We started our first full day in Moscow with a tour of the city. Our guide picked us up at the hotel, and we drove into the city. Driving in Moscow has certain disadvantages. The main disadvantage is traffic. In this sense, Moscow is like any city in that there are too many people driving cars here. Below is a picture of the traffic we had for our first introduction to Moscow. We encountered this traffic every day we were in Moscow.
We were taken through the heart of the city. The first thing that became clear to me is that this city of 12,000,000 + is not the same as the one many of us grew up with during the Cold War.
For the most part, the city is clean, there is an air of prosperity, you see many expensive Mercedes and BMW’s, there are lots of new construction, and people are on the move.
We spent about an hour walking around Red Square, and through the old Gum department store. The old department store used to only be for favorites of the Communist Party, but now is filled with exclusive Western shops. People from all over the world are seen when you walk around Red Square.
One of the most surprising things I noticed was the great number of churches. We even saw new churches under construction. Since the downfall of the Communists, there has been a strong revival of religion within Russia.
The most important thing that I got out of the Moscow city tour is that what I saw was not what I expected. Growing up I had always been told that Moscow was a dreary place, and what I saw was not a dreary place. It was a clean city with a lot going on.
Below are some pictures that we took while exploring Red Square and the old Gum Department Store.
Kazan Cathedral on the north corner of Red Square
After the city tour we went to the highest point in Moscow to overlook the Moscow River which is located directly in front of Moscow State University.
Below are links to my photo gallery from the Moscow City Tour, and other information links with relevant information:
My photo gallery for our 29 July 2012 the Moscow City tour: http://www.memorypoint.net/popeblog/gallery/in-and-around-moscow-29-july-2012/
Moscow City Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow
Red Square, Moscow, Russia Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Square
Kazan Cathedral, Moscow, Russia Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazan_Cathedral,_Moscow
Gum Department Store, Moscow, Russia Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUM_(department_store), http://www.moscow-russia-insiders-guide.com/moscow-gum-department-store.html
St. Basil Cathedral, Moscow Russia Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Basil’s_Cathedral