Saturday, December 4, 2010

Moscow Kremlin

Frank had to be in Moscow for business Wed through Fri so we thought we'd take advantage of the travel opportunity and spend the weekend here. While it's quite cold we are very glad we came. It's an amazing city and I wish we had more time. My worry now is that we will say "been there, done that" and go somewhere else instead of coming back someday (when it's warmer!)

We started our tour of the city at the Kremlin. They have an amazing museum inside and the guide did a great job of explaining Russian history while showing us the highlights. The Kremlin is a walled city or citadel built and rebuilt several times over but the wall surrounding it and the 20 towers are original (if I remember everything correctly.) Here are some photos of the various towers, all different and individually named:

Inside the Kremlin is Cathedral Square because it is ringed by churches. There are 3 specific churches of importance. One was the "daily" church for the csars and emporers which connected to the Kremlin buildings. Csars, emporers, etc were baptised there. The second is where they held coronation ceremonies (pictured below) and the third, where all were buried up until Peter the Great who was buried in St. Petersburg. (They are quite bitter in Moscow about that whole St. Petersburg thing!)

This is the largest bell in the world and was meant to be placed in the bell tower of another church in Cathedral square. It is 200 tons! But, while it was cooling in it's cast (or whatever you do when you are making a bell) there was a big fire which went so far as to burn the wooden scaffolding around the bell. The dramatic change in temperature caused it to crack an a 7 ton piece broke off. So it's never been wrung with it's 1 ton clapper and now it's just a really big bell.

Here are Frank and fellow Chevron-ite Jason in front the portion of the Kremlin still in use by the Russian government today. There was surprisingly little security. The guide said it's because everyone knows if you get to close that they'll just take you around a corner and shoot you. I'm not sure how much she was kidding.

Really hope we make it back to Moscow someday. It's definitely somewhere I'd like to spend more time, see more of, and read up on in more detail.

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