Russian highlights

(This post follows ‘Arrival in Moscow’ posted on 30 Mar 2017)

Our friends were scheduled to join us two days later. So, Vinod and I planned two days’ of Moscow sightseeing with them. Meanwhile, we decided to utilise the evening of our arrival day by visiting the Kolomenskoye estate. We explored the once-royal grounds and got acquainted with the Russian architecture of olden days. The area was huge and lacked proper signage. That is why we missed seeing the most important structure there – a reconstruction of the wooden palace. However, we enjoyed the greenery and the distant view of the Moscow river.

There were a few children’s amusement centres too on the estate. They looked out of place on a site of historical importance. The Church of the Ascension which was built in 1532 on the Kolomenskoye estate is on the World Heritage list. We could not visit it because a concert was in progress.

Entry to the estate is free. That and the many long walking tracks probably make it so popular amongst residents for their evening walks. Even babies in prams seemed to enjoy their outings on the estate!

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Vinod and I had three and a half days in Russia. That was too much time to be spent in just Moscow. One day would not have been enough go to St. Petersburg, explore the city and return to Moscow; however, it was enough to take a day trip to Suzdal and Vladimir.  

Actually, Suzdal and Vladimir are part of the Golden Ring tour which involves exploring the towns along the so-called ‘Golden Ring’. These towns are important for their religious and political history. Most people recommend to take at least 4 days to see the highlights of the Golden Ring.

Suzdal and Vladimir are a long drive from Moscow (almost eight hours to go and come back), but the route is scenic. Vladimir was our first stop. When we reached Vladimir, the clear sky disappeared and black clouds took over. In Vladimir, we visited the Assumption Cathedral and the Cathedral of St. Dmitry and saw the famed Golden Gate. Then it began to rain. We decided to head to Suzdal.

We bought pizza from a local restaurant to eat on the way. Our friendly and helpful guide helped us to place our orders as the staff there didn’t speak English. Later, we bought an umbrella from a local hypermarket to be safe in case it rained in Suzdal too.

Snapshots from Vladimir and Suzdal…

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In Suzdal, we visited the Kremlin and the open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture and Peasant Life. After looking at the exhibits it emerged to me that Russia has Asian characteristics more than European except the architecture.  

The architectural style of the structures along the Golden Ring was similar to the one we had seen in Turkey and Greece. That shape of the domes is a classic feature of the Byzantine architecture.

Our guide informed us that when Greeks introduced orthodox Christianity in Russia, many cultural aspects too got introduced. That is why Greece and Russia have similarities in their names (Dimitri being one example) and alphabets. That was fascinating!

In Suzdal, we also bought locally-made honey wine. As the probability of raining when one has an umbrella is the least, we didn’t encounter rain in Suzdal. 🙂

We had an enriching and eventful day! On our way back to Moscow, we had a tummy full of local berries which our driver shared with us.

*Coming up – Moscow memories – Part 1


3 thoughts on “Russian highlights”

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