"Beautiful things happen when you distance yourself from negativity..."
|(St. Basil Cathedral, Moscow)|
Day 7: 27 May 2014 (Monday)
Hotel: Maxima Panorama Hotel, Moscow
There was no immigration or custom checks when we reached Moscow. We were met by our local guide and a 40-seater coach and began the tour of Moscow. Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia and the world's most populated inland city.
The city is well known for its unique architecture which consists of many different historic buildings such as Saint Basil's Cathedral with its brightly colored domes. Moscow is also the seat of power of the Government of Russia, being the site of the Moscow Kremlin, a medieval city-fortress that is today the residence of the Russian president. The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square are World Heritage Sites in the city.
|(Arriving in the city of Moscow)|
|(No checks in Moscow)|
We passed the Red Square and had a glimpse of the city wall, the Kremlin, famous Cathedrals and other tourist attractions which we will be visiting in the afternoon. The bus headed towards Sparrow Hills to have a good panoramic view of the city.
Sparrow Hills known as Lenin Hills is a hill on the right bank of the Moskva River and one of the highest points in Moscow, reaching a height of 220 m. The observation platform, which gives a good panoramic view of the city, is on a steep bank above the river, or 200 m above sea level. The Luzhniki Stadium formerly the Lenin Stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies for the 1980 Summer Olympics took place, is right below, across the Moskva River. Next to it is the Novodevichy Convent, with its Naryshkin Baroque towers.
|(Our lodging for three nights)|
|(The Moscow State University)|
|(The 1980 Olympic Stadium)|
We visited the Moscow State University (MSU) and had some photo shots there. The MSU is a coeducational public university and also known as Lomonosov University. It also claims to have the tallest educational building in the world.
|(Moscow skyline from Sparrow Hill)|
|(The Moskva River)|
We visited the Sabornaya Mosque which is under major renovation and had a hearty lunch of lamb kebab and rice at the Cafetaria. Sabornaya Mosque is a one of the four mosques in Moscow situated along Prospect Mira next to the Olympic Stadium of Moscow or Olimpysky used in the Olympic Game in 1980. This mosque is often referred as Cathedral Mosque.
|(The mosque is under going major renovation)|
|(Signage to the ladies prayer area)|
|(The temporary main prayer hall)|
Later in the afternoon we visited the famous Red Square. The Red Square is a city square separating the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod. The Red Square is often considered the central square of Moscow and all of Russia, because Moscow's major streets—which connect to Russia's major highways—originate from the square.
|(The vibrant coloured St. Basil Cathedral)|
|(Monument in front of the cathedral)|
The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed commonly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral, is a former church in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. The building, now a museum, is officially known as the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat. It was built on orders from Ivan the Terrible and commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. As world famous landmark, it has been the hub of the city's growth since the 14th century.
The vibrant multi-coloured building is shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising into the sky, it is like no other Russian building. Nothing similar can be found. The church has been part of the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. It is often mislabelled as the Kremlin owing to its location on Red Square in immediate proximity of the Kremlin.
The grand Cathedral of Christ the Savior is a dramatic traditional style building topped with gleaming gold domes and elaborate architecture. Standing at 102 meters tall, it is the tallest Orthodox Church in the world.
|(The State Historical Museum at the far end)|
The imposing red building stands at the end of the Red Square is the State Historical Museum. The museum was opened in 1894, to mark the coronation of Aleksander III, and was the result of a 20-year-long project to consolidate various archaeological and anthropological collections into a single museum that told the story of the history of Russia according to the latest scientific methodology.
The building, which prompts mixed aesthetic reactions, is undeniably impressive. A mass of jagged towers and cornices, it is a typical example of Russian Revivalism, the Eastern equivalent of the Neo-Gothic movement.
|(The Lenin Mausoleum)|
Lenin Mausoleum also known as Lenin's Tomb, situated in Red Square is the mausoleum that serves as the current resting place of Vladimir Lenin. His embalmed body has been on public display there since his death in 1924. The monumental granite structure incorporates some elements from ancient mausoleums, such as the Step Pyramid and the Tomb of Cyrus the Great.
