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Moscow Attractions

 

THE KREMLIN  

 

For centuries of its existence the Moscow Kremlin has been witness of many famous and tragic events of our history. Enemy guns rattled at its walls, celebrations and revolts took place. Now the Moscow Kremlin is one of the biggest museums of the world. State regalia of Russia, invaluable icons, treasures of Russian tsars are stored in the Kremlin chambers and cathedrals.

 

Spasskaya Tower is considered to be the most beautiful and most harmonious tower of the Kremlin. It was constructed by architect Pietro Antonio Solari in 1491. From time immemorial the Spasskaya gate was the main smart entrance to the Kremlin. It was especially esteemed among people and was considered to be sacred. It was forbidden to pass astride through the Spasskaya gate.

Moscow Attractions

 

For more than 150 years a unique monument of Russian art moulding of XVIII century - a well-known Emperor Bell has been standing on the white -stone pedestal at the bottom of the Bell Tower of Ivan the Great. Large bells were cast in the Gun Court in Moscow in 16-17 th centuries, but they did not remain to these days. Sometimes they broke from time, from too strong impacts, but more often were damaged by fires. During a great fire in Moscow in 1701 the Bell fell down and broke into pieces.

 

The Emperor Cannon, cast by Andrey Shchokhov is the oldest and the largest cannon in the world. It was cast in 1586 in the Gun Court in Moscow during the reign of Fyodor - son of Ivan the Terrible. The appearance of such unique work was a natural result of the development of the oldest branch of Russian craft - foundry business, which was known in Russia from X century. The length of this huge gun makes 5 meters 34 centimeters. The external diameter of the barrel is 120 centimeters, diameter of the barrel pattern zone is 134 centimeters, calibre is 890 millimeters.

 

For 400 years of its existence the Emperor Cannon changed its location for several times. In 18th century it was displaced to the Moscow Kremlin and at the beginning was located in a court yard of the Arsenal building and then at its main gate. In 1835 iron gun carriages, decorated with splendid ornaments, were cast at St. Petersburg Berd Factory under sketch of architect A.P.Brullov and drawings of engineer P.Y. de Vitte. Now the Emperor Cannon, placed on a gun carriage, was established opposite the Arsenal. Four iron decorative cannon - balls, each 1000 kgs, were placed by the cannon side. In 1960, following the construction of the Kremlin Palace of Congresses, the Emperor Cannon have been solemnly moved to the Ivanovskaya Square to the Cathedral of Twelve Apostles, where it stands until now.

 

RED SQUARE

 

As ancient chronicles assert, the Red Square appeared at the end of 15th century, when Ivan III ordered to ruin all wooden buildings, surrounding the Kremlin and threatening with the fire, and to allot this area for a market. That's how the first name of the square - Trade Square ("Torgovaya") appeared. However, in 16th century the Square was renamed into "Troitskaya (Trinity) Square" after the Church of Saint Trinity. Later the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed was erected at the place of St. Trinity Church.

 

In Russia the same object might have several names. Thus, The Red Square was officially given its modern name in 19th century, though the name was mentioned in the documents of 17th century. Different centuries left their traces:15th century gave the Kremlin's Wall with Spasskaya, Senatskaya and Nikolskaya towers; 16th - Place of execution. (Lobnoe mesto), and the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed; 19th century - the monument to Minin and Pozharsky, the building of Historical museum and Upper Trade Rows (GUM), 20th century - Lenin's Mausoleum.

POKLONNAJA MOUNTAIN

 

Poklonnaja mountain is the most significant monument constructed in honour of victory in the Great Patriotic War. Solemn opening of the Victory Memorial in Moscow was held in May, 9, 1995. In February, 23, 1958 on Poklonnaya mountain a memorable granite sign was established with the inscription: " Here there will be a monument to the Victory of Soviet people in Great Patriotic War". Trees were planted around the place, park was layed named the Victory Park. In 70-80s 194 million roubles were collected. For the whole complex a site of 135 hectares was allocated. A great work on designing, discussion and choosing the best project of the main monument to freedom began. At that time, however, the question remained unsolved as none of the projects submitted was accepted. Everything remained without changes until the general management of the construction of the Memorial was undertaken by the mayor of Moscow J.M.Luzhkov. And the construction, threatened to be broken, was completed for three years.

