Fri, Jun 4 (Day 11): A Day in Moscow

On our first day our sightseeing tour features such highlights as St. Basil’s domed cathedral, Red Square and a visit to the Kremlin. Then during your time at leisure in Moscow perhaps take an optional excursion to visit the Tsar’s Treasury Chamber or maybe the St. Sergius Monastery and handicraft market? During your stay in Moscow, your Tour Director will also share with you a Hidden Treasure of this fascinating city. Tonight maybe enjoy an evening at the exciting Moscow State Circus! (Buffet breakfast / Buffet breakfast)

Normally, our breakfasts are normally great; but this morning, they served a sausage that, as Bill described, "tasted like we were eating someone's stinky feet."
Linda stands by a very large statue of Peter the Great on a ship. The artist who designed this was also recently awarded the contract for creating a memorial at the 911 site in New York.
Moscow has its share of fine architecture, but to me the buildings mostly say "large and powerful," while the buildings in St. Petersburg say "royalty and opulence."
Sorry, I can't remember what this building/church is. We've seen so many, it get a little tedious at some point.
This is a nunnery into which one of the czars (Peter the Great?) put his first wife after tiring of her. I must apologize for the tourists always getting in the way of our picture-taking.
Bill, posing in Red Square.
Linda stands by Lenin's tomb. Our guide says they have decided to remove his preserved corpse from this tomb and bury it in his home city (which was his wish, according to his will). Other leaders, who are buried in the wall behind this tomb, will also be relocated to their home cities. It's just a matter of funding at this point, so the move is delayed until the economy picks up.
At the other end of Red Square is the Intercession Cathedral, St. Basil's. With the revolution, most churches were closed (and priests killed or exiled). Our guide says there has been a renewal of active faith since the break-up of the Soviet Union, with many church properties returned. But as we look across the landscape, it appears that the majority of churches are still vacant and unrestored, probably due to cost.
This circular platform is where they used to perform executions for public consumption.
People toss coins onto the floor of the platform. There also appears a red tint to the floor, which matches its historical use.
One of 20 towers surrounding the Kremlin. The star at the top rotates.
This is a bride celebrating her wedding at Red Square. She is blowing bubbles. Click here to see her in action.
This is a large shopping mall at the side of Red Square.
Inside the shopping mall. This hallway is busy, but the other two hallways are almost vacant. I think the rent is high, and the stores charge much higher prices than stores in other locations. However, we really appreciated the air conditioning in the Sony store.
Resting at the mall (rather than spending money).
Inside the Kremlin. At first, I was interested in this canon. Then I noticed all the smaller canons near the ground. These were among several hundred canons the russians retrieved from Napoleon, as he withdrew in defeat from Russia in the early 1800s.
Russians seem to like building large things. Our guide says they are like Texans. I'm not sure she knows that many people would not consider this a compliment. This canon, though impressive in size, was never used.
This was also never used. A large bell, that was completed and in the process of cooling when a fire broke out in the building. They threw water on the building, which put out the fire, but also crack off this piece of the bell.
This is a tower that has a working set of bells, operated on religeous holidays.
This is the museum inside the Kremlin where they display the crown jewels, armor, dress, and jeweled eggs.They did not allow us to take pictures of these things. Sorry for the lack of pictures, because these items really portray the pagentry of royalty. In quantity, I would say the Kremlin display surpasses the Crown Jewels in London, but I give London the upper hand for quality (except for the jeweled eggs).
Closer detail of the artwork on the museum columns.