GUM Department Store is the State Department Store, a famous shopping mall on Moscow's Red Square. GUM is well-known to every Russian. Now GUM is not only an architectural masterpiece, but also housed a wide network of shops in Moscow and in other regions. The high quality of goods purchased in GUM is guaranteed. We stayed a while in the department store protected from the heavy showers outside.
|(The up-class GUM Department Store)|
|(Sun-lit ceiling in the department store)|
After a tiring half-day tour, we checked in Maxima Hotel, Moscow. Tonight we had packed nasi briani dinner in the room.
Day 8: 28 May 2014 (Tuesday)
Hotel: Maxima Panorama Hotel, Moscow
We had a filling breakfast in the morning. It was raining slightly this morning and the weather was quite chilly and cool. Today we visited the Red Square again and spent the whole morning at the Kremlin and visiting the surrounding tourist sites.
|(A heavy breakfast to start the day)|
|(Maxima Hotel Moscow)|
Kremlin Plus Cathedral also known as The Moscow Kremlin sometimes referred to as simply the Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River to the south, Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square to the east, and the Alexander Garden to the west. It is the best known of kremlins (Russian citadels) and includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and the enclosing Kremlin Wall with Kremlin towers. The complex serves as the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation.
|(The main entrance to the Kremlin)|
|(Visitors undergoing thorough checks)|
The Church of the Twelve Apostles is a minor cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, commissioned by Patriarch Nikon as part of his stately residence in 1653 and dedicated to Philip the Apostle three years later.
The church is almost as prominent as neighbouring grand cathedrals of the 15th century, due to its placement upon a high pediment, pierced by two large arches allowing passage from the Cathedral Square to the patriarch's courtyard.
|(The Cathedral Square)|
|(A huge bell, a tourist attraction)|
The Armoury Chamber - Located in the Kremlin of Moscow it is one of the oldest museums in the Russian capital. Serving as a modern treasure house, it is a part of the Grand Kremlin Palace Complex. The armory began as the arsenal of the Moscow Kremlin as early as 1508, where were housed the finest of Muscovite gunsmiths, jewellers, and painters. Their resulting collection was later served as the Kremlin’s Great Treasury, and included many of the precious items that have been preserved for centuries. Despite the fall of the Communists, these historical church items remain housed among the state artefacts.
|(A huge canon)|
|(A hop-on and hop-off tour bus)|
After visiting the Kremlin, we had lunch at a Lebanese Restaurant in one of the shopping malls. After lunch we visited the Memorial Arch and took a metro train from Park Pobedy Station and stopped at two stations. Our final stop was at Arbat Street.
|(A sumptuous briani lunch)|
|(Another smaller mosque @ Sparrow Hill)|
|(The Memorial Arch)|
|(The map of the Metro)|
|(Metro Station in between train rides)|
|(The commuter crowd at exchange stations)|
Arbat Street is a pedestrian street about one km long in the historical centre of Moscow. The Arbat has existed since the 15th century, thus laying claim to being one of the oldest surviving streets of the Russian capital. Originally the street formed part of an important trade route and was home to a large number of craftsmen.
|(A km long Arbat Street)|
|(Graffiti on the wall)|
In the 18th century, the Arbat came to be regarded by the Russian nobility as the most prestigious living area in Moscow. The street was almost completely destroyed by the great fire during Napoleon's occupation of Moscow in 1812 and was rebuilt. In the 19th and early 20th centuries it became known as a place where petty nobility, artists, and academics lived. In the Soviet period, it was the home of many high-ranking government officials.
|(A couple in the rain)|
|(A statue of a famous poet)|
|(A schedule of concerts of famous musicians)|
Day 9: 29 May 2014 (Wednesday)
(Moscow – Istanbul)
After breakfast we had a free and easy time till noon when we checked out and boarded the coach to have lunch at the Lebanese Restaurant again. It was raining heavily so we spent time in the shopping mall before going to the airport for our flight at 21.25 back to KL via Istanbul.
|(Lining up for our meals)|
|(Moscow International Airport)|
|(Early for our flight)|
|(Ready to board the plane)|
We whiled away time watching in-flight movies in between sleep on our journey home. We landed safely at KLIA at 16.30 on the next day.