On my second day in Moscow, I started early in order to see Lenin's Mausoleum, which was only open for 3 hours and featured long lines. After that, I would see the State Historical Museum, St. Basil's Cathedral, Kitay Gorod, and the Pushkin Museum. Busy day - here are the photos:
This was near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, outside of Red Square. After taking this photo, I got into line for Lenin's Mausoleum, and had to check my camera. Many images of Lenin's chemically preserved body are online, but there aren't as many images of the devilish interior of the mausoleum = this is a good one.
Once I got my camera back, I went for a walk in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis, which is exactly what it sounds like = graves of famous Soviets buried or interred in or at the foot of the Kremlin Wall. These include Josef Stalin (who was previously preserved inside Lenin's Mausoleum), Felix Dzerzhinsky, Yuri Gagarin, and even American (but Communist) journalist John Reed. You can't bring your camera to the necropolis (which is behind Lenin's Mausoleum), so this pixelated zoom photo was the best I could get.
Lenin's Mausoleum, which is surprisingly squat (the Kremlin looms behind it).
St. Basil's Cathedral
The Monument to Minin and Pozharsky, in front of St. Basil's. This statue used to be in the center of Red Square, until the communists decided it got in the way of their parades.
I doubled back and entered the State Historical Museum on the opposite end of Red Square. There wasn't any English labeling inside the museum, so I just had to content myself with guessing at the importance of each item (when I couldn't translate the Russian, which was often). This is the ceiling inside the museum, featuring saints, judging by the halos.
Towards the entrance (ancient pre-Russian artifacts).
This was a door to a church, I believe.
One of many icons inside the museum.
Not sure what sacramental role this played, but it had religious significance.
Important (royal?) carriage.
Towards the end of my time in the museum.
Exterior of the State Historical Museum with the Nikolskaya Tower of the Kremlin.
Kazan Cathedral, to the side of the State Historical Museum.
Time for this ugly dude (note the Sharks t-shirt) to enter St. Basil's.
The interior of St. Basil's featured numerous chapels in a maze-like arrangement. It has to be seen to be believed.
Watch yer head...
We were treated to a brief concert.
The view from St. Basil's across Red Square was incredible.
GUM in the background.
The State Historical Museum.
Back to checking out St. Basil's (which is officially called the Cathedral of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos [Virgin Mary] on the Moat).
The exterior of St. Basil's, upon exiting.
Next, I walked around Kitay Gorod (which currently translates to "Chinatown" despite there being no Chinese presence - linguistically it is a mystery). My purpose was to see fine church / monastery architecture, like the Monastery of the Epiphany, seen here.
This is the oldest male monastery in all of Moscow (founded around the end of the 13th century, though the current building dates "only" to the end of the 17th century). A pity it was closed for repairs.
President Obama was in town at the same time I was, so there was a heavy police presence around lunchtime, when he was presumably meeting with dignitaries in Gostiny Dvor.
NONE SHALL PASS!
I think this is the Zaikonospassky Monastery, which was the only church I entered in Kitay Gorod.
The Church of the Trinity in Nikitniki, which was closed at the time.
I believe this is St. Barbara's Church.
The Church of St. Maxim.
I finished my loop back at St. Basil's, and decided that I still had energy. Off to the Pushkin Museum, down the river!
The Moskva (Moscow) River.
The Pushkin Museum, one of the greatest museums in the world.
I didn't take any photos of the information plaques, for some reason, so I won't put anything down unless I'm 100% sure of the artist or relevant information.
St. George and the Dragon
Either Persian or Assyrian.
A plaster replica of David.
There are 2 parts to the Pushkin Museum, both of which cost 300 rubles for foreigners (d'oh!). Once outside after seeing the first part, I couldn't help but notice one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world, the recently reconstructed Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
It's actually THE tallest Orthodox church in the world (and maybe even the biggest).
Fully satiated, I went to see if the church was open. Only a small portion of it was, which I explored. I'd leave the main part for a later visit.
The recently completed (2005) Monument to Alexander II, next to the Cathedral.
Looking back towards the Kremlin.
The cathedral is an issue of local controversy, given its expense, size, and ultra-prominent location.
Day 3 is up next. Stay tuned.