Sunday, April 12, 2015


Another gorgeous spring day in Moscow today, so we spent the entire day outside, touring the Zamoskvorechye district of Moscow with my parents.

Located south of the Kremlin (St. Basil's is visible in the distance) and tucked into a bend south of the river, Zamoskvorechye is known for its old churches and wooden architecture. It's also known as the place where the Tretyakov Gallery is located, though we didn't have time for that today.

We had a great tour guide with us, which made it really interesting. There are so many stories behind the buildings: famous authors lived in the district at various times during its long history, along with wealthy socialites, royalty, merchants and streltsy troops. And so many churches still standing: the Kadashi Church, the Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist, multiple churches of St. Nicholas, the Church of St. George... on and on, each more impressive than the last.

It was hard to choose pictures for this post.

We started at the Novokuznetskaya metro station. Like many of Moscow's metro stations, this one is crazy ornate. The mosaics and carvings on the walls and ceiling were designed in honor of the Red Army soldiers of WWII.

Then on to the neighborhood, with its quiet lanes and onion-domed churches.

Church of Saints Mikhail and Fyodor

Church of the Beheading of John the Baptist.

Random tiny church inside the courtyard of another church.

My parents!

A brief break to feed the pigeons outside the Tretyakov.

Martha and Mary Convent, founded by the Grand Duchess Elizabeth after her husband was assassinated in 1905. She herself was later killed by the communists (tossed down a mine shaft, poor thing). She was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church and is now considered a "local saint."

Here's something I didn't know. On Easter Day - and today is Easter according to the Orthodox calendar - many of the churches allow regular folk to climb the bell towers and ring the bells. So each of the kids took a turn high up in the tower of the Martha and Mary Convent, playing music that could be heard throughout the district. It was my favorite part of the day, watching them do that. Of course, I love the sound of church bells in general (even last night at midnight, when the church next door to our house played joyful and LOUD Easter bells for a good 30 minutes while I was trying to sleep...).

Kyra trying out the foot pedals that control the biggest bells.

Church of St. Nicholas of Pyzhi

An old wooden house, still standing in a courtyard just off the main street. A famous playwright lived there, back in the day.

Vendor selling Easter gifts outside St. Clements Church.


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