN HILL, south-east along Tverskaya Street. We'll walk 1.1 km along this street. It is hard to find pedestrian crossing on the busy road. To cross you have to go underneath the street. You'll find the street interesting - as on both sides of the streets there are old buildings with beautiful architecture, fashionable boutiques, disco bars, restaurants, hotels, cafés, and arcades. Tverskaya Street is the most expensive shopping street in Moscow and Russia. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Tverskaya Street was renowned as the centre of Moscow's social life. The nobility considered it fashionable to settle in this district. Between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the rise of Stalinist architecture in mid-1930s, the street acquired three modernist buildings (Izvestia Building, Central Telegraph Building and the Lenin Institute in Tverskaya Square (1926) by Stepan Chernyshyov). During the imperial period, the importance of the thoroughfare was highlighted by the fact that it was through this street that the Tsars arrived from the Northern capital to stay at their Kremlin residence. Several triumphal arches were constructed to commemorate coronation ceremonies. In 1792, the Tverskaya Square was laid out before the residence of the governor of Moscow as a staging ground for mass processions and parades. In 1947, the square was decorated with the equestrian statue of Prince Yury Dolgoruky, founder of Moscow.

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You start this street where the 6 storeys Alfa-Bank building is on your left.Note the marvelous (still, decaying) Art-Nouveau building at #12:

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A bit further, on your right, at # 13 is Residence of the Mayor of Moscow  or Moscow Townhall (Tverskaya Street, 13) - former Moscow Governor General House. Built in 1782, it's decorated with beautiful pillars. It was a residency of Moscow rulers even during the times of Tsars:

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Golden St. George the Victorious on the Moscow townhall:

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Note, also, this huge picture along this bustling street - at Tverskaya #15:

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At Tverskaya square stands a statue of the legendary founder of Moscow, Yuri Dolgoruky, erected for the city's 800th anniversary (year 1947). During the times of Yuri Dolgoruky Moscow is first mentioned in historic documents in 1147 as the place of meeting between Yuri and his ally, some other prince. Yuri Dolgoruky sits on a horse with helmet and armor, pointing to a place where the future Kremlin must be built. The shield in his other hand depicts St. George the Victorious - the ancient heraldic symbol of Moscow:

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Fountains behind Tverskaya Square:

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The huge building at #11 is a complex built for the past-Communist party VIPs:

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Note at #7, down after Tverskaya Square, the Central Telegraph Building (see photo below). It was completed at 1926-7 and designed by Ivan I. Rerberg. it was one of the first major Soviet building projects commissioned in the bland neo-classical style that came to dominate the 1930s, and as such marked the beginning of the end for avant-garde architecture in Moscow. In the post-war years, the surrounding area gained notoriety as Moscow's most prominent red light district, purportedly 'staffed' by the low-wage workers of the Telegraph Office. It wasn't until the beginning of the new millennium that a concerted effort was made to clean up Tverskaya:

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At this point - you can divert from Tverskaya street and turn left (north-east) to Kamergerskiy pereulok (Камергерский пер.). Immediately, as we enter this alley, small road we see the statue of K. S. Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko - founders of Moscow Art Theatre:

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Moscow Art Theatre, Kamergersky Sidestreet, 3, was established by K. S. Stanislavsky and V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko in 1898 under the name Moscow Art Theatre (MXT). The Theatre received the status of “Academic Theater” in 1919 (MXAT). It was opened on October 14,1898 with the play “Tsar Fedor Ioanovich” in the “Hermitage” theatre building (Karetny ryad, 3). Since 1902 it is has been located on Kamergersky pereulok in the building of the former Lionozov theatre, reconstructed the same year by architect F. O. Shekhtel. The Art Theatre’s existence began from a meeting of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko at the “Slaviansky bazaar” restaurant on June 19th, 1897. The Theatre carried the name of “Art-Public” not for a long time: in 1901 the word “Public’ was removed, but the orientation to the democratic spectator remained one of MXT’s principles. The birth of MXT is bound up with Anton Chekhov’s famous palys (“The Seagull”, 1898; “Uncle Vanya”, 1899; “Three Sisters”, 1901; “The Cherry Orchard”, 1904) and with Maxim Gorky (“The Petty Bourgeoisie” and “Lower Depths”, 1902):

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Continue along Kamergerskiy pereulok. It is lined with splendid cafe's and restaurants. Nowadays, it is an up-scale quarter in Moscow. We found this road to be one of the most pleasant and atmospheric ones in Moscow. We recommend coming here, especially, in Sundays mid-day and spending one hour in one of the cafe's or eateries around:

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Continue along Kamergerskiy pereulok and cross Bolshaya Dmitrovka. Kamergerskiy pereulok changes its name to ul. Kuznetskiy Most (ул. Кузнецкий Мост) another attractive road. Kuznetsky Most runs from Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street to Lubyanka Street. The name, literally Blacksmith's Bridge, refers to the 18th-century bridge over Neglinnaya River, now running in an underground tunnel, and a nearby foundry and the settlement of its workers. Since the middle of 18th century, Kuznetsky Most was the street of fashion and expensive shopping. On your left an impressive square with modern-looking buildings, side-by-side with historical mansions. Since the 1980s, the street reacquired its status as an upper-class shopping lane, notably with rebuilding of Roman Klein's historical TsUM store. Among cultural institutions located on the street are the Moscow Operetta Theater, Kuznetsky Most Exhibition Hall, as well as two major state libraries:

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Turn right (south-east) to Petrovka and the second block on your right is the Bolshoy Theatre in the Theatre Square (Teatralnaya Square) (Театральная площадь), (Teatralnaya ploshchad). The square is named after the three theatres located on it — the Bolshoi Theatre, Maly Theatre (under reconstruction in summer 2015), and Russian Youth Theatre. The square is served by the Moscow metro at: the Teatralnaya station on the Zamoskvoretskaya Line; Okhotny Ryad station on the Sokolnicheskaya Line; and Ploshchad Revolyutsii station on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line:

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On the north side of the square: Bolshoy Theatre and on the opposite side (south side) the Karl Marx statue (actually, in the Revolution square):