 

ST. BASIL'S CATHEDRAL

 

In 16th century a stone church of the Trinity with a small cemetery was situated on this place. The Blessed Vasily, who has dyed in August 2, 1555, considered to be foolish, was buried near this stone church. In October 2, 1552, Russian troops took Kazan - the capital of the Kazan khanate. In commemoration of this event tsar Ivan the Terrible ordered to construct 7 wooden temples on the Red Square, where in 1555-1561 a stone temple, named after the Feast of the Protective veil, was erected (the assault on Kazan began the day of the holiday of the Protective veil, after two months siege). The church, situated in the central tower, was devoted to this holiday. Four towers-churches are located on different sides of the world. The northern - in the name of St. Kiprian and Ustina; that was the day of the complete capture of Kazan. In 1786 under petition of rich investor Natalia Hruscheva the church was consecrated in the name of St. Adrian and Natalia. The southern church is consecrated in the name of Nicola Velikoretsky, that is also connected with the Kazan campaign. The western church is consecrated in the name of the Input to Jerusalem, it is connected with solemn returning of the army to Moscow. Eastern church is consecrated in the name of Trinity, that is, the church, which was before situated at the cathedral place, was transferred into it.

 

The towers, located along the diagonals, are devoted to various events of the Kazan campaign: north - west church of the Grigory Armyansky (day of capture of the Arskaya tower). South - east church of Alexander Svirsky (rout of 30-thousand group tatar cavalry under the command of the tatar prince Japanchi); north -east church of the Three patriarchs of Alexandria - the memory day of these saints is marked the same day as the memory day of Alexander Svirsky. South - west church of Varlaam Hutynsky is the only church, which is not connected with the events of the campaign.

 

The central temple consists of tetrahedron, octahedron and is completed by an octahedral light drum with gilded head. There is a covered promenade (gallery) around the bottom circle. Vaults of the promenade lean on the massive columns with decorative pediments on the top. Transition from the octahedron to a tent is decorated with the set of kokoshniks. Four towers - churches, located on the sides of the world, consist each of three octahedrons, narrowed by ledges, and a drum with the figured head. Four small churches on diagonals are tetrahedrons, transition to a drum is made out by three rows of semicircular kokoshniks. The building has no expressed main facade and is designed for an all-round viewing, for circular detour. Interiors of churches are simple. The cathedral is interesting in its appearance. As though it represents the fantastic "paradise town". The temple is fairly considered to be a monument of architecture and construction art of world value. Till now the cathedral is a branch of the State Historical museum. The first divine service was held in October, 14, 1991, however regular divine services are not made.

 

THE CATHEDRAL OF CHRIST THE SAVIOUR

 

The temple was constructed on a vow given by sovereign Alexander I in gratitude for saving fatherland "from the Gauls invasion". The temple was supposed to be built on Vorobyovy mountains under the project of architect Vitberg. Subsequently "on intrigues against the builder" the project of a temple and a place of construction were changed. The new place was chosen not so close to the Kremlin, so that the temple was dissonant to its ensemble, but at the same time so that connection of the temple with ancient constructions of the Kremlin and the Red Square was felt.

 

September, 10, 1839 the solemn laying of the present temple in Russian-Byzantian style took place. It was constructed under the project of architect K.A.Ton, at the expense of treasury with attraction of people's donations. Two cemeteries and mammoth remnants were found during digging a foundation ditch. The temple was consecrated in April, 10, 1883 during the days of crowning of the emperor Nikolay I. Side - chapels were consecrated later: in June, 12 - the side-chapel of St.Nikolay Chudotvorets and in July, 8 - of St. Alexander Nevsky. K.A.Ton has created the project of a five-domed temple with big central and four angular turrets with 14 bells.

 

The banners and keys of the conquered cities were transferred to the temple. 640 candlesticks were built in a dome for illumination, and 600 more around the lattice on choruses. First electric street lamps in Moscow appeared on the square in front of the temple. The height of the temple was 103 m. In December, 5 1931. the temple was blown up. Subsequently the foundation ditch was used for the construction of swimming - pool " Moscow ". In 1994. the pool was closed. In January, 1995, the solemn laying of the revived temple took place. Now the construction is completed. The temple has active museum, excursions are held and the viewing platform is arranged.

 

NOVODEVICHY CONVENT

 

 One of the most beautiful Moscow convents, founded at the beginning of 16th century, for 400 years the Novodevichy Convent was the witness and the participant of important historical events, connected with the names of Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov, Sofia and Peter I. The architectural ensemble of the convent was formed by the end of 17th century and till now remains one of the best in Russia. In the main, Smolensk Cathedral, there is a valuable wall fresco of 16th century and a magnificent carved iconostasis with icons of famous imperial masters of that time. Representatives of noble families and tsar relatives, the hero of the Patriotic war of 1812 D.V.Davydov, the writer I.I.Lazhechnikov, the historian S.M. Solovyev and others are buried on the convent territory.

 

The construction of the convent was a result of a large military and diplomatic victory of Russia. The founder of the convent, grand duke Vasily III, his son Ivan the Terrible, other tsars and boyars showed a great interest in the Novodevichy convent, rendering it all possible financial and legal support.

 

Its nuns were, as a rule, representatives of the supreme feudal nobility. Among them - members of families of Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov, Peter I. The architectural ensemble of the Novodevichy convent, existing nowadays, began to develop in 16th century, and got the further development and completion in 80s of 17th century.

