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Author Topic: Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin  (Read 38620 times)

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Offline mendeleyev

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« on: October 29, 2009, 12:25:30 AM »
We're a 2 minute Metro ride, but that means 10+ minutes by the time we enter the Metro, go thru the turnstiles, ride down the escalator and wait our turn to board a train. Then do it all in reverse to get off the train, go up the escalator, and exit to the street.

Its not that bad of a walk.

On our handy-dandy Moscow mini map you see the small circle. That is where we are, near Metro Kropotkinskaya. We're headed toward Red Square, the Kremlin, Alexander Gardens, Manezh Plaza, etc, etc, etc. Making our way toward the big square triangle.

Holy jeepers, Batcat! Triangle? That means that Red Square isn't Square?

Exactly. It's the result of a long-standing mistranslation of the name.

It isn't red either as you'll soon see with your own eyes.  

Some historians say that the word "red" was originally applied to Saint Basil's Cathedral and was subsequently transferred to the nearby square. Others argue that the name comes from the colour of bricks, yes red, from the Kremlin walls.

Both theories have gaping holes. First, the name first appeared in the 17th century when the colour of the Kremlin walls were white, not red. During that time Красная was the main term for "beautiful" rather than Красивый as more commonly used today. Finally, Saint Basil's isn't red, it's multi-coloured but the main colour scheme is a deep orange, not red.

The modern day usage of the term grew during the Cold War days. The word for red comes from the word beautiful and the USA-UK-Canada and Russia were friends and allies before the revolution. The "red square" designation grew even more prominent after the capital had returned to Moscow and with the onset of large Red Army military parades on the plaza next to the Kremlin.

Красная площадь would have normally been translated as "Beautiful Plaza" from the Russian language as it was used in the 17th Century.


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[ Guests cannot view attachments ] площадь (ploshad) = "plaza"

Offline mendeleyev

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2009, 12:43:34 AM »
Lets look close up and identify the Metro stations so that if you wish to make this trip yourself you'll have the necessary info.

There are many hotels and apartments who advertise themselves as "a stone's throw" or as within "just steps" from Red Square Plaza. In reality some of them are not that conveniently located if time is of the essence.

If you can get from where you are staying to these Metro stations easily you'll be fine:
Aleksandrovsky Sad
Biblioteka im. Lenina
Borovitskaya
Okhotny Ryad
Teatralnaya



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Map details:
Not that most of us will drive in Moscow, but you can see that New Arbat (Novy Arbat) leads directly to the centre of the city.

You can also see the Moscow River in relation to how it passes directly by the Kremlin area.

Offline BelleZeBoob

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2009, 04:17:02 AM »

Holy jeepers, Batcat! Triangle? That means that Red Square isn't Square?

Exactly. It's the result of a long-standing mistranslation of the name.



Mendy, are you sure that the Red Square is triangular? If it is, how would it be able to host military parades that require very straight lines?

This picture is not of the Red Square but that of the inside Kremlin that is indeed triangular, surrounded by famous red walls. The Red Square is a little spot right at Spasskaya Tower which is visible at the side of your picture.

 

Men are like Bluetooth: he is connected to you when you are nearby, but searches for other devices when you are away.
Women are like Wi-Fi: she sees all available devices, but connects to the strongest one.


Offline froid

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2009, 05:45:28 AM »
I'm with Belle...from what I understand what we westerners know as Red Square is a rectangle.  See link...

http://www.wikimapia.org/#lat=55.7531294&lon=37.6194406&z=16&l=0&m=b&search=red%20square
Look, we're gonna spend half the night driving around the Hills looking for this one party and you're going to say it sucks and we're all gonna leave and then we're gonna go look for this other party. But all the parties and all the bars, they all suck. <-Same goes for forums!

Offline mendeleyev

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2009, 07:47:25 AM »
Of course you are correct. Red Square itself is more rectanglar, however the Kremlin territory in total is more triangular. My illustration was that it isn't "square" in terms of what many Westerners mean as square. Most of us associate Red Square and the Kremlin as one, true they're not, but even many Russians do the same.

Froid, way cool on the Google map! I like that.  tiphat

Well I liked it except for one thing: who moved the Лобное место? I didn't see that on the Google photo?

Offline BelleZeBoob

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2009, 08:01:05 AM »
Probably too little to be shown as a separate object on that map. But still there ;)



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Men are like Bluetooth: he is connected to you when you are nearby, but searches for other devices when you are away.
Women are like Wi-Fi: she sees all available devices, but connects to the strongest one.