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For a certain period in the beginning of the 19th century, the square held the name Petrovskaya, thanks to the adjacent Petrovka Street. Yet after the theatres were constructed, the square received its current name. A monument to revolutionist Yakov Sverdlov was installed in the square in 1919, and the square even bore Sverdlov’s name up until 1991, when the monument was taken down. The square also used to offer public transportation, which was later replaced with beautiful fountains and greenery. The area to the right of the Bolshoi Theatre (with your face to the theatre) was purchased by prominent Moscow merchant Vasily Vargin. This area soon became home to the Maly Theatre, which was leased to the Imperial Board of Theatres. During summer 2015 - Maly Theatre was covered with heavy scaffolding. To the left of the theatre was the house of General Konstantin Poltoratsky. The house hosted Mikhail Lentovsky’s theatre, the Nezlobin New Opera and Drama Theatre, and during the Soviet era, the Central Children’s Theatre, which was later renamed the Academic Youth Theatre. In 1835, the square saw the installation of a beautiful fountain with allegorical figurines portraying Tragedy, Comedy and Music (designed by Ivan Vitali). The fountain, which was supplied from the Mytishchi sources, drew numerous water carriers. Moreover, horses were brought here to drink. Two Scottish entrepreneurs: Archibald Mirrielees and Andrew Muir opened a department store in Theatre Square in 1892, and it bore their names - called Muir & Mirrielees, up until 1922. Now it is known as one of Moscow’s largest shopping centres — TSUM (central universal store - right side of the photo below and photos above):

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The history of the Bolshoi Theatre (Большо́й теа́тр), which was originally called the Petrovsky Theatre, began when Empress Ekaterina II granted a privilege to Prince Pyotr Urusov to produce theatre performances in Moscow. Unfortunately, Urusov went bankrupt and reassigned his privilege to entrepreneur Michael Maddox. The businessman purchased a plot of land at the beginning of Petrovka Street. The three-storey stone building was completed in just five months by architect Christian Rosenberg. The theatre was opened to the public on December 30, 1780, but it burned down in 1805. The new building was constructed after the Patriotic War of 1812, when Moscow was being rebuilt after the great fire. The design of Theatre Square is invariably connected with the name of the famous Russian architect Joseph Bove, who was in charge of restoring Moscow’s historical centre. Bove designed the architectural ensemble with the Petrovsky Theatre as its focal point. As time passed, the theatre was more and more often called the Bolshoi Theatre. Meanwhile, the site of the future square was located on the swampy bank of the Neglinnaya river, which ran across it, and bastions cover the area of the present-day Metropol hotel. In 1819, the river was encased and the bastions were leveled off, providing wide space for construction. The northern part of the square was allocated for military exercises, parades and troop reviews. In general, Joseph Bove’s ensemble in the late classicism style fit in perfectly with all the older buildings in the centre of Moscow. The theatre’s construction was completed in late 1824. People at that time were greatly impressed with the new Empire style building, noting that the theatre "rose from the ashes with the astounding beauty and magnificence of a Phoenix". Another fire hit the Bolshoi Theatre in 1853, destroying everything but the portico columns and outside walls. The renovation work was supervised by Albert Kavos — the chief architect of Imperial theatres. The third building was constructed in the neoclassical style and was opened on August 20, 1856. It was known as the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre. Muscovites were quite critical of the new building, always comparing it to the old one. Kavos added new details, while at the same time maintaining the general look. The building became bigger, a new pediment was added, and the façade changed. The theatre’s portico is adorned with Pyotr Klodt’s sculpture of Apollo riding a four-horsed chariot. The historic Bolshoy Theatre was designed by architect Joseph Bové, and holds performances of ballet and opera. The theatre's original name was the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow, while the St. Petersburg Bolshoi Theatre (demolished in 1886), was called the Imperial Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre. At that time, all Russian theatres were imperial property. Moscow and St. Petersburg each had only two theatres, one intended for opera and ballet (these were known as the Bolshoi Theatres), and one for plays (tragedies and comedies). Because opera and ballet were considered nobler than drama, the opera houses were named "Grand Theatres" ("Bolshoi" is Russian for "large" or "grand") and the drama theatres were called the "Smaller Theatre" ("Maly" is Russian for "small", "lesser", or "little"). The Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera are amongst the oldest and most renowned ballet and opera companies in the world. It is by far the world's biggest ballet company, having more than 200 dancers. The main building of the theatre, rebuilt and renovated several times during its history. Its iconic neoclassical facade is depicted on the Russian 100-ruble banknote. On 28 October 2011, the Bolshoi was re-opened after an extensive six-year renovation. The renovation included restoring acoustics to the original quality (which had been lost during the Soviet Era), as well as restoring the original Imperial decor of the Bolshoi - and, mainly, strengthening its foundations:

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Inside ? It is a dream place to be in. Really awesome theatre. Nothing like it anywhere else. Just go there for the building itself, no matter who or what is playing there. A royal experience to watch the crowd, the grandeur, the decorations (and the opera or the ballet, of course). The best way to get your tickets its through the internet a couple of days before (at least 3 days) or rely in your hotel to find you an overpriced resale ticket. Be sure to book well in advance, as cheap tickets run out quick. There is no photography allowed during performances. You can only take a photo of the curtained stage.

