August 20, 2012

Moscow – The Kremlin

We’re in Moscow, at Red Square. We have been walking through Red Square, learning about the history and significance of this UNESCO world heritage area. The historic cathedrals, buildings, the names of things, quirky Russian stories, the somberness of the Eternal Flame and the joy of the gardens. Then our tour guide leads us to another area. Then pausing, for dramatic effect, with a big wave of his arm, he says “And over there, we have The Kremlin“. Wow… our large walking group gasps with awe and reverence, before a hush came over the group, and people look, drinking it in. No one is game to say a word. The noise around fades and time stands still. We are at THE Kremlin. The Kremlin in Moscow.

The main entrance to the Kremlin, Kutafya and Troitskaya Tower, Moscow Kremlin

Now is not the time to blurt out “So what’s the Kremlin?” I had no idea, but apparently it was famous (and still is). It was the fort built years ago to protect the city (ok, I still don’t really know, but i saw it…) This is where everyone finds out my education let me down. I didn’t learn Russian history at school ok! All we learnt about was the Egyptian stuff. And I had far better things to do than go home and learn about stuff in places that I was never going to visit… (hahahaha).

Truthfully, the introduction to the Kremlin probably didn’t happen like that (I couldn’t really hear the tour guide!). But I do know that I had no idea what the Kremlin was, and well, it’s really only thanks to a bit of inquisitivity on my part and google that I actually have any idea now.

So – I went into the Kremlin. We didn’t have a lot of time – it was even a last minute decision to visit after we missed out on tickets to the Armoury at the Kremlin. And, of course, not much was in English. The cathedrals inside had some sheets in English, but with limited time, we didn’t have time to take it all in.

Tsar Canon, Largest Canon in the world, Moscow Kremlin

One of the more interesting things I found out (afterwards) was that the Kremlin is home to the largest bell in the world (Tsar Bell) and the largest canon in the world (Tsar Canon). The bell has actually never been rung. While they were making it, a fire broke out. The wooden supports caught fire, so they put the fire out – as you do, which of course caused the bell to crack because it was still being cast.
The canon weighs nearly 38 tonnes and is over 5m in length. It’s never been fired, so why build it? Who knows, but I’m sure there was a point. If you’re trying to get a photo of either of those things, you’ve got to be quick. People clamber all around them and have their photos taken with them. Guess they know the significance of them…

You can walk anywhere you like inside the Kremlin. As long as you stick to the paths. Don’t walk down the wrong side of the road, don’t drift off the pedestrian crossing and don’t walk down the road. You’ll get a nice guard yelling at you if you do! (Nope, this time it wasn’t me, I was just watching everyone else.)

Again, the churches inside the Kremlin are older than Australia has been known to exist. There’s more info about the churches here and if you want more info on the kremlin, visit here.

One word of advice on the Kremlin: Make sure you go to the toilet before hand!

What a pretty party hat!

To complete the whirlwind tour of Moscow, our tour group met together that night and had a party. My pork came complete with a party hat! While we were in the restaurant it absolutely poured – we saw the pictures on the news of massive flash flooding, but by the time we got out it was only really wet instead of flooding. Ah the rain. Seemed to follow me through most countries… Hey hey hey Moscow Moscow!


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