Sunday, 15 July 2012


Moscow is without a doubt an iconic city. The image of St. Basil’s Cathedral is internationally recognizable. The Kremlin’s name is synonymous with the government of the USSR. The city was, throughout the twentieth century, the centre of one of the most powerful states in the world. On top of that, Moscow is one of the world’s biggest cities and is home to almost 1/10 of the population of the Russian Federation.

After leaving Kazan, I took a night train to Moscow, where I had one long day of sightseeing before catching a plane back to London the next day. During my very brief visit to Moscow on my first day in Russia I was somewhat numb to the whole experience, not to mention preoccupied by overtiredness and illness, so didn’t really take a lot in. This time, however, I felt the full force of the city’s lively atmosphere and could really bask in the overwhelming sense of history. The day was relentlessly hot and sunny, but I was determined to see as much as I could. As I was in Moscow for such a short amount of time, and mostly only saw the centre of the city, the extent to which I can make meaningful commentary is somewhat limited. I can, however, share some photos that I took.

The Kazan Cathedral on Red Square is coincidentally named after the city
in which I had been staying. The original cathedral was destroyed by the Soviet
authorities in 1936; it was rebuilt in the early '90s, after the USSR's collapse.
State Historical Museum, also on Red Square
There always seem to be weddings happening on Red Square, often in
tasteless style reminiscent of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. I assume this pink
limousine is something to do with a wedding.
Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Entrance to the Kremlin
The Tsar Cannon: the largest cannon in the world, located within the Kremlin
The Dormition Cathedral, in the Kremlin, is where
the coronation of Russian tsars took place

A post office in central Moscow, with an emblem bearing
the hammer and sickle. Communist imagery is still everywhere in the city.
Lenin State Library, with a statue of Dostoevskii in front of it

The gargantuan Peter the Great Statue, photographed from behind because I couldn't be bothered to
 walk all the way to the other side. This is the eighth tallest statue in the world and has frequently
featured in lists of the world's ugliest monuments. In 2010 the city authorities tried to have the thing
moved to Saint Petersburg, but that city declined the offer.
Many of the stations on the Moscow Metro exhibit impressive Soviet-era
art and architecture, especially those on the Koltsevaya Liniya (Circle Line). 
Muscovites bustling past the copious artwork in one of the metro stations
Street art on Moscow State University's main campus
Close-up of the street art
Moscow State University's enormous main building
I'll definitely have to return to Moscow, as I would really like to have the opportunity to wander in the city's less touristic districts, to get more of an impression of the real city, behind the monuments. That said, from what I saw, Moscow is a highly impressive city.

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