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Just to remind you: in the south edge of Teatralnaya Square stands (behind Teatralnyy Pr. road: be careful and find a way to cross it !!) - the Karl Marx statue (in the Revolution Square). We explore this square in another blog of Moscow:

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With our face to the Bolshoy Theatre and our back to Karl Marx (...) - we continue left (west) along Teatralnyy pr. and, later, Okhotnyy Ryad busy street. As you start to walk in Okhotnyy Ryad street - you see an old stone on your right:

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Immediately, turn right (north-west) to Bolshaya Dmitrovka, climb up 200 m. along this street to see the Operetta theatre:

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Continue to walk along Okhotny Ryad until it meets Tverskaya street. Before we hit the intersection - we see, on our right, the state Duma (see below). In the intersection itself,  and 170 m. further, deep in Tverskaya street , still on your right is the Yermolova Theatre, Teatr im. M. N. Ermolovoy (ул. Тверская) -   the first of a number of buildings in the area linked to the flourishing of Moscow drama at the beginning of the last century. One of the largest mansions at Tverskaya street was built in 1830. It was originally part of a nobleman's estate. The two-storied house with an attic in the center existed until 1897 when merchant Postnikov reconstructed it into trade passage with the hotel on the top floors. It was transformed into a theatre after the Revolution. Named in honour of the grande dame of the Maly Theatre, Maria Yermolova, the first person to be named a People's Artist of the Soviet Union, the theatre developed from a studio attached to the Maly, and moved here in 1938. It was the last home of the theatre of Vsevolod Meyerhold, during the years 1931-1938, the brilliant avant-garde director who was executed in 1939. Within the walls of this building, the famous production of Alexandre Dumas' The Lady of the Camellias was created. This stage saw young actors who would later become famous, such as Igor Ilyinsky, Erast Garin, Zinaida Reich, Maria Babanova, Lev Sverdlin, Maksim Strauch and others. There, on 7 and 8 January 1938, the last two performances of the State Meyerhold Theatre, The Lady of the Camellias and Nikolay Gogol's The Government Inspector, took place:

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130 m. further down (south-east) along Tverskaya Street (on your right) - you find the Ritz-Carlton Hotel:

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and, immediately behind it, the Hotel National, 15/1 Mokhovaya Street, (intersection of Tverskaya and Mokhovaya). Designed and built in 1903 by A. Ivanov, in a style that mixes Art Nouveau with Neoclassicism, and cost close to 1 million rubles, a fortune at the time. it is one of the oldest and most famous hotels in Russia. It was the most prestigious in Moscow before the Revolution, whose famous guests included Anatole France and H. G. Wells. In 1918 the hotel was for some years turned into "Prime House of Soviets" and permanently hosted the members of the Bolshevik Government, including Lenin who lived in room number 107:

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Detail of the facade of the Hotel National:

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State Duma (Parliament) (Gosudarstvennaya Duma) (Госуда́рственная ду́ма) stays right opposite "National", at the corner of Tverskaya and Okhotny Ryad, north of Manege Square. Former building of the Soviet Ministry of Labour and Defense, it provides a brilliant example of transfer from Constructivism to the Soviet neoclassic style. Its characteristic feature is abandonment of any decoration, because the edifice should be beautiful of its own accord. Closed to the public. It is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia (legislature), the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. Its members are referred to as deputies. The State Duma replaced the Supreme Soviet as a result of the new constitution introduced by Boris Yeltsin in the aftermath of the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993, and approved by the Russian public in a referendum.

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View of the state Duma from Okhotny Ryad:

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Hotel National on the left and State Duma on the right:

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The National Hotel facade at Mokhovaya Street is opposite Four Seasons Hotel's main facade on Manezhnaya Square (see below). The Four Seasons Hotel Moscow is a modern luxury hotel, opened on October 30, 2014, with a facade that replicates the historic Hotel Moskva, which previously stood on the same location on Manezhnaya Square. The former, old Hotel Moskva was constructed from 1932 until 1938, opening as a hotel in December 1935. Designed by Alexey Shchusev. The Hotel Moskva was demolished in 2004 and replaced with a modern reproduction, with underground parking and other features which were not available in the 1930s. The northeastern portion of the complex, facing Revolution Square, was built on the site of the demolished 1977 wing:

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Cross the street (Okhtny Ryad/Mokhovaya) with your face to the south and you face the Manezhnaya ploshchad or Manege Square (Манежная площадь, ) is a large pedestrian open space, served by three Moscow Metro stations: Okhotny Ryad, Ploshchad Revolyutsii, and Teatralnaya. f you time it right, prior to the big parades, the military units form up in the Manege Square prior to going into Red Square. Memorable spectacle ! It is very spacious and well-organized area:

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It is dominated by the Hotel Four Seasons (former Moskva) to the east.

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It is bound by: the Kremlin, the State Historical Museum and the Alexander Garden to the south,

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

the Moscow Manege (Exhibition hall for arts and commerce) to the west,

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and the 18th-century headquarters of the Moscow State University and the State Duma to the north. It connects the Tverskaya Street (its southernmost end) and Red Square. The Moiseyevskaya Square resided here from the end of the 18th century. In August 1991, Manezhnaya Square became a venue for great demonstrations celebrating the fall of Communism after the Soviet coup attempt of 1991. It was a centre of riots and violence in years 2002 and 2010. During the 1990s the square was closed to traffic and substantially renovated.

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The centre of the refurbished square rides above the four-stories "Okhotny Ryad" underground shopping mall and parking lot (open: 10.00 - 22.00) (high prices !),

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

surmounted by a rotating glass cupola (Saint George and the Dragon, patron of Moscow) which forms a world clock of the Northern hemisphere with major cities marked and a scheme of lights below each panel to show the progression of the hour:

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Another innovation is the former river-bed of the Neglinnaya River, which has become a popular attraction with sculptured statues for Moscovites and tourists alike, especially on summer days. The course of the river (which now really flows underground) is imitated by a rivulet dotted with fountains and statues of Russian fairy-tale characters, as sculpted by Zurab Tsereteli. The Neglinnaya River, flows between the walkway, leading to the Manege Exhibitions Hall (see below) and the Alexander Garden (see our blog on the Moscow Kremlin and Alexander Gardens):

