Monuments & Landmarks, Moscow
My random wanderings took me down through the beautifully-tended, tree-lined gardens which run through the centre of the busy Tverskoy Boulevard. A rather attractive red-headed lady caught my eye and so I subtly positioned myself to take a discreet photo.
In the background is a statue of a guy called Sergei Esenini, or Yesenin as he is also known. At the time I had no idea who he was, but sufficiently intrigued I've since done a bit of research.
It turns out that Sergei is a famous Russian poet, born in the village of Konstantinovo in 1895. Although from a peasant family he somehow managed to get an education and at age 17 moved to Moscow to enrol in the State University as an external student, supporting himself by getting a job as a proofreader.
Being literate in those days was unusual for a young man from a peasant background and it seems that not only was he literate, but that he had a prodigious command of language. His early poetry, inspired by Russian folklore, brought him to the attention of the influential St Petersburg writers circle.
In 1915 he went to the capital city, as St Petersburg was at the time, and was taken under the wing of the established poet Alexander Blok, along with such luminaries as Sergei Gorodetskij, Nikolai Klujev and Andrej Beli.
His first published book of poetry, Radunitsa - the Orthodox "Day of Rejoicing", was a popular success and his subsequent works which focused on simple imagery and emotions established him as something akin to a modern-day "pop-star".
His life-style too was somewhat "pop-starrish". He was known for his mood swings, often fuelled by heavy-drinking, and had a reputation for creating public mayhem in restaurants and trashing hotel rooms. He married 5 times, including a tempestuous relationship with the pro-Communist, American dancer Isadora Duncan who, it seems, he never divorced before marrying the actress Augustina Miklashevskaja. He fathered several children, legitimate and otherwise, and despite the efforts of his last wife, a grand-daughter of Leo Tolstoy, Sophia Tolstaja his final years were marred by his excessive vices and bouts of depression.
He died, aged 30, in a room at St Petersburg's Hotel Angleterre, ostensibly by hanging himself but conspiracy-theorists suggest that his suicide was faked by the political police force, the NKVD, because of his publically-published anti-Soviet views.
Whatever the circumstances he was given a state funeral procession in St Petersburg before his body was taken to Moscow and another state occasion saw him interred in the Vagankovskoye Cemetery.
During the Stalin and Kruschev eras publication of Esenini's poetry was banned but after 1966 the censorship was lifted and these days his work is taught as part of most Russian schools literature courses.
His final poem, written in the Angleterre hotel room is "Goodbye My Friend":
До свиданья, друг мой, до свиданья.
Милый мой, ты у меня в груди.
Обещает встречу впереди.
До свиданья, друг мой, без руки, без слова,
Не грусти и не печаль бровей,-
В этой жизни умирать не ново,
Но и жить, конечно, не новей.
Goodbye, my friend, goodbye
My love, you are in my heart.
It was preordained we should part
And be reunited by and by.
Goodbye: no handshake to endure.
Let's have no sadness — furrowed brow.
There's nothing new in dying now
Though living is no newer.
Another eye-catching piece of street art during my random wanderings was this fountain at Nikitskiy Vorot with its golden cupola sheltering a romantic-looking couple. As is always the case with such random sightseeing I had no idea at the time what it was all about but it definitely required taking a photo and doing some post-trip research.
It turns out that this is quite a recent monument which was built in 1999 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the poet Alexander Pushkin's birth. It also celebrates the marriage of Pushkin to the beautiful Natalya Goncharova in 1831 which was held at the Great Ascension Church opposite.
Interestingly this is one of the few Moscow fountains where the water is drinkable.
Vysoko-Petrovsky Monastery was founded in 1380 in the village of Vysokoye by Prince Dmitry Donskoi after his return from the Battle of Kulikovo.
This site was once occupied by the ancient Bogolubskaya Church of Ivan Kalita. It is said that when the Muscovite Prince Ivan Kalita passed this place, he suddenly saw a high mountain covered with snow which all of a sudden melted away, and then the mountain also disappeared. He described this vision to Metropolitan Pyotr a few days before his death.
The Metropolitan explained that the high mountain was the Prince, and the snow was the humble Metropolitan who should take leave of this world before Kalita.
To make a memorial to this miraculous vision Kalita built the Church of the Bogolyubskaya Icon to the Mother of God, which later became the main church of Visoko-Petrovsky Monastery.
The monastery came under the patronage of a boyar family, the Naryshkins, and in particular Natalia Naryshkina Peter's the Great mother.
In 1812 the convent was ransacked by the French, and in Bogolubskaya Church Marshal Mortie sentenced some local people to death for setting fires.
Do you know where in Moscow metro you can find integliated words from Soviet (so called Stalin’s) Hymn :
“Through Days dark and stormy where Great Lenin Lead us
Our Eyes saw the Bright Sun of Freedom above
and Stalin our Leader with Faith in the People,
Inspired us to Build up the Land that we Love.” ?
The Answer is simple – Kurskaya (Ring line), Sun of the Victory Hall .
After XXII meeting of Communist party of Soviet Union in 1961, where Stalin’s personal cult was blamed, the last 2 lines of Hymn were removed from the wall, where they were since station openings on 1 January 1950/
During recent restoration in 2008-2009 the lines were reconstructed and Ground pavilion has received its genuine historical view … except Stalins’ monument, which took away irreversibly.
Renewed Ground pavilion of the Kurskaya station looks very lovely and definitely must to be seen during you visit to Moscow.
Our industrious Mayor Luzhkov swept the city’s streets for an extra rouble when he was a student – or so he says.
