Saturday, May 24, 2014

Moscow Kremlin - Museums and Cathedrals

Barrett had the great idea to go to the Kremlin today. On Saturday they always have some kind of performance.  We were up early to address the apartments internet failure by going next door to the internet cafe for breakfast. I had the equivalents of a smoothie.  Barrett had preferred her own yogurt concoction in the apartment but we both enjoyed internet access in the cafe.  No bags are allowed in the Kremlin so I dropped off the computer before we walked together the few blocks from apartment to Kremlin.  It was a beautiful sunny day with lots of people out to enjoy the weekend.  Security check was like the airport with emptying of pockets and going with scanners.  Shoes didn’t have to be removed but I did get the magical wand in addition to the full body scan routine.  With that we were through.
The Kremlin is so big that despite all the people there for Saturday it didn’t seem at all crowded.  The Patriarch’s Palace was the first church we explored. Apparently Patriach Nikon  (1652 to 1666) was a reformer who alienated some causing schism and the “Old Believer” Movement. He had to be deposed by Alexis I as a result. This private church of the Russian patriarchs was in 1681 dedicated to the Synaxis of the Twelve Appostles by Patriarch Joachim.  A couple of pages of glossy pictures in a a half dozen major languages was available for free.  In addition each exhibit had cards names and giving some pertinent information about them in several major languages, one of which was English.  Sacerdotal robes, golden ornaments, icons.  No photography allowed. A quiet and appealing place, with the watchful female attendant sitting at the door as in all the other churches and museums. The was all the museum of applied art and everyday life of 17th Century Russia.
Next we walked through the Annunciation Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. This was chalk full of some of the most famous and valuable icons. .  The foundation for the cathedral was laid in 1484.  One icon showing Jonah being swallowed by a big fish or whale didn’t show just any fish or whale but what looked to be a very large Russian sturgeon. The next we walked through was the Archangel Church which was built in 1500 on the foundation of a 1300 wooden church.  In addition to icons the church had many tombs present.
After the cathedrals we joined the crowds surrounding the square. A superb military marching band, the best I’ve ever heard, came into the square playing the most uplifting music.  They were followed by soldiers who mastery of marching and rifle handing was amazing. Then came the calvary who performed synchronized maneuvers like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  Very impressive and obviously the well trained horses were delighted to be showing off their mastery to their riders delight.  It was all very entertaining a most impressive procession. All of this was done against  the most extraordinary backdrop of great ancient churches with gold onion domes and crosses.   What a privilege to have been here for this.
Then Barrett and I took pictures of each other in front of the 200 ton Tsar Bell (1733 to 1735) and the 40 ton Tsar Cannon (1586).  We could have gone to the armoury but chose not to, the Cathedrals and Museums enough for one day with the great military show more than enough.  It was a really hot day.

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