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The Central Exhibition Hall Manege at the western side of the square: Open: TUE  – SUN 12.00 – 22.00. MON - closed. The building of ‘Big Manege’ was constructed in 1817 under the order of Alexander I to celebrate the fifth anniversary of victory in 1812 war. It took eight months to complete this construction designed by a Spanish architect, Agustin Betancourt. It was designed with a unique roof without internal support for 45 m (the building's width), it was erected from 1817 to 1825 by the Russian architect Joseph Bové, who clothed it with a Neoclassical exterior: Doric columns enclosing bays of arch-headed windows in a blind arcade, painted white and cream yellow. The roof, with its internal rafters and beams exposed, rests on external columns of the Manege. The building was as an house of military exercises.  The known Moscovian architect Joseph Bové, finished the Manege with stucco and plaster moldings in 1825. Since 1831 the Manege had hosted regular concerts and entertainments. After the revolution, it became a government garage. At the time of Nikita Khrushchev (since 1957) it as used as a Central Exhibition Hall. In order to preserve wooden constructions at Bové’s times the building's attic was covered with tobacco. All possible pests and insects hated its smell. Although the tobacco was completely consumed during the WW2 years - the building wooden constructions stayed brand new during the the 20th century. But even then the attic suffered from a severe tobacco smell. BUT, on 14 March 2004 the building caught fire and burnt out, killing two firefighters. The wooden beams and rafters collapsed, leaving the walls remaining on site. On 18 February 2005 the restored Manege resumed its operation as an exhibition hall by mounting the same exposition that had been scheduled on the day of the fire. A wide elevated walkway dotted with fountains leads to the Moscow Manege:

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

From here - we continue to the Red Square. Skip to Tip 3 in this blog.

Food

Lapsha Panda (15 Nikolskaya Ulitsa) (with your back to the State Historical museum and the Kazan Cathedral is on your left - the Nikolskaya street is  in front) is located on the ground and second floors of the strikingly beautiful Russian State Social Sciences University building. The restaurant's facade manages to combine images of a unicorn, a lion and the Soviet coat of arms. The place itself is tiny. If it's crowded you may have to eat your noodles standing on the staircase. The menu is very limited: Chinese noodles with chicken (150 rubles), shrimp or beef and noodles in soup, dim sums, puffs and beer. unheard of prices in today’s Moscow !  Most of the buildings on Nikolskaya Ulitsa are now lit up at night, giving the architectural ensembles a surreal effect. Now that the cars have been forced out of this central Moscow street -  you can walk, eat, catch a show in parts of Moscow with the utmost safety.

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Citywalk

The Red Square - a square that has witnessed so many historic events:

Duration: 2-3 hours (without queuing-up in the Lenin Mauseleum and/or the Museums.

Rest room(s): only in GUM. Sometimes, there's a public restroom behind the Spaskaya Tower.

The Red Square (Krasnaya ploschad) (Красная пл.) began its pace of history as a shanty town of wooden huts clustered beneath the Kremlin walls. It housed criminals and drunks whose status left them outside the official boundaries of the medieval city. It was cleared on the orders of Ivan III at the end of the 1400's, but remained the province of the mob, the site of public executions until far later. The square's name has nothing to do with Communism or with the color of many of its buildings constructed with red bricks. In fact it derives from the word 'krasnyi', which once meant 'beautiful', and has only come to mean 'red' in contemporary Russian. The name 'Red Square' became official in the middle of the 17th century - previously it had been 'Trinity Square', due to the Trinity Cathedral, the predecessor of St. Basil's Cathedral. It was also known as 'Fire Square' (Pozhar, or "burnt-out place"), reflecting the number of times medieval Moscow burned... During the Mongol and Tatar invasions, it was the centre of fierce fighting, and right up until the end of the 17th century cannon stood ready to defend the square. Red Square became famous in the 20th century as the showcase for military parades from 1919 onward, the site of official military parades demonstrating to the world the grandiose power of the Soviet armed forces. Two of these will be remembered forever. The first was the parade of 7 November 1941 (the city was besieged by the Germans), when rows of young cadets marched through the square and straight on to the front, which by that point was less than 50km from Moscow. The second was the victory parade on 24 June 1945, when the banners of defeated Nazi armies were thrown at the foot of Lenin's Mausoleum. The year 2000 saw the return of troops to Red Square, with a parade to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of WW2. On Victory Day in 1945, 1965, 1985, 1990, and 2015 there were military marches and parades as well. On May 9, 2010, to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the capitulation of Germany in 1945, the armed forces of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States marched in the Moscow Victory Day parade for the first time in history. Since the Perestroika, the emphasis has moved away from official, military parades. The Red Square has been used increasingly for rock concerts, big classical music performances (The Prodigy, T.a.t.u., Shakira, Scorpions, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and others) and a whole range of large-scale events from fashion shows to festivals of circus art. Moscow met the millennium here with a huge firework display and street party. Today, and for long many years - the Red Square is the attraction No. 1 in Moscow and Russia. It is hard to think of a place that is more beloved of Muscovites and visitors to the city. The size, beauty and grandour of the architecture and the magical atmosphere - all help to forget the square's bloody history. In 1990 the Kremlin and Red Square were among the very first sites in the USSR added to UNESCO's World Heritage List.

The Red Square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from the historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod. Red Square is often considered the central square of Moscow, because Moscow's major streets - which connect to Russia's major highways - originate from the square. Remeber: nothing beats standing in the Red Square and admiring all the beautiful architecture around !!!

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

1 Lenin Mausoleum
2 Stands for guests
3 Revolution Necropolis
4 Saviour Tower
5 Senate Tower
6 St. Nicholas Tower
7 Corner Arsenal Tower
8 Intercession Cathedral (Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed)
9 Statue of Kozma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky
10 Place of the Brow
11 State History Museum
12 GUM State Department Store
13 Alexandrovsky Gardens
14 Okhotny Ryad Metro Station
15 Red Square
16 Manezhnaya Square
17 Nikolskaya Street
18 llyinka Street
19 Varvarka Street.

Note: sorry, but, north (down) and south (up)...

The Red Square is actually a rectangular where 4 contradicting, different worlds take place on daily basis. On the southwest, the long side of the rectangular, are the red walls of the Kremlin, with Lenin's mausoleum in the middle - the symbol of the Communist regime and principles. To the northwest, the short side of the rectangular is the red-brick-building of the Historical State Museum that represents Russia's history. In the southern end is the orthodox St. Basil Church, the icon of Moscow with its 9 onion-shaped domes - symbolizing the huge trend BACK to the religion. And opposite the Kremlin, in the east side, is the GUM that now houses a huge mall with rows of expensive brands, the symbol of Capitalism.

