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Moscow - Москва́ - Moskva

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Moscow (Москва)

Welcome to the biggest city in Europe!  It is located on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District, in the European part of Russia. Historically, it was the capital of the former Soviet Union and the Grand Duchy of Moscow and Tsardom of Russia, the pre-Imperial Russian states. It is the site of the Moscow Kremlin, which serves as the ceremonial residence of the President of Russia and the Russian parliament.

There are lots of things to see and do in Moscow so in this thread we'll explore and give you some ideas for travel.

The Novodevichy ('New Maiden') Convent, also known as Bogoroditse-Smolensky Monastery (Новоде́вичий монасты́рь, Богоро́дице-Смоле́нский монасты́рь) is probably the best-known cloister of Moscow. Its name, sometimes translated as the New Maidens' Monastery, was devised to differ from an ancient maidens' convent in the Moscow Kremlin. Unlike other Moscow cloisters, it has remained virtually intact since the 17th century. In 2004, it was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The Novodevichy Pond is very lovely. In the winter this is a favorite place for skating and sledging. Brass ducks by the pond were given by Barbara Bush "to the children of Russia" but later stolen by thieves. They have since been replaced.

The Novodevichy Convent was founded in 1524 by Tsar Vasily III (1479-1533) to commemoratethe capture of Smolensk from Lithuania. That it was intended to serve not only as a religious institution but also as a fortress is evident from its strategic location and strong wall with 12 battle towers. Until the 20 th century, the convent marked Moscow's southern edge.

Having been founded by the tsar, it enjoyed an elevated position among the many monasteries and convents of Moscow and became a convent primarily for ladies of noble birth. It was also used as a prison for rebellious royals, including Peter the Great's half-sister and his first wife.

Little remains of the original structure. Most of the current building dates from the 1680s, when the convent was significantly rebuilt and enhanced after the Time of Troubles by the Regent Sofia. Sofia was later confined here by Peter the Great along with his unwanted first wife.

After the Revolution, Novodevichy's churches were closed and in 1922 it was turned into a museum. This spared it from a worse fate until the cathedral was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church as a reward for backing the war effort in 1945.

Restoration of the convent began in the 1960s and in 1988 an episcopal see was once again established here. It is still officially a museum, but is used as a convent by nuns who keep a low profile.

Some of the famous Russians buried there are:
Nadezhda Alliluyeva-Stalin, (1902–1932), "First Lady" of the Soviet Union
Pavel Belyayev, (1925–1970), cosmonaut
Georgi Beregovoi, (1921–1995), cosmonaut
Sergei Bondarchuk, (1920–1994), actor/director
Boris Bruinov, (1922–1997), actor
Valery Bryusov, (1873–1924), writer
Mikhail Bulgakov, (1881–1940), playwright and author
Nikolai Bulganin, (1895–1975), statesman
Anton Chekhov, (1860–1904), writer
Georgi Chicherin (1872–1936), statesman
Fyodor Chaliapin, (1873–1938), opera singer
Ilya Ehrenburg, (1891–1967), writer
Alexander Fadeyev, (1901–1956), writer
Nikolai Gogol, (1809–1852), writer
Raisa Gorbachev, (1932–1999), "First Lady" of the Soviet Union
Nikita Khrushchev, (1894–1971), statesman
Peter Kropotkin, (1842–1921), Russia's foremost anarchist
Alexander Lebed, (1950–2002), soldier and politician
Lev Davidovich Landau, (1908–1968), Nobel laureate in Physics
Isaac Levitan, (1860–1900), painter
Vladimir Mayakovsky, (1893–1930), poet
Vyacheslav Molotov, (1890–1986), politician
Nikolai Ogaryov, (1813–1877), writer/poet
David Oistrakh, (1908–1974), violin virtuoso
Aleksandr Oparin, (1894–1980), scientist
Boris Polevoy, (1908–1981), writer
Sergei Prokofiev, (1891–1953), composer
Valentin Serov, (1865–1911), writer and artist
Dmitri Shostakovich, (1906–1975), composer
Vasily Shukshin, (1929–1974), writer, actor

  Grave of Nikita Khrushchev who was under house arrest from the time he was desposed until his death.  He was denied burial in the Kremlin wall and instead was buried in a private ceremony at New Maiden Convent cemetery.  KGB agents attended his funeral, noting and photographing friends of the Khrushchev family who attended the burial.

Quick Facts
Address: 1 Novodevichy proyezd, Moscow, Russia
Type of site:  Christian monastery 
Faith: Russian Orthodox 
Date: Founded 1524 
Status: Officially a museum, but actively used by resident nuns 
Location: Krasnaya Presnya, Moscow
Phone: 095/246-8526 or 095/246-2201
Metro: Sportivnaya
Hours: Museum: Thurs.-Tues. 10-5; Convent: daily 10-6; closed last Mon. of month.
Cost: $5
Tip: Sometimes it is possible to catch a Russian Orthodox service in the cathedral. Women should cover their heads before entering.   Under no circumstances should men or women enter an Orthodox Church in walking shorts or tank tops or open-toe sandals.

