Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Varvarka Street

I hereby proclaim that there is no way to see all of Moscow in a 2-year tour. This is our second tour with State, and we were both here (separately) in our pre-State lives. Yet somehow, neither of us had ever been to Varvarka Street before Monday.

Named for St. Barbara, Varvarka Street is said to be the oldest street in all of Moscow. It starts in Kitai Gorod (itself home to the one of the only remaining sections of the ancient city wall), running a short way down to St. Basil's Cathedral and Red Square.

About every 3 steps there is another church on the side of the road: the Church of St. George, the Monastery of the Sign, the Church of St. Barbara, etc., etc. You'll also see the Old English Court if you know where to look - for a short street, it's awfully confusing trying to figure out what's what. We brought our guidebook and read all of the signs along the way, but I'll confess I'm still not sure which church is which.

We did find the house of the Boyar Romanovs. It was built, I believe, around the turn of the 16th century, and the Romanovs lived in it before eventually becoming the rulers of the Russian Empire. It's a cool little museum now, one I had no idea existed until we stumbled across it this week. We were the only visitors in the place.

The ancient wall of Kitai Gorod.

House of the Boyar Romanovs

The Cathedral of the Sign (Znamenskii Monastery)? I think? Different guidebooks call it different things, and I was too busy admiring the mermaid-tail-colored onion domes to look for a sign on the church itself. Beautiful outside - these pictures don't do justice to the colors on the domes. The inside is a bland whitewashed white.

Inside the home. Basement level weapons room. That's the personal flag of the Romanovs.

Stairwell. I mean, obviously.

Detail of the ceiling in the main hall.

The main hall itself.

Not your typical Drexel Heritage.

People must've been shorter back in the day. These doorways were dangerous.

The museum housed a small exhibit to give you a sense of what life was like back then. Hence the shoes.

...and an itty-bitty iron.

Up on the women's floor.

A dowry chest.

A loom.

The finished product.

On the way home we walked through Red Square and back home, stopping on the Old Arbat for coffee. We took this  just inside the main entrance to Red Square.


Please. Write your own stuff.