We start our visit in the Red Square in the northern end - Marshal Georgy Zhukov Monument (especially, if coming from the Manege Square - see Tip No. 1 in this blog). Let us orient ourselves. If you face the statue of Zhukov, the State Museum is straight in front of you. To your left is the Bolshoi Theatre with a small but quite charming park bordered by the magnificent Metropol hotel. To your immediate right is Alexandrovsky Park, through the iron gates, and you will find the tomb of the unknown soldier. The very pleasant walk through the park takes you past the main public entrance to the Kremlin and where you buy your tickets from. Walk further down and you reach the Moskva River and the path to the Christ the Saviour Cathedral. Immediately behind you (and the underpass is close to the entrance of the Four Seasons hotel) is Tverskaya, of which you can spend many happy hours exploring (see Tip 1). Also, just behind you, and opposite the Four Seasons hotel entrance, is the underground Ochodny Ryad shopping centre, which is surprisingly big. The real attraction, though is just off to your right, and in front of you. The best view of Red Square is to walk UP that slope from the Manege Square and see those famous sights from the best direction. It will take your breath away !

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In 1995, Vyacheslav Klykov's equestrian statue of Marshall Gregory Zhukov (1896-1974), sitting atop his horse, was unveiled in front of the State Historical Museum (see below) to mark the 50th anniversary of the Moscow Victory Parade, when the Soviet commander had spectacularly ridden a white stallion through Red Square and Manege Square. A World War II hero whose ashes are buried in the Kremlin Wall. Zhukov led the Russian Army in the defense of Moscow and later the defense of Stalingrad. For this he was appointed Marshal of the Soviet Union and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Army. He either planned or commanded most of the great victories that pushed the German Armies back to Berlin where he served as the Soviet Representative at the official German surrender. The statue was placed here to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the victory over Germany and the 100th anniversary of Zhukov's birth on December 1, 1996. He is shown here as he looked for the Red Square Victory Parade of 1945:

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

We enter the Red Square through the Resurrection Gate or the Iberian Gate or the Voskresensky Gates (Воскресенские ворота, or Иверские ворота). It is the only existing DOUBLE-ARCHED gate which connects the north-western end of Red Square with Manege Square and gives its name to nearby Voskresenskaya Square (Resurrection Square). You can see the Saint Basil's Cathedral in the far end of the Red Square from both of the arches. It is the entrance to Red Square and the zero kilometer, where you can make a wish after throwing a coin over your shoulder. Sometimes, there are actors who play the Stalin, Lenin. In general, a symbolic place. The gate actually adjoins the buildings of the Moscow City Hall (to the east) and the State Historical Museum (to the west). The the BLUE wooden chapel in front of the gate (facing away from Red Square) is the Iveron Chapel. Resurrection Gate and Iver chapel are located between the historical museum and the City Hall (see below). Just in front of the chapel is a bronze plaque marking kilometre zero of the Russian highway system. The gate leading to Red Square was erected in 1535. When the structure was rebuilt in 1680, the double passage (two arches) was surmounted with two-storey chambers and two octagonal roofs similar to the Kremlin towers. An Icon (star) of the Resurrection was placed on the gate facing towards Red Square, from which the gate derives its name. According to a popular custom, everyone heading for Red Square or the Kremlin visited the Iveron chapel to pay homage at the shrine, before entering through the gate. In 1931, the Resurrection Gate and the chapel were demolished in order to make room for heavy military vehicles driving through Red Square during military parades. Both structures were completely rebuilt in 1994-1996, and a new icon of the Iveron Theotokos was painted on Mount Athos to replace the original. The Iberian Gate is one of the most recognizable symbols of Moscow.  The ever-overcrowded chapel, with candles burning day and night, has figures in works by Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Bunin, Marina Tsvetayeva, and H.G. Wells, to name only a few. The chapel is small and very lovely, beautifully decorated inside:

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The icon displayed on the Resurrection Gate (Voskresensky Vorota):

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Tourists drop coins over their shoulder:

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The State Historical Museum (Gosudarstvenny istoricheskiy muzyey) (Государственный исторический музей) is a museum of Russian history wedged between Red Square and Manege Square, to the east of the latter. This 1881 red brick building is located opposite St. Basil’s Cathedral in the Red Square. The building of the museum is a monument of architecture by itself. It consists of two floors and exhibits a wide range (more than 5 millions) of relics from prehistoric tribes that lived on the territory of present-day Russia, through priceless artworks acquired by members of the Romanov dynasty, from ice ages of the mammoths right up to the 19th century. Several thousand years are embodied in the museum in all its diversity: the hard life of primitive people, the emergence of the ancient Russian state, a complex and controversial era of Ivan the Terrible, the reforms of Peter I, the reign of Catherine II and the victory over the hordes of Napoleon. Museum halls are configured to match the interior of the specific historical periods. They repeat the decoration of churches and paintings of famous princely palaces. Each hall is, in fact, a single work of art. The first floor which runs up to the beginning of Peter the Great, and the 17th century holds many relics and artifacts of historical interest. The upper floor lacks any English explanation, but has an abundance of cool historical items. Like the boots big enough to hide a small child which are worn to get through a swamp and were worn in Peter the Great’s day, and a great portrait gallery to set you straight on who was who in the Russian aristocracy.

