FolkestoneJack's Tracks

The Kremlin and Novodevichiy Convent

Posted in Moscow, Russia by folkestonejack on January 15, 2007

After a good night’s sleep I headed to the heart of Moscow and marvelled at the immense stretch of space that is Red Square – bordered by the Kremlin, St Basils, GUM, Lenin’s Mausoleum and the State Historical Museum. It felt amazing to be standing at the centre of all this with such incredible buildings all around. I was brought back to earth by an elderly Russian couple who wanted to have their photograph taken in front of Lenin’s mausoleum and I was quite happy to oblige.

The majority of my day was taken up with a visit to the Kremlin – soaking up the cathedrals that were open, the Patriarch’s Palace and the Armoury. The collection of thrones, crowns and royal carriages in the armoury certainly had the wow factor, though it was two paintings of the Kremlin during wartime that really caught my eye. As I made my way out I watched as an official zill flanked by police cars made its way into the Kremlin with every guard saluting. It’s easy to see all the historical sights inside the Kremlin and forget that this is a functioning seat of government (it is home to the President and his administration).

As I still had some daylight left to use, I headed on to Novodevichiy Convent and the neighbouring cemetery. The Smolensk Cathedral was shut for restoration until May 2007 but I was able to enjoy a fascinating exhibition about the military history of the convent (including the famous picture of the rebel streltsy guards hung outside the convent).

The cemetery at Novodevichiy is a remarkable place with many of the graves featuring statues, images of the deceased or representations of their life’s work (including a missile battery at the grave of a missile designer). It’s probably the most incredible place I’ve visited and one that I will have to come back to as I never expected to spend so long wandering around. Sunset arrived far too quickly!

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