 

MAUSOLEUM

 

The composite centre of the Red Square - the Mausoleum - is a monument-tomb, in a Mourning hall of which there is a crystal sarcophagus with V.I.Lenin's body. When it became known about his death it was decided to build a Mausoleum by the Kremlin wall. The project was carried out by architect A. Shchusev. By January 27, 1924 a temporary Mausoleum was erected. It was a cube, crowned with three-level pyramid. In spring of the same year it was replaced by another temporary Mausoleum, also wooden.

 

The modern stone Mausoleum was constructed in 1930, also designed by A. Shchusev. It is a grand scale building tiled with dark-red granite, porphyry and black labradorite. Red and black shades give the Mausoleum distinct and sad austerity. Over the entrance, on black labradorite the name "Lenin" is inscribed in red porphyry. At the same time at both sides of the building along the Kremlin wall guest tribunes for 10 thousand people were constructed.

 

MAUSOLEUM

 

 The composite centre of the Red Square - the Mausoleum - is a monument-tomb, in a Mourning hall of which there is a crystal sarcophagus with V.I.Lenin's body. When it became known about his death it was decided to build a Mausoleum by the Kremlin wall. The project was carried out by architect A. Shchusev. By January 27, 1924 a temporary Mausoleum was erected. It was a cube, crowned with three-level pyramid. In spring of the same year it was replaced by another temporary Mausoleum, also wooden.

 

The modern stone Mausoleum was constructed in 1930, also designed by A. Shchusev. It is a grand scale building tiled with dark-red granite, porphyry and black labradorite. Red and black shades give the Mausoleum distinct and sad austerity. Over the entrance, on black labradorite the name "Lenin" is inscribed in red porphyry. At the same time at both sides of the building along the Kremlin wall guest tribunes for 10 thousand people were constructed.

 

BOLSHOI THEATRE

 

 The foundation of Bolshoi Theatre traditionally dates back to the 6th of January of 1825, when a fine classical building with 8-columned portico crowned by the carriage of Apollon appeared in the Theatre's Square. The new theatre is considered to be the second largest of Europe after the famous "La Scala" Theatre of Milan. However, the theatrical company had already existed for a half of century. And in honor of the inauguration of the theatre this company performed "The triumph of Muses".

 

The company was created by a province public prosecutor Petr Vasilievich Ursov in 1772. Later the company was headed by his partner energetic and enterprising Englishman Michael Medox. Thanks to him on the abandoned ground regularly flooded by Neglinka river the new theatre was built. The second half of the 19th century is a period of national originality of Russian Art and Moscow Theatre. The creative activity of such composers and directors as Alexis Verstovsky and Alexander Varlamov contributed to the unusual raising of the theatre. They formed Russian Opera repertoire. The most favorite operas of that time were works by Michael Glinka "The Life for the Czar" and "Ruslan and Lioudmila", which could survive and win the italianomania tendency of that time. And till now traditionally every Theatre season begins one of the operas of Glinka.

 

As for the Ballet the performances based on Russian themes were replaced by Western romantic themes in the middle of the 19th century. "Sylphide", "Gizel", "Esmeralda" were performed in Russia very soon after premieres in Europe. In 1853 the building of the Theatre was badly damaged by fire. In May of 1855 the construction works based on the sketch of the architect Albert Cavos began. And already in August of 1856 the inauguration of the new theatre was celebrated by the premiere of the opera Bellini. The Italian performance was symbolic, because the real holder of the Bolshoi Theatre became Merelli who brought from Italy a very gifted theatrical company. Russian public admired the Italian troupe very much.

 

The season usually began in September and lasted till the end of May (as now). However, the performances used to be presented twice a week. And only in the middle of the winter when all the nobility came back to Moscow, the operas and ballets were put on the stage more often. That was also a time of masked balls. Today the ballet and opera fans attend the theatre every night. The radical turn of the tastes of public happened in 1870, when gradually appeared the Russian operas "Demon" by Rubenstein (1881), "Eugeny Onegin" by Chaikovsky (1881), "Boris Godunov" by Mysorgsky (1888), "The Prince Igor" by Borodin (1893) and other. In 1899 Fedor Shaliapin, great Russian singer, became a member of the company. Great Russian Opera Theatres are not only musical cultural centers, but also academies of professional acting technique. Trainees' group of Bolshoi Theatre is still existing to crown the joy of young singers, conductors, directors, leaders of a chorus.

 

It is situated on two territories, separated from each other by several city districts. It gives the opportunity to represent the whole history of Russian art from the ancient period to our contemporaries. Besides, the structure of the Tretyakov Gallery includes memorial museums: A. Vasnetsov's flat, V. Vasnetsov's

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