The place where the museum now stands was formerly occupied by the Principal Medicine Store, built by order of Peter the Great. The museum was founded in 1872 by Ivan Zabelin, Aleksey Uvarov and several other Slavophiles interested in promoting Russian history and national self-awareness. After a prolonged competition the project was handed over to Vladimir Osipovich Sherwood (1833–97). The present structure was built based on Sherwood's neo-Russian design between 1875 and 1881. The first 11 exhibit halls officially opened in 1883 during a visit of the Tsar and his wife. In 1894 Tsar Alexander III became the honorary president of the museum and the following year, 1895, the museum was renamed the Tsar Alexander III Imperial Russian History Museum. Its interiors were intricately decorated in the Russian Revival style by such artists as Viktor Vasnetsov, Henrik Semiradsky, and Ivan Aivazovsky. During the Soviet period the murals were plastered over. The museum went through a painstaking restoration of its original appearance between 1986 and 1997. Some of the main highlights of the museum include the gold statues, funerary masks from the Altai and the Turmanskiy Sarcophagus and an exclusive mix of Hellenic architecture and Chinese decoration. The exhibits beautifully focus on the ancient cultures that developed in Russia. There is also a display on the rulers of Russia with several historical paintings and art work. Other notable items include a longboat excavated from the banks of the Volga River, gold artifacts of the Scythians, birch-bark scrolls of Novgorod, manuscripts going back to the sixth century, Russian folk ceramics, and wooden objects. The library boasts the manuscripts of the Chludov Psalter (860s), Svyatoslav's Miscellanies (1073), Mstislav Gospel (1117), Yuriev Gospel (1119), and Halych Gospel (1144). The museum's coin collection alone includes 1.7 million coins, making it the largest in Russia.

Open: daily from 10.00 to 18.00 (ticket office 17.30). Thursday from 11.00 to 21.00 (ticket office 20.00). Closed on Tuesday. New Exhibition Hall:
Daily from 11.00 to 19.00 (ticket office/bookings 18.30). Thursday from 11.00 to 21.00 (ticket office 20.00). Closed on Tuesday.Prices: Adult visitors and foreign tourists - 350 rubles. Persons under the age of 18, regardless of nationality - free of charge. Full-time students and foreign students studying in Russian universities, or upon presentation of an international student card ISIC card and international travel IYTC - 100 rubles. Tip: If you don’t have a tour guide, rent an audio-guide or use a travel book: much of the museum’s information is in Russian.There is a 2hr audio guide (one hour for each floor) at a cost of 300 Rbl. The small café serves basic Russian snack food, inexpensive tea and coffee and open sandwiches:

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The State Historical Museum and the Kremlin walls (the Senate Tower):

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Painting of a family tree on the ceiling of the State Historical Museum:

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Another painting on the ceiling:

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A few unique doorways in the museum:

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Chandeliers on a colourful ceiling:

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

From the State Historical Museum and the Resurrection Gate - we move clockwise around the Red square:

City Hall:The former City Hall for Moscow in the 19th century, was constructed by architect M. Kazakov during 1778-1782. Located east of the State Historical Museum, the building formerly served as the Lenin Museum and as the home of Moscow Governors-Generals. The structure is currently used to house some of the collected works of the State Historical Museum and, it is, actually, a branch of the SHM. City Hall reflects a wide range of world influences when it comes to design. The ornamentation of the exterior shows influences of the nearby State Historical Museum and the Iberian Gate. Lastly, the symmetry of the ground plan of the building reflects a western theme. The roof of the three-storied building is very similar architecturally to Terem Palace. The exterior of the building brick-red building is a blend of Russian Revival and Neo-Renaissance styles. The interior was originally designed to reflect Italian influences. Visitors will enjoy the restored ceiling paintings, gala-staircase, and the halls that are decorated with marble and other decorations. Visitors must pay to take photographs or film video. City Hall is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10.00 to 18.00 and from 11.00 to 22.00 on Thursdays. Tuesday - closed:

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Kazan Cathedral (Казанский собор): Also known as the "Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan".
Built to celebrate victory of Prince Dmitry Pozharsky over the Lithuanians and Polish, the Kazan Cathedral is famous for being the home of the Kazanskaya Icon, a symbol of the Virgin Mary who is the guardian and patroness of the city of Kazan. It is rumored that the Kazanskaya Icon possesses supernatural abilities. After the diminutive shrine was destroyed by a fire in 1632, Tsar Michael I, ordered it replaced with a brick church. The Kazan Cathedral was and is a very important church. Celebrations were held at the church during the reign of the Tsars each year to celebrate victory of Moscow over the Lithuanians and the Polish. In addition, prayer services were conducted during the Napoleonic wars at the icon to ensure Moscow’s safe delivery. From 1929 to 1932, the building was home to the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism. The stone building could not escape destruction by the Bolsheviks (order of Stalin - when Red Square was being prepared for holding the military parades of the Soviet Union) in 1936. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Kazan Cathedral was the first church to be completely rebuilt after having been destroyed by the Communists. The cathedral's restoration was during the years 1990–1993. The current building, reconstructed is a replica of the original. The cathedral is once again a working cathedral with church services being conducted daily:

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

GUM: Gum stands for Glavny Universalny Magazin. It is a famous shopping center, formerly known as the State Department Store. This shopping center is well known for its exclusive stores that carry brand name labels that are well-known in the western world. Everywhere is spotlessly clean, the restaurants and cafes are top notch. GUM was built in the 1800s by architect Alexander Pomerantsev and engineer Vladimir Shukhov. The top floor of the shopping centre used to contain a secret store, Section 101, which only high ranking members of the Communist party could access. The mall was converted into office space during the Stalin era. In the 1950s, GUM once again became a popular shopping centre that, unlike other stores, did not suffer from shortages of inventory. In the 1990s, GUM was privatized and became the Mecca for many western vendors. It is now full of very stylish and expensive European boutiques which allow Russia's oligarchs to enjoy a comparative life of luxury above the daily standard of ordinary Russians. It houses major brands outlets, cafeteria, eateries, ice cream stalls, etc. Many cultural events and artistic events take place at the center. Russian figure skaters are known to visit the grand skating rink. GUM is particularly spectacular at night when the numerous lights that line the building are in full display. The complex is open daily from 10.00 to 22.00. In case you are loaded with heavy packs (...) use the Metro: take the red line in Okhotny Ryad or the green line in Teatralnaya. Entry to the mall is free, but if you choose to use the "historical restrooms" (which brings you back to the 40's) you have to pay 150 rubles. Fortunately, the mall also provides free restrooms. They are also the only restrooms in the square. Make sure you go inside the department store to check out its spectacular interiors too !!!

