27 July 2011

Moscow, Russia: The Red Square

We spent today exploring the Red Square and its monuments, the southern-facing view of which is pictured above.  Originally designed to be Moscow's main marketplace in the late fifteenth century, it has since served as a proclamation place for various Russian leaders.  It was named the 'beautiful square', but since 'red' and 'beautiful' are the same word in Russian, it soon became better known as the 'red square'.

Our first stop was Lenin's tomb, which is pictured behind us, and is surrounded by the tombs of many other Russian leaders of the twentieth century (Stalin, Krushchev, Brezhnev, to name a few).  You couldn't take pictures inside the tomb, but it was really creepy--Lenin is in a room of red and black granite, under red lighting, and he is embalmed and looks lifelike.  Definitely a must-see...but a creepy must-see.

The next stop was the State Historical Museum of Russia (also no photos), the anchoring building of the north end of the square.  Founded by Alexander II in 1883, the museum covers Russian history from the Stone Age until around 1880.  Well-done and extensive, it was a very informative visit (though the English audio guide was a must--all the signs are only in Russian!).

Our last stop on the square (aside from the huge Soviet shopping center-turned-designer mall, which is actually beautiful from the outside) was St. Basil's Cathedral.  This church is comprised of eight side churches build around a central ninth church, and a tenth one tacked on for good measure.  The outside is a rather iconic Russian symbol, but the inside was unquestionably the strangest church interior I have ever been in.  Not a single one of those ten churches could comfortably hold more than fifty standing people, so I'm still uncertain as to how any services were ever held...

1 comment:

grandma feldt said...

Love ya!