Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Waterways of the Tsars: Moscow Up Close 1 (10/9/2019)

Wednesday, October 9, 2019 (continued)
After lunch, we joined the included shore excursion "Moscow Up Close," which meant by Metro and by foot, and would last eight hours!
Sciurus vulgaris/Red Squirrel
The group headed out the same way we went this morning to arrive at the same Rechnoy Voksal Metro station. We used our own Metro day passes, while everyone else moved single file through one turnstile as Misha used one Metro Troika Card to pay for each person. We saved Viking 90 rubles/about $1.50!
On this Russian river cruise, we not only had a Program Director (Olga), but three Tour Escorts (Misha, Victoria, and Dmitri). Sometimes the tour escort accompanied a group that had a local guide. Sometimes the tour escort was the local guide.
The local guide, Lara, carefully orchestrated the group's boarding and
alighting from the Metro train, at the Mayakovskaya Station
and later at the Teatralnaya Station
Dark Green #2 Line Teatralnaya Metro Station (1938, by Ivan Fomin)
has 56 majolica reliefs (by Natyla Danko) on the theme of theater arts
Majolica reliefs showing national dance costumes
We walked underground to the Ploshchad Revolutsy Metro Station to see the bronze sculptures, then headed up to Пло́щадь Револю́ции/Revolution Square. It was raining.
A Fall Festival in Revolution Square (KSS)
Метропо́ль/Metropol Hotel (1899-1907 built by William Walcot and
Lev Kekushev in Art Nouveau style) has a "storied" history,
but many were excited to see the setting of a 2016 novel,
A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles
Памятник Карлу Марксу/Karl Marx Monument
(1961 by Leonid Kerbel) with the inscription
Workers of the World Unite
Across the street was Театральная площадь/Theater Square
with the Большо́й теа́тр/Bolshoi Theater (1821-1824, by Joseph Bové,
with multiple reconstructions, and extensive renovations 2005-2011)
Now why would our guide tell us this building was a former KGB site?
The guidebooks mention the former KGB headquarters being on Lubyanka Square. Maybe this was a listening post across the street from the Four Seasons Hotel.
Дом союзов/House of Unions (1770s building rebuilt 1784-1787,
by Matvey Kazakov, for the Assembly of Nobility as a ballroom venue);
in 1917 was assigned to the Council of Trade Unions; its Pillar Hall
was used for state funerals of Soviet leaders from Lenin to Suslov
It was in the Hall of Columns or Pillars that Alexander II addressed the nobles in 1856 on the need to free the serfs.
Госуда́рственная ду́ма/State Duma (1932-1935, by A J Langman,
to house the People's Commissars of the Soviet Union); since 1993
it holds the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia
Националь/National Hotel (1901-1903, by Alexander Ivanov), where
Lenin stayed in Room 107 when he returned the capital to Moscow and
the Soviet government operated from the hotel until the Kremlin was
repaired; Allied delegations stayed here during World War II
On L: Entrance to Archaeological Museum at excavation site pavilion;
beyond is the Музей Отечественной войны 1812 года/War of
1812 Museum (1890-1892, part Russian Revival and part Neo-Renaissance
as Moscow City Hall); 1936-1993 it was the Lenin Museum
On L: Воскресенские Ворота/Resurrection Gate (1680, 1931 destroyed by
Stalin, rebuilt 1995; On R: Государственный исторический музей/State
Historical Museum (1883, by Vladimir Sherwood in Russian Revival style
on site of original 1755 Moscow University)
статуя Георгия Жукова/Statue (1995, by
Vyacheslav Klykov) of Georgy Zhukov,
World War II general and hero who oversaw the defense
of Leningrad, Stalingrad, and at Battle of Moscow (KSS)
Zero Kilometer Marker (1995, by A Rukavishnikov)
in front of the Иверская часовня/Chapel of
the Iberian Virgin (18C) of the Iveron icon
The Iberian Chapel and Resurrection Gate were demolished in 1931 under order from Stalin, so that large and heavy military vehicles could be paraded through Red Square. Now you have to go through a security checkpoint to enter Красная Площадь/Red Square. The Russian word 'krasniy' can mean both beautiful and red, but has been translated as red.
We had 90 minutes of free time.
The long wall of the Kremlin along Red Square and
St Basil's Cathedral at the far end on the L
Access was not permitted to the Kremlin Wall Necropolis, with
tombs of Soviet leaders and heroes, and more recently cremated
remains that were placed in the wall itself
Lenin's Mausoleum (1930-1933, by Alexey Shchusev), which was closed;
the goose-stepping guards were sent home in 1993
Apparently Lenin did not want any monuments built for him and wished to be buried next to his mother in St Petersburg.
Cпасская башня/Savior Gate Tower (1491); the icon
above the gate was plastered over in 1937,
then uncovered and restored in 2010
Statue (1816-1818, by Ivan Martos) of Kuzma Minin and
Dmitri Pozharsky, a butcher and prince who led an army
to reject the Poles from the Kremlin in 1612
This statue once stood in the center of Red Square, but Stalin had it moved because it interfered with his military vehicle parades.
Next: Moscow Up Close 2.

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