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Inside the GUM department store:

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Supermarket in GUM:

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Historical WC in GUM. Entry: 150 rubles:

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

St. Basil's Cathedral (Pokrovsky Sobor): One of the visually most surprising buildings in the world. Nothing says 'Moscow' quite like the candy-coloured onion domes of St Basil's Cathedral. Although it's known to everyone as St. Basil's, this legendary building is officially called "The Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat". The popular alternative refers to Basil the Blessed, a Muscovite 'holy fool' who was buried on the site (in the Trinity Cathedral that once stood here) a few years before the present building was erected.

The cathedral was built in the 1550s to commemorate Ivan the Terrible's victory over the Mongols at Kazan. It was completed in 1560. It has been very important for rulers to mark their achievements and victories in all times and all countries. Ivan the Terrible was not an exception to this. In 1550s was built the first church - Trinity Church. It was built of white stone and commemorating the capture of Kazan. At the end of Astrakhan campaign (1556) there were built seven more wooden churches around the Trinity church, next to it. Such churches commemorating military victories were seen as something new, also their planning and outer look was highly original. Nothing is known about the builders, Barma and Postnik Yakovlev, except their names. According to legend, the builders of this cathedral were blinded so that such a beautiful structure could never be built again. In the 17th century a hip-roofed bell tower was added, the gallery and staircases were covered with vaulted roofing, and the helmeted domes were replaced with decorated ones. In 1860 during rebuilding, the Cathedral was painted with a more complex and integrated design, and has remained unchanged since. Several times throughout its history, this cathedral has suffered damage due to fires, looting, and other incidents. In one legend, the French ruler Napoleon even wanted to take St. Basil’s Cathedral back to France with him, but due to the lack of such technology, he ordered his army to destroy it so that no one else could occupy it. His army had prepared to attack the church and had also lit up the gunpowder, but a mysterious rain shower prevented any explosions from occurring. For a time in the Soviet Union, there was talk of demolishing St. Basil's - mainly because it hindered Stalin's plans for massed parades on Red Square. It was only saved thanks to the courage of the architect Pyotr Baranovsky. When ordered to prepare the building for demolition, he refused categorically, and sent the Kremlin an extremely blunt telegram. The Cathedral remained standing, and Baranovsky's conservation efforts earned him five years in prison. St Basil was very influential in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church and his relics are believed to be buried into the church. Honestly, I found that outside to be much more impressive than the inside (where there isn't much to see). It is dark and uninteresting inside, don't spoil your impressions from the magnificent facade by going inside. BUT, you will be lucky enough to be there when there are a small Russian male choir singing in one of the chambers. The acoustics is pretty good and we enjoyed the performance. A stunning experience !

Exterior: St. Basil’s Cathedral is often referred as the most beautiful Russian Orthodox monument. This amazing piece of architectural confectionary is one of the most striking buildings on the planet, a surreal collection of arches and turrets, topped by a series of domes. The church’s design consists of nine chapels, each mounted with its individual dome that marks the assault on the city of Kazan. Eight of the domes make a circular formation around the ninth dome, which looks like a star when viewed from the top. Architectural specialists are to this day unable to agree about the governing idea behind the structure. Either the creators were paying homage to the churches of Jerusalem, or, by building eight churches around a central ninth, they were representing the medieval symbol of the eight-pointed star. The Cathedral of St Basil holds deep religious and historical meaning and symbolism. Each of the nine chapels symbolizes a triumphant battle on the city of Kazan, while the architectural entirety represents the Heavenly Kingdom from the Book of Revelation of St John the Divine. The original conceptualization of St Basil's Cathedral Moscow is concealed under many blankets of additions and renovations, creating a controversy among architectural masterminds as to what the true significance really is. Torn between two ideas, one of the representation of the medieval star and the other paying praise and respect to Jerusalem churches, the fact stands that no matter what the cathedral truly represents, it is indeed magnificent. Originally, St Basil's Cathedral Moscow builders created it entirely out of white stone, perfectly pairing it with the white-hued Kremlin, and the domes then topping the cathedral were austere and gold.The original concept of the Cathedral of the Intercession has been hidden from us beneath layers of stylistic additions and new churches added to the main building. In fact, when built, the Cathedral was all white to match the white-stone Kremlin, and the onion domes were gold rather than multi-colored and patterned as they are today. Note: the best time, during the day, to photo the St. Basil facade facing the Red Square is probably in the afternoon when the sun shines on it. I strongly advise you to go to Red square in the night and see the cathedral with the night lights !!!

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Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

St. Basil Cathedral from the exit from the Kremlin to the Red Square through Spaskaya Tower:

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The Kremlin walls from the south-west side of St. Basil Cathedral:

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St. Basil Cathedral from its northern courtyard:

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The Monument to Minin and Pozharsky (Па́мятник Ми́нину и Пожа́рскому) is a bronze statue on the Saint Basil's Cathedral northern-side courtyard. This statue sits directly in front of St. Basil's Cathedral in the Red Square. You can't miss it if you are near St. Basil's. The statue (opened 1818, the sculptor Ivan Martos) commemorates Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin, who gathered an all-Russian volunteer army and expelled the forces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth under the command of King Sigismund III of Poland from Moscow, thus putting an end to the Time of Troubles in 1612. Interesting beautiful monument that survived the revolution. Given the amount of Russian locals having their photo taken in front of the statue, this suggest locally it is an important icon: wonderful, magnificent monument to the Russian people, who in moments of hard times are united, forgetting their differences to protect Russia:

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Interior: The exterior alone may be highly impressive but venture inside to witness some of the finest icons and religious murals in Moscow. There is a deep contrast between the interior and the exterior of the St. Basil’s Cathedral. The interior contains modest decorations and the corridors are narrow, leaving little space for seating worshipers. There are nine domes which correspond to nine separate altars , each of which commemorates victories Ivan the Terrible won. The Cathedral is now a museum. During restoration work in the seventies a wooden spiral staircase was discovered within one of the walls. Visitors now take this route into the central church, with its extraordinary, soaring tented roof and a fine 16th Century iconostasis. You can also walk along the narrow, winding gallery, covered in beautiful patterned paintwork. Inside each of the nine towers is a chapel, but no public services are held here.

