Moscow--August 4, 2005--Tretiakov Gallery, Sergiev Posad, Moscow by Night


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We took a ride into Moscow this morning again passing one of the new skyscrapers (295) and admired the flower boxes (296), common on Moscow streets.  We arrived at the Tretiakov Gallery (297) early in the morning for a tour.  The Tretiakov houses Russian art exclusively and was a gift to Moscow from a wealthy merchant and art collector, Pavel Tretiakov, in 1892.  Besides viewing the high quality paintings, one can learn much about Russian history by partaking in a guided tour of the museum.


From the museum, we were off on a long ride to Sergiev Posad.  Along the way, we viewed the Ostankino Television Tower (304), the second tallest in the world and caught a glimpse of the titanium monument to Russian cosmonauts 305).


The Trinity Monastery at St. Sergius (Sergiev Posad) is 47 miles northeast of Moscow (307-333).  Although a trek, it was the most impressive monastery we visited in Russia.  Until 1988, it was the headquarters of the Russian Orthodox Church.  Peter the Great lived here for a time during the 1680s. Closed by the Communists in 1919, it reopened in 1946.  The grounds also contain the tomb of Boris Godunov.


Today, 300 monks (321, 325) live here in a very active and beautiful monastic community.  The grounds contain numerous churches including Trinity Cathedral (314), the Cathedral of the Assumption (316), and the Church of St. Sergius and Refectory (322-333).  The venue contained beautiful flowers (313) and even the butterflies were impressive (312).


Back at the ship around dinner, we relaxed a bit and then were off at 9:30 PM to see Moscow by night, viewing many of the same venues that we had seen the day before in the daytime.  At 9:30, it was not very dark in Moscow but the White House (334) and Novodevichiy Convent (335-337) were still beautiful.  Then we traversed up to Sparrow Hills again to look down on the city as darkness descended (339-340) and once again saw Moscow State University (338).


From there, we went to Victory Park, viewing the 466 foot tall Nike Monument to honor the Greek goddess of victory (341-346).  The fountains in the park are lit with red lights at night commemorating the blood of the soldiers who died in World War II.  The park was completed in 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war.


For our final stop, we motored back to Red Square (352-357), passing the National Hotel (353) along the way.  Upon entering the square, we tried a local custom where individuals stand on a spot, drop a coin and believe that wherever the coin lands is the direction they will travel to next.  In photo 355, the coined landed west of one of our cruise mates (355); she was off to Germany next so the legend held. Finally, we heard the bells toll at midnight, noted once again the beauty of St. Basil's Cathedral (357) and made our way back to the ship. 

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