Saturday, May 5, 2012

Moscow. Red Square and Victory Day

Last weekend we took our first sight-seeing trip. We went to Red Square with our missionary friends the Naegle's. It was a beautiful warm day.  It was mind boggling as we considered the fact that we were visiting a place in history that  dates back to the 1100s. WOW. Red Square is aptly named. It is a large square with St. Basil's Cathedral  on the south side, and the Kremlin lines one whole side. A special building in front of the Kremlin houses the body of Lenin, and people are invited to visit (no thank you) and see "him." There is another old church, and the GUM which used to be office buildings for the old Soviet Union. It is now a high-end indoor mall and very lovely and spacious. It is a magnificent building inside and out.

Dave & Barb standing at the north end of Red Square

Unknown Church at north end of the Square

                                   One of the towers located on the outside wall of the Kremlin
Moscow is not only a capital of Russia boasting 15 million people, but an ancient city as well. It is mentioned in manuscripts in 1147 ad.. And I used to think that New England was old!

During nine centuries Moscow underwent many severe trials: fires, devestations, and enemy's riots. In 1812 Napoleon troops entered Moscow. In 1941 German fascists tried but did not conquer Moscow. Russia and America stood together as allies and won the war against Germany. This date, May 9, is celebrated in Russia and is known as Victory Day. We saw signs of preparations for this important Russian holiday as we toured Red Square. Russian people are very patriotic and are very proud of their heritage. However, Victory Day is a Russian holiday and Americans are not invited to attend.

Dave with the Kremlin behind him

Looking south across the Square towards St. Basil's Cathedral

Looking north across the Square-Barb is in the red blouse

Our visit, however, on this day, was to visit St. Basil's Cathedral. It is truly magnificent. I have never seen anything like it. The architecture is amazing and the inside of the Cathedral takes your breath away. (unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of the exquisite paintings that covered the walls and ceilings.) There are 8 churches within the cathedral, each named for a different saint.


                                                      Dave & Barb with Ivan the Terrible
We also saw the Balshoi Theatre on our way to Red Square. I can't imagine ever seeing it on the inside, as lovely an experience as that would be, because we simply cannot afford the high price tag!

We are looking forward to visiting a lot of different sites while we are here.

Today we walked over to a Russian Orthodox Church that we can see from our apartment window. We popped our heads inside for a minute and were astounded by the grandeur there.  There were wall-to-wall paintings of the Savior and the holy family. There were magnificent chandeliers, beautiful woodwork and ornate furnishings that looked to be gold-plated. There were no pews. When you attend church there and in many other churches in Russia, you stand during the service.
On the outside of the church there were several head shots of Jesus. To the left, was a painting of him on the cross and it was quite detailed.  Interestingly, there was a skull and cross-bones underneath the crucifix.
                                          Russian Orthodox Church located near our apartment
On a lighter note, we continue to see things in Moscow and Mitina that you just wouldn't see back in big cities. For instance, horses with riders meandering across the street. If they leave their calling card, like a pony and rider did a couple of days ago, oh well. They go on their merry way. I'm not sure who cleans up after them, but I used to complain about dog droppings!

As I have mentioned before Mitina is a large city. It has been delightful to learn that there are woods in our backyard. We walked out along one of the many paths a few days ago. People are coming out of the woodwork now that the weather is nicer! There were families having picnics, kids rollerblading, bicycle riders, boys playing basketball at a small court. It is very lovely and many different paths to take (which isn't good for me, because I could and probably would get lost). We understand that there is a lake back there somewhere which we hope to find.

We continue to love our mission and serving in the mission office amongst so many wonderful missionaries. A couple of days ago, we had a little birthday celebration here for one of our office elders who is now 20 years old.
  From left to right: Elder & Sister Naegle; Elder & Sister Pierson; Elder Brown; Elder Everett; Barb
Elder Brown, birthday boy, on the right

                   Elder Everett with his stash, which he received with a care package from home

Until next week, dos vidonya.

1 comment:

  1. Look at how cute you two are in MOSCOW!!!!