Moscow--August 5, 2005--Armoury, Kremlin, Pushkin Museum
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This morning we entered the Kremlin first and then were off to the Armoury, the repository of Russia's crown jewels, carriages, Fabergé eggs and other priceless artifacts. We saw Catherine the Great's coronation dress (28), the Diamond Throne (29) containing 900 diamonds, various jeweled crowns (31-32), and a unique double throne (33). A magnificent collection of carriages followed (34-37). The next room contained a few more royal garments and then we entered a hall containing weapons (43), a huge collection of silver (44-46), battle garments (47), a jeweled Bible cover (48) and crowns (49) followed by the famous Fabergé eggs (50-51). All in all, it was a dazzling collection of items.
From the Armoury, we walked outside to explore the grounds of the Kremlin (53-81). The Kremlin has the offices of the Russian President Putin (although he lives elsewhere) and a large part of his administration. Because of security, about half of it is off-limits. A large number of churches, museums and administrative buildings are within the Kremlin's walls. Therein is the Cathedral of the Assumption (56-60), considered the most important church in Moscow. We did not visit its interior but did enter the Cathedral of the Archangel (61-67) which contains the tomb of Dmitry, the son of Ivan the Terrible who was murdered in 1591 (see the August 2 commentary).
Later, we visited the Tsar Bell (70), the largest in the world. It has an eleven ton broken section, severed when cold water was dumped on the bell during a fire. The bell has never sounded. A similar oddity is the Tsar Cannon (75), cast in 1586. It weighs 40 tons and has never been fired (one of its cannon balls weighs one ton).
Other buildings shown include the Senate Palace (72) where President Putin has his office (he was in town by virtue of the flag displayed in photo 74). Photos 76-77 and 80 show Trinity Tower which Napoleon triumphantly rode through in 1812 only to find Moscow abandoned. Photo 78 shows the State Kremlin Palace, originally built for Communist Party congresses but now used for cultural events. The building's architectural style seems oddly out of place within the Kremlin.
We then boarded the bus and headed to a park for a quick lunch. Along the way, we passed the Russian State Library (81) which has 40 million books, periodicals and other items. After lunch, we visited the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (82-89) which is especially strong in French Impressionism paintings, although the museum is considerably smaller than the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Among paintings viewed were works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Matisse, Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh.
Afterwards, we had a few extra minutes so we went across the street to go inside the Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer (90), a church we had previously seen only from the outside. It is a gorgeous, huge space inside--the biggest in all of Moscow.
From there, it was back on the bus for the ride back to the ship, our last night aboard. A couple of parting photos of the ship (92-93) complete the photographic record of the trip.
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