Moscow is the capital and largest city in Russia. The city has served as the capital from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom to the more recent Soviet Union. Moscow is considered the center of Russian culture with its large number of museums, academic institutions, and theatres. It is also the seat of power of the Russian Government located in the Moscow Kremlin where the Russian president resides. Moscow’s architecture is world-renowned, especially the onion domes of its cathedrals.
We stayed at the Ritz Carlton Moscow just off the Red Square. The hotel is very convenient to all the major attractions of the city. We spent our first day exploring the monuments at Red Square.
Red Square’s name is completely unrelated to the crimson color of its numerous buildings or the Communist Party’s association with the color red. Instead, from the 17th century, Russians began calling the square “Krasnaya Ploshad” derived from the work krasnyi which meant beautiful in Old Russian and later came to mean red. Red Square was an important marketplace and meeting place for centuries. It is home to some of the country’s most distinctive and important landmarks.
St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square is unlike any other Russian building. It is shaped as a flame of bonfire and combines layers of different architectural styles. It was ordered by Ivan the Terrible to mark the 1552 capture of Kazan from Mongol forces and was completed in 1560.
The Moscow Kremlin is a fortified complex overlooking the Moskva River. It is the best known of the kremlins (Russian citadels) and includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. The complex serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation.
Cathedral Square is the central square of the Moscow Kremlin and it owes its name to the three cathedrals facing it – Cathedral of the Dormition, Cathedral of the Archangel, and Cathedral of the Annunciation. The square is famous as the site of coronation and funeral processions of all the Russian tsars, patriarchs, and Grand Dukes of Moscow. Even today, the square is where the inauguration ceremony of the President of Russia takes place.
We went on to visit the Novodevichy Convent, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, and Victory Park as well as several art museums.