Offline mendeleyev

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2009, 08:05:29 AM »
Good! I didn't see it on the map photo and was worried that perhaps some Western tourist had thrown it in a suitcase and taken it back to Topeka, Kansas or some other exotic town like Hannah, Montana.  :chuckle:

Offline froid

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2009, 08:13:02 AM »
Actually Wikimapia.org should be it's own seperate post as a useful aid to travellers.  

I used it to learn where things were in both Moscow and St Petersburg before I even went to both places.  As long as someone in the general public has taken the time to label the map for you it is VERY helpful.  Then once I was there I could navigate by sight since I had seen aerial views of everywhere beforehand.

Belle you should look at Wikimapia for Toronto too.  
Look, we're gonna spend half the night driving around the Hills looking for this one party and you're going to say it sucks and we're all gonna leave and then we're gonna go look for this other party. But all the parties and all the bars, they all suck. <-Same goes for forums!

Offline mendeleyev

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2009, 09:21:31 AM »
Everyone just naturally rushes onto Red Square upon arriving so lets be different. For a while we'll get to know the neighborhood as we approach.

One of the areas least seen is just across the Moscow River. Ironically some of the most stunning photos can be taken from this area but only rarely do outside visitors take the opportunity to get to know this place across the river from the Kremlin territory.


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Lets approach Red Square and the Kremlin from what is generally called the Sofiyskaya Embankment. Its named for the little Saint Sophia church nearby and part of the Zamoskvorechye region of Moscow and perhaps most well known for two streets which separate districts, Bolshaya Yakimanka and Bolshaya Ordynka.


[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Yakimanka area


Likely you've heard of the House on Embankment (Дом на набережной), a block-wide apartment house in the Bersenevka neighborhood opposite the Kremlin. That imposing building is here too.

The House on the Embankment was completed in 1931 as the Government Building, as a residence of Soviet elite. The building currently has 505 apartments of which some are used as offices, a theater, a movie theater, restaurants and retail stores.


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During Stalin's purges, this was not the place one wanted to live. Stories abound of KGB vans pulling up at night, men pounding up the stairways, and shouting for doors to be opened, residents who lived with a bag packed in case those men suddenly came for them, and the relief of knowing that at least that night, they had come for a neighbor instead.

Some of the building's most famous residents have included Alexey Kosygin and Nikita Khrushchev.


[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Никита Сергеевич Хрущев


Cuse me, it's Nitika on the phone. I should take this call.

- Hello, its Mendeleyev.

- Yeah, Nicky here.

- Dude, it's been a LONG time.

- Well, yeah, it gets busy round this place.

- One could only imagine!

- Ah, Mendy, what's this about Froid taking the Лобное место back to Canada.

- Oh gosh, didn't know you read RUA!

- Avid fan, very avid. Of the Mendeleyev Journal too.

- Well, golly, aw shucks and all. But it wasn't Froid who took it. Well, I don't think it was him.

- Listen Mendeleyev, ya never know...your friends are the first ones to do something sneaky behind your back. Anyways, we've got to have that thing returned to Красная площадь.

- What "thing?"

- Is your memory that bad? Jeepers, wait until ya get my age.

- It's okay, Nicky. Belle found it. The Лобное место is back and sitting there next to St Basil's.

- Good, good. She put it in the correct spot, right? I mean, this is historic stuff and all. Placement is everything. Measurements have to be "spot on" if you understand me.

- Nicky, Belle has just the right measurements!   tiphat  On that you don't have to worry.  :laugh:

- Alright. We'll it's been good chatting. Listen, gotta run but watch out for that Lenoid, he's a back stabber. Threw me a curve ball that's for sure.

- Wait, Nicky, you mean that you don't ever run into Lenoid where you're at? He's been gone from here quite a while.

- Nope, reckon we musta ended up in different places.  :chuckle:

- (operator recording) Sorry, your phone card has exceeded the available minutes. Please hang up or insert another card. Thanks for using Pearly Gates Telecom for all your communication needs. Goodbye.

- (dial tone)

Offline mendeleyev

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2009, 11:36:47 AM »
Meanwhile before we plunge into all that the Red Square and Kremlin territory has to offer lets grab some lunch not far from our destination. Restaurant Grabli ("the Rake") is at Pyatnitskaya 27 between Metro stations Tretyakovskaya & Novokuznetskaya and a decent place to try Russian food at a budget price. Its cafeteria style so each can choose their own items.


http://www.grably.ru/


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Offline froid

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2009, 11:52:06 AM »
I can't remember where I was before I walked to Red Square and the Kremlin but it was an art museum.  My first view of the Kremlin was from this side, across the river.  Looks much more impressive then because you are far enough away to see more without buildings in the way. 
Look, we're gonna spend half the night driving around the Hills looking for this one party and you're going to say it sucks and we're all gonna leave and then we're gonna go look for this other party. But all the parties and all the bars, they all suck. <-Same goes for forums!

