A Travellerspoint blog

Moscow - Part VI - Alexander Garden / Aleksandrovskiy Sad

A place to relax

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While walking around the outside of the Kremlin I stumbled upon this park which abuts the Kremlin. It contained some very nice areas including lawn, gardens, statues and fountains - obviously very popular with both the locals and tourists. It also provided some good views across to the Kremlin.IMG_20190729_172725.jpgIMG_20190729_173146.jpgIMG_20190729_172909.jpgIMG_20190729_174417.jpgIMG_20190729_173437.jpgIMG_20190729_173358.jpgIMG_20190729_174331.jpgIMG_20190729_170324.jpgIMG_20190729_174028.jpgIMG_20190729_171346.jpgIMG_20190729_173023.jpgIMG_20190729_172544.jpgIMG_20190729_173030.jpgIMG_20190729_173027.jpgIMG_20190729_171339.jpgIMG_20190729_174452.jpgIMG_20190729_171349.jpgIMG_20190729_172157.jpgIMG_20190729_174054.jpg

Wikipedia says: Alexander Gardens was one of the first urban public parks in Moscow, Russia. The park comprises three separate gardens, which stretch along all the length of the western Kremlin wall for 865 metres (2,838 ft) between the building of the Moscow Manege and the Kremlin.

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Moscow - Part V - The Kremlin

Now this is an address!

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The Moscow Kremlin certainly has a presence. With its high red brick walls and towers taking a dominant position over Red Square.

From Wikipedia: The Moscow Kremlin, or simply the Kremlin, is a fortified complex in the center of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River to the south, Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square to the east, and the Alexander Garden to the west. It is the best known of the kremlins (Russian citadels) and includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. In addition, within this complex is the Grand Kremlin Palace that was formerly the Tsar's Moscow residence. The complex now serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation and as a museum with 2,746,405 visitors in 2017.

The name "Kremlin" means "fortress inside a city", and is often also used metonymically to refer to the government of the Russian Federation in a similar sense to how "White House" refers to the Executive Office of the President of the United States. It previously referred to the government of the Soviet Union (1922–1991) and its highest members (such as general secretaries, premiers, presidents, ministers, and commissars). The term "Kremlinology" refers to the study of Soviet and Russian politics.

As I lacked the time to be able to do an inside tour I decided to simply walk the just over 2.2kms around the exterior and followed the Kremlin Wall.

From Wikipedia: With an outer perimeter of 2,235 metres (7,333 ft), the Kremlin appears as a loose triangle, deviating from the geometric ideal on the southern side where instead of a straight line, it repeats the contours on the original hill on which the Kremlin rests. Because of this the vertical profile is by no means uniform, and the height at some places ranges from no more than 5 metres (16 ft) quadrupling to 19 metres (62 ft) elsewhere.[citation needed] The thickness of the walls also varies from 3.5 to 6.5 metres (11 to 21 ft).]

The top of the walls, along their entire length, have outwardly-invisible battle platforms which also range from 2 to 4.5 metres (6 ft 7 in to 14 ft 9 in) in width (in proportion to the thickness). A total of 1,045 double-horned notched "teeth" crown the top of the walls, with a height ranging from 2 to 2.5 metres (6 ft 7 in to 8 ft 2 in) and thickness from 65 to 75 centimetres (26 to 30 in).[10]

Below are some shots taken on my walk.


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Moscow - Part IV - Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed

St Basil's Cathedral

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It would be hard to say which is the foremost symbol of red square the towering Kremlin Walls and its towers or the almost, and I mean almost, fairy tale looking St Basil's Cathedral - there is just something about that too me is almost sinister.

Courtesy of Wikipedia: The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed commonly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral, is a church in Red Square in Moscow, Russia and is one of the most recognizable symbols of the country. The building, now a museum, is officially known as the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat or Pokrovsky Cathedral. It was built from 1555 to 1561 on orders from Ivan the Terrible and commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. It was the city's tallest building until the completion of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in 1600. The Saint Basil's Cathedral is not to be confused with the Moscow Kremlin.

The original building, known as Trinity Church and later Trinity Cathedral, contained eight churches arranged around a ninth, central church of Intercession; a tenth church was erected in 1588 over the grave of venerated local saint Vasily (Basil). In the 16th and 17th centuries, the church, perceived (as with all churches in Byzantine Christianity) as the earthly symbol of the Heavenly City, was popularly known as the "Jerusalem" and served as an allegory of the Jerusalem Temple in the annual Palm Sunday parade attended by the Patriarch of Moscow and the Tsar.

