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Things To Do And See In Russia - Moscow

Sep 12, 2008
Russia is a country that has experienced a turbulent and interesting past. Having studied the period of autocratic Tsarist rule and how it was put to an end by a dramatic seizure of power by the Soviets, i wanted to visit this fascinating place for myself. The history I learnt and the sights I saw were fascinating and I would highly recommend a trip to this interesting country.

Moscow, Russia's capital city is a definite must go. There are so many interesting things to see and do. When in Moscow, visit the Red Square, one of the most famous city squares in the world. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitay-gorod. Kitay-gorod is a business district within Moscow, encircled by mostly reconstructed medieval walls making it another interesting sight to see. Many streets lead from the Red Square to major roads outside the city, making the Red Square very much the centre of Moscow, as well as the centre of goings on in the rest of Russia.

The Red Square has been used for the coronation of Russian Tsars, as well as for official ceremonies by all Russian Governments. Walking around the square, it is wonderful to imagine the grandeur of these proceedings. During the mid to latter 20th Century, it was most famous as the site of official military parades demonstrating to the world the might of the Soviet armed forces.

Within the Red Square, The Kremlin itself is a place connected with years of history and to see it brings Russian politics to life. If your anything like myself you like to imagine walking the route of a Tsar, a Soviet leader or the President.

The name Kremlin is often used as a metonym to refer to the government of the Soviet Union (1922-1991) and its highest members (such as general secretaries, premiers, presidents, ministers, and commissars). To some extent, it is still used in reference to the government of the Russian Federation. "Kremlinology" referred to the study of Soviet policies. The official residence of the President of Russia is an historic, fortified complex, including four palaces, four cathedrals and the enclosing Kremlin wall with Kremlin towers. Tsars and Soviet leaders have both resided here, showing that through the changes of government the Kremlin remained a significant place in Russian history.

The Red Square is also home to Lenin's Mausoleum. It seems appropriate to keep Lenin's body in such a politically charged area of the capital. Lenin's embalmed body has been on public display there since the year he died in 1924. Tourists are able to pay to visit this famous Soviet leader. However, if you do feel like visiting you must be aware that the Russian's take he preservation of Lenin very seriously and want you to show extreme levels of respect. The guards will react if you laugh too much, talk too much, make rude comments or even keep your hands in your pockets. An interesting place to visit, so long as you know the rules.

When you enter the Red square, not only will you notice the bright red wall of the Kremlin and be in search of Lenin's Mausoleum, but you will be struck by the stunning Cathedral situated in the square. This eye catching display of architectural magnificence may actually be the sight that immediately catches your attention first and is often mistaken as being part of The Kremlin itself. The building is a multi-tented, multi-coloured church with distinctive onion shaped domes. It was commissioned by Ivan the Fourth, otherwise known as Ivan the Terrible, to commemorate he capture of the Khanate of Kazan- a medieval Tartar state, which occupied the territory of former Volga Bulgaria between 1438 and 1552.

The initial idea behind the Cathedral and an explanation for it's unusual stylistic features was to build a cluster of chapels, each one dedicated to the Saints on whose feast days the Tsars had won a battle. However, the construction of a single central tower unifies these paces into a single Cathedral.

There is a popular legend surrounding the Cathedral, which says that Ivan the Terrible had the architect Postnikl Yakovlev blinded to prevent him building a more magnificent building for anyone else. This has been said to be untrue, however, as the same architect designed as extra add on chapel top the ediface in 1588, four years after Ivan's death.

Moscow is a fantastic city and if you have the opportunity to go I would highly recommend going, to bring the stories of Russia's past to life.
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