Offline mendeleyev

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2009, 12:56:03 PM »
Froid, were you coming from the area of Pushkin Museum near the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour?

Or at the entry to Red Square? Did you notice a large (red building) state historical musuem with the statue of Marshall Zhukov on a horse in front?

Offline mendeleyev

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2009, 01:35:35 AM »
Okay with lunch completed we're ready to begin our tour. However before we go we'll stop at a kiosk and get some bottled water.

Today street kiosks are a lot different than back in the 1980s. In the photo below is a bank of machines selling mineral water and a vendor selling ice cream (1986).


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It cost 15 kopeks in 1986 for vanilla ice cream sandwiches at one of these Moscow ice cream and water stands. Just as is often the case today, you needed to have correct change or you might lose your place in line or be asked to stand aside until the purchases of other customers made change possible.

Russians love ice cream and will eat it solo, as a topping for pancakes & blini, or just about any way imaginable. Since big fridges and freezers were not convenient for street kiosks, usually ice cream purchased from kiosks was in the form of eskimo bars.

Mineral (soda--with "gas") water could be purchased from one of the large bulky machines for a 3-kopek coin. At that time paper drinking/eating products were not in great supply so often a glass or tin was set nearby as well as a water fountain to rinse it out after the previous customer.


Today we'll take our bottled water in a more modern form. Common choices include .33 liter, .07 liter, or 2 liter.


[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Bottled water.

Offline mendeleyev

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2009, 10:19:24 AM »
Thousands of years of history have played out on this walled plaza, long used by the occupants of the Kremlin to congregate, celebrate, and castigate for all to see.

We'll pick up at Teatralnaya Ploshchad, or Theater Square, site of the celebrated (1) Bolshoi Theater (Teatralnaya Plaza; www.bolshoi.ru) and the lesser known (2) Maly Theater (Teatralnaya Plaza). The fantastic facade across the street is the (3) Metropol Hotel (Teatralny station; www.metropol-mosow.ru), an amazing art nouveau masterpiece covered with multicolored mosaics and sculpted stone.

A little later we'll walk on Okhotny Ryad to Manezhnaya Plaza (Manezh Square). The square is now occupied by the vast underground shopping mall (4) Okhotny Ryad. Surrounded by luxury hotels, the square centers on the statue of Marshall Zhukov, the heroic commander from WWII. The former (5) Central Lenin Museum provides the backdrop.

The best way to approach Red Square is through the (6) Resurrection Gate. Although this triumphal arch was built in the early 1990s, it is an exact replica of the original structure, which stood on this site from 1680 to the early 1930s. Now the stunning square is before you, ringed by historic buildings and amazing architecture. On the immediate left is the tiny (7) Kazan Cathedral, another 20th-century reproduction. And on your immediate right, anchoring the north end of the square, is the (#8) State History Museum (www.shm.ru). This stately brick building is a gem of a museum with each room dedicated to a different historical period.

The enormous, elaborate facade occupying the east side of the square is the State Department Store, better known as (9) GUM (www.gum.ru). These days, GUM (pronounced "goom") is filled with fancy boutiques and souvenir shops. The mighty towers of the (10) Kremlin (www.kremlin.ru) dominate the west side of the square (although the visitor’s entrance is on the opposite side). In a prominent place near the center, (11) Lenin’s Mausoleum is there to see (although his eventual interment is an ongoing subject of debate).

At the far end of Red Square, the colorful confusion of onion domes and tent peaks is (12) Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed, the 16th-century church that is probably Moscow’s most recognizable sight. “The interior is mysterious and beautiful with its painted walls and iconostases of different period,” says Clementine Cecil, co-founder, Moscow Architectural Preservation Society (www.maps-moscow.com). “It was a museum during Communist times, which saved it from Bolshevik looting.” The church’s proper name is the Intercession Cathedral, named for the feast day on which the army of Ivan IV the Terrible captured the city of Kazan in 1552. But one chapel is built over the grave of Vasily (Basil) the Blessed, whose name has stuck to the whole church.

From here you can continue strolling south to the Moscow River for fabulous views of the gold domes of the Kremlin churches rising up over the red brick walls.


Offline mendeleyev

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Touring Moscow, part 3: Red Square & Kremlin
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2009, 09:07:39 PM »
Looking around at all this wonderful history, and knowing how far behind the Soviet Union was to the West in standards of living, it's hard to believe that we're enjoying all this history in the midst of what has grown in a very short time into this.....


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Visitors don't need to bring their own coffee and toilet paper any longer. We think you can find it easy enough here.  :)