14.08.2009 - 14.08.2009 16 °C
We walked past the changing of the guard for the Unknown Soldier again on our way to the Kremlin this morning, still goose-steppingingly mad! We had to get separate tickets for the armoury so we had to go there first as you are only allowed in as part of a 'tour'. Anyway, we strolled around the armoury, which is a collection of old regalia and russian artifacts from days of yore. Very impressive stuff, and we saw real faberge eggs! After that we went into the Diamond Fund (which is conincidentally and conveniently owned by the Ministry of Finance ), which houses some of the most impressive sparkly gems we have seen, including the largest cut Sapphire in the world (260 carats) and the crown of Catherine the Great. There was also a large variety of gold nuggets and bars on display - again, very impressive - but one can't help feeling that they're unnecessarily showing off a little! Sorry, no pics were allowed in these exhibits!
After that we walked into the Kremlin grounds proper, past the presidential palace and went into all the royal cathedrals with their gold sparkling onion-domes. There are 3 in total, The Assumption Cathedral, The Archangel Cathedral and The Annunication Cathedral, all of which were absolutely beautiful inside (again, sorry, no photos allowed). They manage to cover every wall and ceiling with murals and the result was breathtaking. We also had a look at The Ivan the Great Bell Tower, and the huge bell to accompany it, which weighs in at 202 tonnes. Due to its colossal weight it has never been rung. Next to it was the Tsar's cannon, which had a massive 89cm bore! Like the Tsar's bell, it was too large to be used and remains a showpiece to this day.
From there we walked down Arbat Street, which is souvenir central! We bought a few things and strolled the whole length of the street, which had some really impressive buildings on it, with one of the seven sisters at the bottom end! We got the tube from the other end and it happened to be a really impressive station, very socialist art deco! We did some more shopping on the way back through Red Square and headed back to the hotel. The weather has been slightly miserable today, but it didn't stop us and it even cheered up towards the end. We have had another fantastic day in Moscow nevertheless and cant wait for tomorrow!
Miss you lots,
Lots of Love,
Chris and Alex xxx