The building is shaped like the flame of a bonfire rising into the sky, a design that has no parallel in Russian architecture. Dmitry Shvidkovsky, in his book Russian Architecture and the West, states that "it is like no other Russian building. Nothing similar can be found in the entire millennium of Byzantine tradition from the fifth to the fifteenth century ... a strangeness that astonishes by its unexpectedness, complexity and dazzling interleaving of the manifold details of its design." The cathedral foreshadowed the climax of Russian national architecture in the 17th century.

As part of the program of state atheism, the church was confiscated from the Russian Orthodox community as part of the Soviet Union's anti-theist campaigns and has operated as a division of the State Historical Museum since 1928. It was completely secularized in 1929 and remains a federal property of the Russian Federation. The church has been part of the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. It is not actually within the Kremlin, but often served as a visual metonym for Russia and the USSR in western media throughout the Cold War and to the modern day. Since 1997 weekly orthodox christian services with prayer to St. Basil restored in St. Basil church.


A couple of interesting things I was told are:
- Cathedrals were redesignated as Museums doing the early days of the Soviet era to protect them from demolition;
- Basil was originally perceived as a madman as he roamed Moscow stark naked. It was only after he started performing miracles by healing people and making prophesies such as one where he saw Nizhny Novgorod burning which subsequently happened that he became revered.

So along with Julia and Marsha I purchased a ticket and entered the maze that is St Basil's Cathedral via it's "crypts". Below are some photos from these areas:


The first floor was very intriguing with the central church and surrounding churches. There were a number of very old idols on display and the centre church alter and a couple of others were still in place.


Finally I'm not into this kind of music but a group of male singers, Doros Male Vocal Ensemble, were performing while we were in the building and the acoustics made it quite soul stirring. We sat and watched them perform a number which you can view here

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Moscow - Part III - Red Square

A truly special place

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With Steve ending up in Hospital for a few days and my spending time running backwards and forwards from the hotel to the hospital (meals on wheels!) the time available to sight see was somewhat curtailed. I did however managed to grab time to have a quick trip to Red Square, St Basil's and the Kremlin (outside only unfortunately as tours were all booked up). First up Red Square. As I said to Carolyn there are some places that quite simply blow me away / leave you in awe, Venice is one, as are Uluru, the Vatican (and I'm not Catholic or by any means religious), Athens and Rome. Red Square is another one, to stand there bathing in it's history touched my soul just like the other places I mentioned. I will be back, with Carolyn, as it truly is a "special place".

Words can't do it justice so ...


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Moscow - Part II - Hospital

Steve gets checked into the Moscow Hilton!

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When he landed in Vladivostok over a month ago Steve had noticed his feet were very swollen. As the trip progressed and with him ignoring suggestions from all of us that he really needed to see a Doctor he finally got to the stage where he decided something needed to be done (he was struggling to walk, his legs were aching, his calves were tight as a drum AND he hadn't been able to do up his boots for weeks!).

After trying diuretics for a day or so he finally caved and agreed to see a doctor. So with the help of our trustee van "driver" Julia an appointment was made for Steve to go to a private clinic and see the Doctor. Doctor examined him and immediately sent him to their ultrasound clinic that was open (it was Saturday). Wow what a place, no waiting, very modern, very efficient - he was booked in for 2 x 20minute scans (1 on each leg).


After 1.5 hours they diagnosed DVT, two clots 4.0 and 4.5cm in veins deep in right calf below the knee on the back side of the leg. No discussion. Ambulance called. All up cost around NZD125.

Another scan at the admissions area in a Moscow public hospital, aka the Moscow Hilton, confirms the diagnosis and he's admitted Sunday evening to the vascular unit.


The hospital in question is fenced like fort knox and consists of 10 different medical buildings spread over quite and area so I take photos to ensure I can find my way back to the building the first couple of times.


So he gets waited on hand and foot (not), served meals worthy of a Michelin star, if they were issued for pig food, and has all the treats of home (not). In fact the food was inedible, there was no toilet paper, soap or towels and not much to drink. So for the next couple of days my routine was running food in morning and night to stop him losing his finely toned physique.


They are so strict on closing that everything is locked up when I head down the first night 5 minutes late and I have to wander the halls to fine a security guard to let me out. The next night Julia and I were nearly 15 minutes late, the security guard turned up in the ward to tell us off. Then when we left the lift wouldn't go lower than the second floor so we again met the security guard, this time on the stairs, and he let us out. I bet he celebrated when Steve was discharged as the westerners were unmanageable!

Two days later, another scan and they decide it is not DVT but severe intramuscular haematoma. Huge relief. HUGE for all of us and he is discharged (albeit he has to wait a couple of hours as the person with the required stamp is elsewhere) - what do you expect - IT'S RUSSIA.


P.S. What do you think of the cool foot wear we were forced to wear?


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