Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Visit to Moscow, Russia

Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow
I was very blessed to suddenly be invited to attend a World Soil Day (5 Dec each year) seminar held in Moscow, Russia last week. I went for a quick one week visit with two of my colleagues from our university. Fortunately, one of my colleagues that came with is originally from Moscow, so he helped us get around. Very few Russians speak English and also there are very few signs in English.
Me on our first night in Moscow
It was an extreme climate adjustment, as we went from +30 C in Cape Town to -10 C in Moscow. Fortunately, I was able to find a well-insulated down coat on sale in South Africa 3 days before I left! 

I was impressed by the colourful buildings in Moscow.

Some previously demolished Russian Orthodox churches have been rebuilt all around the city. They look old but are actually quite new.
Recently rebuilt Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow
There was a Christmas market and ice skating rink on the Red Square.
Christmas Market on the Red Square with Saint Basil's in the background
My colleague and I on the Red Square in front of the Kremlin
Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the Kremlin
Medieval Cathedral of the Assumption in the Kremlin

We also managed to squeeze in a one-day trip to Saint Petersburg, where we visited the Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum. It was exquisite! I have never seen so much gold decoration before.

Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia
Chapel inside the Winter Palace
Ornate gold room inside the Winter Palace
We also visited the impressive Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg. It was so beautiful inside with intricate mosaics and malachite pillars.
Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg
Interior of Saint Isaac's Cathedral
Domed ceiling of Saint Isaac's Cathedral featuring a dove
The Moscow Metro (subway) is also very beautiful; each station has a different theme decorated in typical Stalin Gothic style.
Moscow Metro Station
Glass panel in Moscow Metro
Decorative panel in Moscow Metro

Moscow Metro Station

I have to admit that Russia is probably my most favourite place that I have ever traveled to. The food was incredible, and the culture and history so rich. It was also very affordable.