Moscow June 2010

Moscow is the capital and largest city in Russia.  The city has served as the capital from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom to the more recent Soviet Union.  Moscow is considered the center of Russian culture with its large number of museums, academic institutions, and theatres.  It is also the seat of power of the Russian Government located in the Moscow Kremlin where the Russian president resides.  Moscow’s architecture is world-renowned, especially the onion domes of its cathedrals.

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton Moscow just off the Red Square.  The hotel is very convenient to all the major attractions of the city.  We spent our first day exploring the monuments at Red Square.

IMG_0154Relaxing at the rooftop lounge of the Ritz Carlton Moscow.

IMG_0146View of Red Square from the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

IMG_0148State Historical Museum at the Red Square built in 1873 is filled with the best of Russian history and art.

Red Square’s name is completely unrelated to the crimson color of its numerous buildings or the Communist Party’s association with the color red.  Instead, from the 17th century, Russians began calling the square “Krasnaya Ploshad” derived from the work krasnyi which meant beautiful in Old Russian and later came to mean red.  Red Square was an important marketplace and meeting place for centuries.  It is home to some of the country’s most distinctive and important landmarks.

IMG_0062Red Square

IMG_0064GUM department store at Red Square.

St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square is unlike any other Russian building.  It is shaped as a flame of bonfire and combines layers of different architectural styles.  It was ordered by Ivan the Terrible to mark the 1552 capture of Kazan from Mongol forces and was completed in 1560.

IMG_0059St. Basil’s Cathedral with eight churches surrounding a central ninth.


The Moscow Kremlin is a fortified complex overlooking the Moskva River.  It is the best known of the kremlins (Russian citadels) and includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers.  The complex serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation.

IMG_0075Moscow Kremlin

IMG_0151Moscow Kremlin

Cathedral Square is the central square of the Moscow Kremlin and it owes its name to the three cathedrals facing it – Cathedral of the Dormition, Cathedral of the Archangel, and Cathedral of the Annunciation.  The square is famous as the site of coronation and funeral processions of all the Russian tsars, patriarchs, and Grand Dukes of Moscow.  Even today, the square is where the inauguration ceremony of the President of Russia takes place.

IMG_0091Former Tsar’s residential palace, now the inauguration hall for the president.

IMG_0097Church of Annunciation on the left and Cathedral of the Archangel with the tall Ivan the Great Bell Tower on the right.

IMG_0116The Church of Annunciation which is the Tzar’s personal church where royal weddings and royal christenings took place.

IMG_0105The Church of Annunciation

IMG_0101Cathedral of Dormition at the Moscow Kremlin.

IMG_0107Cathedral of Dormition with the silver-domed Patriarch’s Place in the back.

We went on to visit the Novodevichy Convent, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, and Victory Park as well as several art museums.

IMG_0036Novodevichy Convent is the best-known cloister of Moscow built in 1524.

IMG_0043Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world.


IMG_0051Cathedral of Christ the Saviour


IMG_0029The Victory Park on Poklonnaya Hill is dedicated to the Russian victory over Napoleon. In the 1990s an obelisk was added with a statue of Nike at 141.8 m high, which is 10 cm for every day of the War.

IMG_0034Victory Park

IMG_0035Triumph Arch of Moscow near Victory Park.


Moscow State University campus is very large with its 1,000 buildings and structures.

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