In November 2018 I was in Moscow, as it turned from autumn into winter. There were periods of sunshine but it was mostly cloudy and the daytime temperature hovered around 0 degrees (centigrade). The days were short (sunrise around 8.15am and sunset around 4.15pm ) however that was sufficent time to investigate central Moscow by foot, visiting many points of interest with a Muscovite friend.
Moscow is a mix of old and new. During the Second World War, although the Germans beseiged Moscow for six months, they never entered the city, and the Russian airforce was able to keep the German planes from attacking. Much of the old architecture has survived. The biggest destroyer was Stalin. But religious buildings have now been restored. There are four main types of architecture – pre Soviet Union (the days of the Tsars), Stalinist, Brezhnev (stark functionality, not shown in this post), and modernist.
The original church on this site was built in the 19th century, but was destroyed in 1931 by order of Stalin. The current church was built between 1995 and 2000. It is the tallest Russian Orthodox church in the world at 103 metres. It was a great experience to look up through the large and very ornate central dome (no photograghy allowed inside).
St Basil’s Cathedral, built from 1555 – 1561 on the orders of Tsar Ivan the Terrible.
Situated in Red Square, it consists of eight small ‘onion’ domes huddled around a tall central nave. It is said that Ivan subsequently blinded the architect so that he could not build another competing church. Now a museum, it is one of the most recognisable Russian buildings and attracts many tourists.
This pedestrian bridge ‘to nowhere’ affords views up and down the river from the 70 metre cantilevered section (without a single support). Though it might seem fragile it is designed to accommodate 3000 to 4000 people on the viewing platform at any one time.
The Novodevichy Monastry was built in the 16th and 17th centuries, part of a chain of monastries that was integrated into the defence system of the city.
The Usachevsky Market dates back to 1932 when it was a street market. In 2016 it was revamped and is now a popular market full of vibrant displays of fruit and vegetables and eateries serving local and international cuisine.
This bridge is fully enclosed in glass panels. Built in 2000, it was constructed using the steel arch from a 1907 rail bridge.
Gorky Park is 120 hectare parkland in Central Moscow which was created in 1928 as a centre of culture and leisure. In 2011, it underwent major reconstruction, removing some attractions, including amusement rides, and adding flower beds, lawns and a 15,000 square meter ice rink, free entry and wifi to transform the place into a modern eco-friendly recreational zone. When I visited in the chill of autumn there were very few people about, however in summer it is vibrant and popular with locals.
Looking across the Moskva River to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour which is behind highly desirable river-front apartments. On the right is the Peter The Great statue, and in the foreground are exhibition stalls.
The Peter the Great statue stands 98 metres high on the Moskva River. Erected in 1997, it is constructed of stainless steel, bronze and copper to commemorate 300 years of the Russian Navy, which Peter the Great established. It seems that the locals find this statue less than attractive, and some would be happy to see it relocated elsewhere.
The Arbat is a pedestrian street in the historical centre of Moscow. Now a tourist area, it once formed an important trade-route and was home to a large number of craftsmen. In the 18th century the Russian nobility regarded The Arbat as a prestigious place to live.
Once a resident of The Arbat, Alexander Pushkin is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet. Also a playwright and novelist, he was born in 1799. He died in 1837 in a duel.