Sunday, June 28, 2015

Christ the Saviour Cathedral

Christ the Saviour Cathedral is located on the bank of the Moskva River, a few short steps from the Kremlin. We chose Father's Day to visit because nothing says Father's Day like letting the dad choose the day's outing.

Technically, it's a brand new church, but it has a long history. It was originally built in the 1800s, to commemorate and celebrate Napoleon Bonaparte's retreat from Russia. But in 1931, the Soviets had it demolished. They planned to build a monument to socialism on the spot, but they didn't have enough cash, so eventually they decided instead to convert it into a gigantic outdoor swimming pool. Makes sense. I mean, there must have been a spectacularly deep hole in the ground where the church originally stood.

Famous old picture of the 1931 demolition. I don't know who, if anyone, gets the photo credit, but I find it sort of haunting.
Some people aren't fans of the cathedral, simply because it was very recently restored - in the late-1990s - so it still has that new church smell. I actually like it for precisely the reason of its newness. The Russian government didn't have the funds to rebuild the church, and so they called upon ordinary Muscovites to donate to the cause, and donate they did. I like the idea that it was important enough to regular Russians that they banded together and got the church put back where it belongs.

You can find some amazing photographs of the cathedral if you dig through the internet. Sadly, we didn't get any amazing photos - we discovered after we arrived that our camera battery was dead because somebody (*coughbartcough*) left the camera on overnight. So we had to resort to taking a few poor quality phone pictures. Oh, well. It's almost to the point where it wouldn't be a real family outing without some sort of camera malfunction. I'm already wondering how we'll screw up our much-anticipated vacation photos later this summer.

I have no idea how to caption this photograph. But if you look closely, you'll see all 5 of my loved ones up there.

Me n' K. Photo credit A.

Me n' A. Photo credit K.

Taken from the bridge over the river.


After wandering around the cathedral for awhile, we took Bart out for pizza at a restaurant on one of Moscow's little pedestrian side streets. I won't recommend the restaurant because, while the pizza was great, the service was incredibly slow. Bad news for the kids, good news for me: it took so long to get our pizza that I changed the name from lunch to dinner, and I didn't have to make dinner that night. But it was all kinds of hilarious to see my kids' faces fall at 6 pm when I pulled a Father's Day cake out of the refrigerator and called it dinner. What kind of kid is disappointed at the idea of cake for dinner? My kids, apparently.

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