Monday, August 26, 2013

Moscow - St Basil's Cathedral

One Landmark in Moscow that stands out for its beauty and grandeur is St Basil's Cathedral, better known as the Cathedral of St Vasily.
St. Basils Cathedral
The building is shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising into the sky and contains 8 churches built around a central one. Also known as The Cathedral of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God upon the Moat, it was built in 1552 by Czar Ivan the Terrible. When built the cathedral was to epitomize the image of the Holy City of Jerusalem as a result of which, its nine churches which were consecrated in memory of major events of the Kazan campaign of Czar Ivan were built on a single foundation.
 

 
 The cathedral is now a museum though one service a year is held on the day of Intercession in October. The church has been a part of the Kremlin and Red Square UNESCO Heritage Site since 1990.
With Anita in front of St Basil's Cathedral on our vacation in August 2013.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Eating out in Moscow - Cafe Margarita



Musicians at Cafe Margarita
By the side of the picturesque Patriarch’s Prudy is an interesting café offering funky fare along with live gypsy and jazz music. This dark cosy single room café has been an attraction for both tourists and locals alike  for the last 20 years . 

Enjoying the Evening
This is a great place to come and listen to Russian classical and folk music played by trained musicians (both pros and students ). Though the food is basic and a bit overpriced, it really does not matter as most people come here to hear the musicians who play every night creating a wonderful atmosphere. There is a charge of 100R for the music.

Cafe Margaria
 Visited Cafe Margarita in August 2013.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sergiev Posad - Golden Ring Town

Visitors to Moscow have to include a visit to The Golden Ring towns which are located in the Northeast of Moscow to get a feel of ancient Russia. These ancient towns ( eight in number ) played a significant role in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church.  These towns are among the most picturesque in Russia and prominently feature the onion shaped domes in their churches and monastries.
75 kms to the north of Moscow lies the town of Sergiev Posad - one of the Golden Ring Towns. Located in the city is the Holy Trinity Lavra ( Monastery of the Holy Trinity).

Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

Inside the monastery is the Trinity Cathedral which is the most important church on the site and where the remains of St Sergius lie. This is a white building with golden domes and was constructed in 1422.

   
The Holy Trinity Cathedral in the Monastery

Shrine over the Spring

On the right of the cathedral is the 'Shrine over the Spring' which was built when a spring of water sprang in the 17th century during repairs of the cathedral. The water is believed to have the power to heal the sick.  The water comes out of a cross shaped fountain that is covered with a colourful canopy.
Shrine over the Spring
Cross from where the Holy Water Flows
The Gateway Church of the Nativity of St  John the Baptist 

The Church was constructed between 1693 – 1699 over one of  the gates.  It displays the characteristic features of "Stroganov buildings" in intricate details and free treatment of classical forms. The lower part is cut by a gate arch. On both sides of the arch are staircases leading to the upper part with the cube of the Church surrounded by a gallery.
Church of the Nativity of St John the Baptist

Fresco on the Gate

Unfortunately, we could not see and admire the Holy Trinity Larva in all its beauty as the monastery is undergoing renovations for the 700th anniversary of St Sergius which will be celebrated in 2014. Iconic structures like the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Bell Tower etc were wrapped under canopies for repair work.
 
An interesting Russian Orthodox Church near the town of Sergiev Posad
Domes of a Russian Orthodox Church
Getting there: 
There are a number of options to visit Sergiev Posad from Moscow. There are trains every half hour from Yaroslavi Station and take about an hour and a half to reach. Trains start from 5 AM from Moscow and the last return train is at midnight. Buses leave every 15 minutes and take about 2 hours. Another option is to take a guided tour which of course is much more expensive.

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