Friday, January 05, 2007

Moscow Kremlin

Spent a lovely, but brisk brrrrr, afternoon at Moscow's Kremlin last week. The old fortress has two palaces, an armoury chamber, churches, towers, and museums. It's
too big to explore in one day. You can buy tickets in packages - we got the one for museums only which are old churches in Cathedral Square. Tickets for foreigners are 300 rubles but locals pay 100 rubles. I bumped into a guy from Edmonton there.

There happened to be a big crowd to a Children's New Year's so lots of waiting around in the cold. Our friends, Vera, Vera, and 'little' Lisa (guess who is called 'big' Lisa) gave us a customized tour. My friend and I know them from a figure skating event we attended a couple months ago. They offered to help us with directions and, since then, they've hosted us a their home and took us skating. They love practising their English with us and we love learning about their culture and traditions.

The Tsar Bell (1733-1735) is 6.14 metres high and weighs 200 tons. It was never used as it was damaged in a fire prior to completion.

We also toured the Archangel's Cathedral (1505) which is filled with coffins of the Princes and Tsars. We didn't spend too much time there but enjoyed the Annunciation Cathedral (1475) which held icons from 12th - 18th Century.

I most enjoyed the exhibition hall of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower as it show-cased gifts from other countries including jewels, swords, gold, and unique snuff boxes (what exactly were those things used for?). The purpose of the 266' bell tower was built with two belfries because none of the Cathedrals had their own.

I'll check out more of the Kremlin on a more picturesque day - white snow or green grasss. Is that too much to ask for?


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