Last month was a magical whirlwind for me. I quit my job, romanced Russia for a week, and returned to India to start at a new workplace… with a promise to return to my new found love. I have plenty of untold stories lined up for you in a series of posts dedicated to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Here is a teaser of all that awaits you… a glimpse of the capital city of Moscow:-
Cathedral of Saint Basil – A Beauty since 1561
Legend has it that the then Tsar of Russia, Ivan the Terrible, asked the architect of this world famous landmark if he could build such a beautiful structure again. To that, Postnik Yakovlev, the architect, replied, “I will design a hundred such magnificent buildings at your command, my Lord!” Ivan promptly ordered Postnik to be blinded, so there would not be anything like St. Basil’s Cathedral elsewhere in the world.
GUM Mall – Where Heritage meets Contemporary
Located at Red Square – the city centre of Moscow, GUM has been in existence for over 120 years. The heritage architecture of the building and the old-style decor on the exterior of the facade will not let you believe that a modern shopping centre flourishes inside!
Old Arbat Street – A Fine Example of Starting Over after all has been Destroyed
A posh locality in Moscow, the 600-year old Arbat Street was gutted in a catastrophic fire in 1812. After it was rebuilt, this august street has been home to famous Russian writers, Pushkin being one of them. This street is now a popular shopping area for tourists looking for souvenirs.
Moskva – The River that gave Moscow its Name
The Moskva river flows under majestic bridges that link various parts of this city. Book a cruise and watch Moscow from one bank to another as you float across the city that borrowed its name from the eponymous river. You cannot miss the dazzling Radisson Royal Hotel on your way!
Kremlin and the Icons that make up the Complex
The Moscow Kremlin is a triangular enclosure that sits on Red Square and houses the President of Russia. It is surrounded by famous monuments – St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the State Historical Museum, Kazan Cathedral, GUM Mall, Iberian Gate and Chapel, Moscow City Hall, and several other prominent cathedrals.
Mementos that will remind you of your Moments in Moscow
Moscow is a souvenir-collector’s paradise. Every little item of prominence is steeped in history and some cultural importance in Russia. The ever-so-popular matryoshka dolls that open up to reveal smaller dolls inside them are symbols of life and womanhood. The doll-in-doll mechanism highlights how every woman has found her life through another – her mother, and how this chain is endless. [Stay tuned for my post on shopping in Russia for some tips and more pictures of all the wonderful things you can buy!]
Tsaritsyno – A Castle in the Snow
On the outskirts of Moscow hides the dreamy castle of Tsaritsyno. Away from the madding crowds, this secret is known to few travellers. The palace is surrounded by a forest on one side and lakes and gardens on the other. You will need to come out of your comfort zone to get a real feel of Russia!
Golubtsy – Russia’s Love-Letter to your Palate
Russia has many gastronomical surprises for you, especially if you are vegetarian (as I am). From flavourful borscht to piroshki stuffed with all things delightful, Russia has a treasure trove of exotic and traditional dishes for you. Your tastebuds will thank you for the variety and bursts of flavour! [Don’t miss the exclusive culinary edition coming soon on my blog!]
Domes that Colour the Skies
Moscow has a number of beautiful churches, chapels and cathedrals. The tranquil atmosphere aside, these structures have intriguing architectures. The spires and domes are intricately carved and painted in a riot of colours. The Holy Trinity Church on the way to Domodedovo International Airport looks spectacular with its blue domes and golden emblems.
4 Levels of Metro – What Keeps this City Moving!
Moscow has an extensive metro circuit that extends across 4 levels and connects all of this ‘metro’politan city. The metro-circuits were built in circles, tracing the roads that run above them. The roads were constructed in rings around the city centre, and a new ‘ring’ was added whenever the need was felt to expand the city. This is also why the Mayor of Moscow is sometimes called Lord of the ‘Rings’. 😉
This is the end of today’s post, but the beginning of a journey you all have just embarked on with me. Let me hear all your questions and suggestions for the posts to come! If you are planning a trip to Russia, let me know if you want me to touch on anything specific. I want this virtual globe-trot to benefit you just as much as it titillates you!