The statue will welcome you to The Museum of Modern Art at 25 Petrovka, and you don’t even have to pay the entrance fee.
No he is former mayor, and chances are the statue is no longer there.
The last Lenin Statue which was erected in Moscow in 1985 can be found on Oktyabrskaya ploshchad (October Square).
The statue was built by the sculptor Lev Kerbel and symbolizes the multinational nature of the 1917 October Revolution.
The square Oktyabrskaya ploshchad, where the last Lenin Statue stands, is dominated by urban grey apartment blocks from Soviet times. Moscow's longest street, Leninskiy prospect, begins at Oktyabrskaya ploshchad. The nearest Metro stop is Oktyabrskaya.
Just came across a gallery of landmark photos – 19th – 20th century compared with how it looks today (if there is anything left to look at, which is not always the case)
Hotel Moscow in Brezhnev's time, 1976 - in the middle,
How the place looked in 1899 - above,
The same hotel suffering the market economy reconstruction - 2008
In Russian only – so far
Up to last decade Moscow State University was the tallest building in Moscow - 240 m. But...
A couple of years ago construction of one more vysotka was completed near metro Sokol. This is block of elite flats called "Triumph-Palace". The 57-story building, containing about 1,000 luxury apartments, was topped out on December 20, 2003, making it Europe's tallest building at 264.1 metres (866 ft) until the inauguration in 2007 of Moscow's 268 metre Naberezhnaya Tower block C. Both with MSU are in top 15 tallest buildings of the world.
Sorry, I have not jet taken a photo of it. This is a photo and the scale model from internet.
This building will last, I hope.
It was turned to the French in 1942 and still houses their defence attache's office. A lovely little piece the 'fairy-tale' style of the turn of the century, architect Lev Kekushev, designer Viktor Vasnetsov. You can google both names, they popular far and wide. Maybe you will not see the white memorial plate at the entrance with the 42 names, but it is there. There is a florist's shop on the cathedral square.
The directions are simple: head to the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, stand at the river and turn back.
Gostiniy Dvor is a sort of old-time bazaar, although it should not be thought of as a flea market. Foreign merchants would come to Moscow and set up their own national markets, hawking wares from their home countries to Russian buyers. As one of the functions of government, the Tsarist régime set up Gostiniy Dvor as a large indoor marketplace at which all these foreign merchants, as well as Russian ones, could sell their goods. Today, Gostiniy Dvor still has some shops, as well as restaurants, but it has quite obviously lost its importance as a central commercial hub. We didn't go inside, as it appears that most shops are pretty expensive, but it is a building of historical interest that you will likely notice if you come along Varvarska from Kitay Gorod towards Red Square.
Aleksandr Sergeevich Griboyedov was an early 19th century poet, dramatist and diplomat who was born in Moscow but died in Tehran, presumably on mission for the Russian Crown. A monument commemorating his works and his service to his country can be found just opposite the Chistye Prudy metro station. In truth, it is not a spectacular piece of masonry or art, but it is a mighty handy landmark and something to inspect if you arrange meet someone at Chistye Prudy subway stop and they arrive late.
The Likhud Brothers (Ioannikos and Sofronios ?) were two Greek monks who took up residence in Moscow in the late 17th century and greatly added to the collection of theological and philosophical works that make up the Orthodox canon. In 2007, a monument to them was erected in Bogoyavlensky alley (south-east of Ploshchad Revolutsii), which descriptions of their accomplishments in both Russian and Greek. Interestingly enough, the monument is located in this out of the way spot because it stands in front of the Bogoyavlensky Monastery, a now-abandoned 13th century monastery that once housed the Vicary of the Metropolitan of Moscow. It was returned to the Church in 1991 for religious services, and it seemed that I believe that it may be open to the public. Even if you don't get a chance to go inside, the now restored Monastery has some exquisite icons on its exterior, visible from the other side of the alley.
Abai Qunanbayuli, or Kunanbaev (according to the Russian transliteration), was a Kazakh composer, poet and reformist who sought to fuse European and Asian ideals and create a more liberal version of Islam. His progressive ideology made him the ideal rolemodel for the Soviet régime, and he has continued to be popular with the current Kazakh régime.
The monument to Qunanbayuli is in Chistye Prudy, and is the first clue to the visitor that this is perhaps Moscow's only ethnic enclave, the centre of the Kazakh community in the city. The Kazakh embassy is to the east of the park, and there are a number of Kazakh restaurants in this area. There is also an embassy that is attached to the embassy and that is a sort of cheap accomodation for lower-level Kazakh diplomats and other visitors. The actual monument to Qunanbayuli is an interesting little enclave within Chistye Prudy, with a few of his verses in Russian and Kazakh.
One of the fortified medieval monasteries that were built around Moscow to provide additional protection for the town.
Very quite and not so much visited monastery and cathedral, except for people going to the office. The central Transfiguration cathedral was built by the Romanov family and includes frescoes depicting the history of their family.
For more pictures you can see the travelogue Novospasski.
To get there, the metro station is Proletarskaya or Taganskaya, the address is Verkhny Novospasski proezd.
The Moscow triumphal arch, erected in wood in 1814 and in marble in 1827 to a design by Osip Bove, was relocated and reconstructed on Poklonnaya Gora in 1968.
A loghouse, where Kutuzov presided over the Fili conference which decided to surrender Moscow to the enemy, was designated a national monument. The huge panorama "Battle of Borodino" by Franz Roubaud (1910-12) was installed on Kutuzovski prospect (Kutuzov Avenue) in 1962. A monument to Kutuzov was opened in 1973.