Sunday, May 11, 2014

Rebels, Revolutions and Red Square

We had a full day of sightseeing, but not before Dan and the kids surprised me with Mother's Day cards. That took some foresight!

Today we went to Red Square, which was called Red not because of the red brick, but because the word for red was also used to mean "beautiful", which is what the people hundreds of years ago called the square, after it was cleaned up by Peter the Great.

First stop was St. Basil's Cathedral, the best known landmark in Moscow, if not all of Russia. It was named after a "fool for Christ" who made this cathedral his home, and would speak against Ivan the Terrible, and all his atrocities. People would come from miles around to hear him. Basil so endeared himself to the crowds that they later named the church after him.

Next, our attention was drawn to an unassuming circular platform on which two executions were performed. One was a Polish man who claimed he was Dimitri, Ivan the Terrible's son who was murdered when he was five. He was so convincing that he was able to rule for eleven months. When he tried to change the national religion to Catholicism, instead of the deeply ingrained Russian Orthodox Church, they became suspicious, and executed him on this platform. Then they burned his body, collected his ashes into a ball, and shot them from a cannon towards Poland! 

It was at this point we discovered that Lenin's tomb was closed, much to my disappointment. 

It was a unique opportunity to see a "beloved" hero preserved so naturally that you are convinced if you called his name, he would turn to greet you! I thought Mario and Olivia should see this oddity, but it was not to be.

After a lunch cruise to see the sights from the Moscow River, (seen above) we went up to Sparrow Hill, where the best view of the city could be seen. 

Here, one of the top five universities (and most expensive) is found. It is also where presidents and other officials live or have lived.

On weekends, young people come up to show off and race their motorcycles up and down and around the campus. The government spent millions of rubles to build a new road away from the downtown area and tourists where they could race. The kids went to the ceremony, and then promptly returned to Sparrow Hill!

Then we visited a Victory Monument, which was an obelisk with the goddess of victory, Nike, at the top, 

and Russia's patron saint, St. George and his dragon at the bottom. 

The St. George's Medal is the highest honor for bravery, and the black and orange ribbons worn on May 9th symbolized the bravery of the war heroes. 

Newly married couples traditionally come here to leave flowers at this monument in honor of fallen soldiers. Nearby is a statue which honors the soldiers of WW2, Napoleonic Wars, and the knights who fought the Tartars.

Next was a trip through the Metro (again), but this time, we not only had a guide, but saw three absolutely gorgeous stations, each with its own theme. 

The first was victory plaza above ground, 
and below:

Then, the Киевская station, dedicated to Kiev and the Ukraine. They were the bread basket and fruit and vegetable producers for Russia, and they were depicted in the frescos:

At the end was another mural of their traditions and dances:

The last was Revolution Square, with its many bronze statues of those who would benefit by the revolution:

Parents and children



Hunters (university students for years would come and rub the dog's nose, so they would have good luck with their exams!)

I'll close with a pic of Mario against a backdrop of graffiti. I never thought scribbling could look so good. This reminds me of a clothing advertisement. It was Mario that noticed this wall and saw it as a photo op!


  1. How thoughtful that your family prepared cards ahead of time! I like the inside of the subway station.

    1. Aren't they amazingly beautiful and clean? It seems the people take great pride in their country. The economy is much better since our last trip in 1998. Things are really looking up for the citizens at this point!


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Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
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