Ice, Vodka, and Russian History (Part 2)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The next day, we headed down to Red Square by the Kremlin to check out St. Basil’s Cathedral and the State History Museum. We started on the west side of the square, where the history museum stands. It’s a very impressive brickwork building, with walls covered in little ledges and embellishments.

We walked across the square, and stopped to marvel at the tackiness of the GUM skating rink in front of the upscale GUM department store.

Finally, we made it to St. Basil’s. The outside is iconic, with colorful onion domes and spires. What I wasn’t expecting, though, was the inside to be a twisty little maze of passages all different. Unlike St. Isaac’s in St. Petersburg, St. Basil’s cathedral had little separate spaces for worship under each of the towers, and the towers themselves were open all the way to the top. Unfortunately, we don’t have any pictures of the insides, so you’ll just have to imagine for yourself the narrow tower interiors, the bases covered with painted religious icons up to about the second story, and the spiral of the domes visible four or five floors above you.

An ice sculpture of St. Basil's

Looking up at the back of the cathedral

We left St. Basil’s and retraced our steps across the square, into the State History Museum. This Museum was presented by the Tsar to the people in the late 1800s, and covers Russia’s history from prehistoric times until then. We saw preserved mammoth tusks, hanging over a well preserved double grave of two Neolithic teens.

Medieval weaponry from the time of the invasion of the Mongol hordes.

A strange silver chicken pot thing

Well preserved outfits of both peasants and nobles from the 19th century

At that point, we were both pretty beat, and ready for a day of relaxing and recuperating on the train. We headed back to the hostel where we’d left our bags, and hung out for a bit until our 9:30 train set off for Yekaterineburg.


Nellie Pennington said...

Do you remember working on the 3D puzzle of St. Basil's??

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