(Source:  Wikipedia)

Московский Кремль (Mos-KOV-skiy KREM-el) The Kremlin

The primary spots within the Kremlin:
-Armoury Chamber
-Assumption Cathedral
-Archangel’s Cathedral
-Annunciation Cathedral
-Church of Laying Our Lady’s Holy Robe
-Patriarch’s Palace
-Twelve Apostles’ Church
-Ivan the Great Bell-Tower complex
-the collection of artillery arms and bells.

Video Presentation:

The Armoury: This is a collection of world-renowned treatures displaying ancient Russian regalia, ceremonial tsar's dress, church hierarchs' vestments, gold and silverware by Russian, European and Eastern masters, arms and armouries, royal carriages and horse ceremonial harness sets.  Historians around the world laud this museum's exhibits because of precious materials, high artistic level and their particular value for the history and culture of the Russian State.

The Assumption Cathedral:  The Cathedral of the Assumption or also known as Cathedral of the Dormition (Uspensky Sobor (Успенский Собор) is one of several churches in Moscow's Kremlin. It was built between 1475 and 1479 AD by the Italian architect Aristotele Fioravanti. 

In the 14th century, Metropolitan Peter persuaded Ivan I (Ivan Kalita) that he should build a cathedral to the Holy Virgin in Moscow like the Cathedral of the Assumption in the capital city Vladimir. Construction of the cathedral began on August 4, 1326. In the following year, Moscow became the capital of the Vladimir-Suzdal' principality, and later of all Rus.

This is the royal place where Tsars have been inaugurated and coronations of Emperors have taken place here.  In this Catheral Bishops, Metropolitans and Patriarchs were crowned thru the centuries of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Archangel's Cathedral: This is one of the most important of the Kremlin Churches for early Russian history.  Many of the early Moscow Great Princes and Tsars were crowned and buried here.  Great Princes Ivan Kalita, Dmitriy Donskoi, Ivan III, Ivan the Terrible, tsarevich Dmitriy, Tsars Mikhail and Alexey Romanov were in this ancient Cathedral. There are 47 tombstones and 2 reliquaries.  The cathedral's pillars and walls are covered with portraits of Moscow leaders and their glorious ancestors. In the local row of the iconostasis one can see the ancient image of the "Archangel Michael with glorious works", created in the time of the Battle on the Kulikovo Field, dating back to the year 1333.


Video Presentation:

The Cathedral of the Annunciation: (Благовещенский собор) is a cathedral dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos.  "Theotokos" is the greek term for the Virgin Mary.

For many years the cathedral was the home church of the Tsars. Its abbot has been a personal confessor of the royal family until the early 20th century. The Cathedral of the Annunciation was built on the Sobornaya Square (Cathedral Square) by architects from Pskov in 1484-1489. It was erected on the spot of an older 14th century cathedral of the same name, which had been rebuilt in 1416.

The Church of Laying Our Lady’s Holy Robe:  Also known as the Church of the Deposition of the Robe (Церковь Ризоположения) is a church which stands on Cathedral Square in the Moscow Kremlin.  It was begun in 1484 by masters from Pskov, most likely by the same group of architects who built the adjacent Cathedral of the Annunciation. 
The church was built on the site of a previous church, built by Jonah Metropolitan of Moscow in 1451

The Ivan the Great Bell-Tower complex: The Bell-Tower was erected in 1505-1508 by Italian architect Bon Friazin. A century later another one arcade for bells was added to the Bell-Tower so that its total height achieved 81 m. The memorial inscription under the dome includes this information, the year of 1600 and the names of Tsar Boris Godunov and his son Fyodor.

In 1532-1552, a new church was built near the Bell-Tower on the project of Italian architect Petrok Maliy. In late XVII century it was dismantled and transformed into a belfry named Uspenskaya (Assumption). In 1624, Bazhen Ogurtsov (Cucumber) added to the Uspenskaya another one belfry with a marquee-top - the Filaret’s Annex.

In 1812, while retreating from Moscow, the Napoleon’s Army blew up the Ivan the Great Bell-Tower ensemble. However, the pillar of the bell-tower survived. The Belfry and the Filaret’s Annex were completely destroyed and restored in original dimensions in 1814-1815.

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The Church of the Twelve Apostles:  (церковь Двенадцати Апостолов) is a minor cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, commissioned by Patriarch Nikon as part of his stately residence in 1653 and dedicated to Philip the Apostle three years later.

The Patriarch' Palace:  is part of the beautiful Church of the Twelve Apostles complex.  The Patriarch’s Palace was built in 1653-1655 by Russian craftsmen for Patriarch Nikon. On the palace’s ground floor there were household services, the second floor housed living quarters of the Patriarch. The ceremonial chambers were located on the first floor. The main ceremonial room was the Cross (or Chrism) Chamber where the meetings of the Holy Council and tsar’s and ambassadorial feasts were held. In XVIII-XIX centuries, Moscow Synod Service was situated in the Patriarch’s Chambers.

Historical and Artistic collections:  There are many regular exhibitions at the Kremlin, representing artworks which were executed during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the first ruler of Russia who assumed the title of Tsar or to other of the Russian Royal families. The exposition consists of the exhibits from the Kremlin cathedrals, Armoury Chamber and museum funds, i.e. icons, embroideries, works of silversmiths. The display reveals the interaction between art and cultural wealth, when forms and artistic features of items are closely connected to the spiritual feeling and religious subject matter.

  The crown of the ruler of Kazan, now Russian.

Video Presentation:



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