No trip to Moscow would be complete without touring The Kremlin.
I don’t really know what I was expecting but the beauty of the complex left us speechless. Queues are long, as is only reasonable, and you can hear every language being spoken while waiting in line to buy tickets. Even so, it seemed like the great majority of the tourists were Russian nationals. It’s difficult to figure out which tickets to buy as some of the museums inside, such as the Armoury (Faberge eggs) and the Diamond Fund (Royal artifacts and jewels) are extras. We decided for the cheapest ones, partly to save on costs and partly because we just didn’t know if we were up for such a stock of historical information all at once.
As usual, Fernando struck up a conversation (in case you’re wondering: no she didn’t speak English and we still can’t speak Russian) with the lady in line behind us. She was from St. Petersburg and was touring The Kremlin for the second day in a row since she hadn’t had time to visit the complex the day before: she spent all of her time at the Armoury. The place is truly massive! We were lucky to have met her since she told us about the “Ceremonial of the Equestrian and Pedestrian Procession of the President Regiment” which happens only once a week, on Saturdays, exactly at noon; we wouldn’t have had a clue otherwise. If you’re getting the feeling that we don’t know what we’re doing, it’s because that is just so. Most signs are only in Cyrillic; not being able to understand really puts us at a disadvantage. It was 11:30am by the time we got our tickets and we hurried to big esplanade, Cathedral Square, called so because it is surrounded on all sides by cathedrals.
The Ceremonial is an awesome show.
It lasts a good half hour, if not longer, and ends up with a huge discharge which took us all by surprise and made me jump. We still can’t believe our luck. The building behind them is called the Faceted Chamber and on its sides are the Cathedral of the Annunciation and the Church of the Nativity.
After the show, we headed towards the Cathedral of the Assumption which is not only huge but so ornately decorated it leaves one without words. There is a humongous mural of the virgin and child over its entrance
On the other side of the square is the Cathedral of the Archangel and behind us the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. In its front courtyard, the huge Tsar Bell is exhibited. It weighs 202 tons and has never been used because during its foundry, a “small” (11 tons) chunk broke off, rendering it useless.
Next to it lies the Tsar Cannon: a small “shotgun” of 39tons.
Moscow has been a very nice suprise. We came here feeling apprehensive and not sure it was worth the trouble. We’re leaving it feeling that we would have liked to stay a bit longer.