Moscow, the capital and the largest city of Russia, is a city in which one comes face to face with all that is both the finest and most frustrating in Russia. More than anywhere else in the country, it is in Moscow where the Soviet past collides with the capitalist future.
The most striking aspect of the city today is not Moscow’s much-publicized embrace of Western culture but its self-assured revival of its own traditions. Ancient cathedrals are being restored and opened for religious services, innovative theatres are reclaiming leadership in the arts, and traditional markets are coming back to life. Moscow is once more assuming its position as the capital and mother city of the ancient state of Russia.
The Moscow Kremlin, usually referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow. It is the best known of kremlins (Russian citadels) and includes four palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. The complex serves as the official residence of the President of Russia. For centuries the Moscow Kremlin has been the witness of many famous and tragic events of Russian 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.
Red Square is the most famous city square in Moscow, and arguably one of the most famous in the world. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel, from a his toric merchant quarter known as Kitaygorod. As major streets of Moscow radiate from here in all directions, being promoted to major highways outside the city, Red Square is often considered the central square of Moscow and of all Russia. Delimited by the stark severity of the mausoleum, the expansive façade of the world-famous GUM department store, and the exuberant colors of St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square is, and deserves to be, the requisite fi rst stop for any visitor to Moscow.
CHRIST THE SAVIOR CATHEDRAL
Symbolizing Moscow’s awakening is the newly reconstructed Christ the Savior Cathedral, which Stalin’s regime demolished in 1931 along with countless other churches and monuments. Construction began on the new cathedral over two years ago, and crews have been working around the clock to complete it. Rising 103 meters above the city and glittering with gilded domes and crosses, the massive cathedral is a magnifi cent symbol of the largest construction boom in Moscow’s recent history. All over the city crews are renovating historical buildings, erecting new monuments and museums, and enriching the cityscape.