One service a year is held in the Cathedral, on the Day of Intercession in October.

Opening hours: Daily (WED - MON) from 11.00 to 17.00, closed on Tuesdays. Free admission. Website: http://www.saintbasil.ru

Price: 350 rubles/adult. Note: the central chapel in St. Basil Cathedral is under lengthy reconstruction and closed to the public. The internal open areas in the cathedral are significantly restricted and peripheral to the central perimeter which is closed.

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Next, in the south-west corner of the Red Square - we see the Spaskaya Tower into the Kremlin:

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Lenin's Mausoleum in the Red Square: The main entrance door is opposite the GUM Centre building. Open only from 10.00 until 13.00, meaning that there will be MANY people trying to queue at the same time. Monday and Friday - closed. You have to queue up for visiting (FREE) Lenin's (and other Communist notables including Stalin) tomb(s) - but the queue advances quickly. Come early (before 9.30) to avoid long waiting in the heat or the cold or the rain. NO PHOTOS allowed INTO the mausoleum (just outside). Big backpacks NOT ALLOWED INSIDE (leave them at the corner of the State Historical Museum). Day packs and women bags seem to be OK. You pass metal detector as neither photos, nor videos are permitted inside the mausoleum. You descend the mausoleum's stairs, then you will see the REAL lying body of Lenin (into a glass coffin) and walk around it in UTMOST silence, as guards will immediately react if you are speaking or stopping your walk. You can walk slowly on your own pace and watch. The funerary chamber is very dark and, on sunny days, the sudden contrast can be bewildering. The whole visit lasts a minute. Then, climb up the stairs again, pass a door and left turn to walk along the red Kremlin walls. Immediately after Lenin death in 1924, a wooden mausoleum was erected in the Red Square. In 1929, architect Aleksei Shchusev was commissioned to design a more lasting home for the body. The result, unveiled a year later, is an attractive pyramid in layers of red, grey and black granite that harmonizes remarkably well with the Kremlin buildings behind it. In the 1930's, granite platforms were added around the sides of the mausoleum, providing a point for government officials to inspect parades, a sight that became famous throughout the world in the Soviet years:

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

With your face to the mausoleum the Kremlin Wall Necropolis is on your left and on your right. Many other important Soviet notable politicians, military leaders, cosmonauts and scientists besides Lenin are buried at Red Square (tombs of Suslov, Stalin, Kalinin, Dzerzhinsky, Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov). The last person to be buried near the Kremlin Wall was General Secretary Konstantin Chernenko in 1985. The Soviet heads of state buried at the Kremlin Wall each have an individual Tomb with a bust. The most notable graves are those of Joseph Stalin and KGB founder Felix Dzerzhinsky. Other Soviet dignitaries were buried in the Kremlin wall with a black plate with gold letters marking their grave. The most famous Soviets buried in the Kremlin Wall are Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, father of the Soviet Space programme Sergey Korolyov and World War II field marshal Georgi Zhukov. Many important Soviets and later Russians who died after 1985 or did not make the Kremlin Wall Necropolis are buried in the famous Novodevichy Cemetery. Some famous Russian buried at Novodevichy are: Boris Yeltsin, Nikita Khrushchev, Andrei Gromyko, Anton Chekhov, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Sergei Eisenstein, Raisa Gorbachyova, Sergey Ilyushin, Ansatas Mikoyan, Andrei Tupolev to name a few (see "Moscow - Neskuchny Garden, Khamovniki District and Novodevichy Convent" blog).

A bust marks Stalin's grave in the Kremlin Wall. After resting next to the leader of world socialism for eight years, Stalin’s coffin was encased in a pit filled with tons of cement to ensure it wouldn’t be moved again:

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Leonid Brezhnev tomb:

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Lobnoye Mesto, or the Place of the Skulls is a 13-meter long stone podium located in front of Saint Basil’s Cathedral on the Red Square in Moscow. Constructed in 1530 by Boris Godunov, this site was used during the Tsarist era to make public proclamations or decrees and to conduct religious ceremonies such as the donkey walk procession. Vladamir Lenin also used this site to unveil a monument to Stepan Razin, a Cossack rebel who led uprisings against the nobility and the Tsar in 1919. The monument was later removed. The round dais makes an impressive statement against the backdrop of eye-catching edifices of the Red Square and is striking when viewed at night against the Russian backlights. Lobnoye Mesto is also the site where Prince Pozhrsky proclaimed victory over Polish aggressors during the Times of Trouble in 1612. A statue of Kuzma Minin and Prince Pozharsky who helped to organize the army that defeated the Polish is nearby. One common misconception about Lobnoye Mesto is that executions were carried out at this location. Most executions were performed at Vasilevsky Spusk, a square between Saint Basil's and Moscow River. The original podium was brick. In 1786, architect Matvei Kazakov reconstructed the podium in white stone:

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The Saviour Tower and the Senate building into the Kremlin from the Red Square:
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From Lobnoye Mesto - it is 400 m. walk to the Revolution Square Metro station (Line 3, the Dark Blue line). Head (back) northwest on the Red Square (Krasnaya ploshad/пл. Красная). The Red Square turns right and becomes ul. Ilyinka/ул. Ильинка, 100 m. Turn left onto Vetoshnyy per./пер. Ветошный, 280 m. Turn right onto Nikolskaya ul./ул. Никольская, 110 m

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

(you pass, at #7-9, the Church of Veronical image of the Saviour on your left. Go down to its internal court):

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and you face, ON YOUR RIGHT, the Ploshchad' Revolyutsii (Revolution Square) Metro station (Line 3, the Dark Blue line). It is a bit hidden and faces the pink church (Cathedral of Bogoyavlensky Monastery:

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On your left, before turning to the Metro station - you see the Sinodal Printing Yard (see our "Kitay-Gorod" blog):

Citywalk in , Russian Federation, visiting things to do in Russian Federation, Travel Blog, Share my Trip .

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