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Moscow: dismantling the great Russian capital

A gigantic city that represents the largest country on Earth cannot leave anyone indifferent: these are its main settings.

Unlike the European St. Petersburg, Moscow is a melting pot of cultures and races. Essences from the Asian and European borders of the tsarist empire converge in this capital. Looted, invaded, burned, and reborn from its ashes like no other Russian city, the fight against the Mongols, Tatars, Lithuanians, Poles, French, and Germans tempered the character of the Muscovites, capable of resisting the wrath of Stalin and the misrule of Yeltsin, to the brutal misery brought about by the disintegration of the Soviet Union and to the sanctions imposed by the West on Putin after absorbing Crimea.

Epicenter Of Passions

Moscow the city of passion

Russians dream of Moscow from birth, like an initiatory journey to paradise and hell; to the glory of its writers and the ethyl vapors of its vagabonds; to the debauchery and repression of the Lubyanka, the central square where the executioners of the Cheka, the NKVD, the KGB and now the FSB settled. Moscow is the city of passions, of contrasts, of believers and of the zapói, that endless drunkenness that Emmanuel Carrère describes so well in his non-fiction novel Limonov (2011): «Zapói is spending several days drunk, wandering place to another, boarding trains not knowing where they are going, entrusting your innermost secrets to casual strangers, forgetting everything you have said and done. Moscow has it all and the Russians who have drunk its spell cannot overcome the nostalgia of its absence, not even Nobel laureate Alexandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), who was able to give up sex so that it would not distract him from his writings anti -Stalinists, but could not enjoy the golden exile and left everything to return to Moscow in 1994.

A City Attached To A River

The capital runs along the banks of the Moskva, which gives it its Russian name, Moskva, and imposes its urban configuration, starting with the Kremlin, whose walls stand imposingly over the murky waters of the river. During the more than four years that I lived in Russia, on clear days, one of my favorite walks was to watch from the left bank as the sunset spilled the last flames of the dying sun on the red bricks of the Kremlin enclosure and made the golden ones gleam. of its palaces and its onion domes. Moscow requires generous walking tours, but also a boat tour.

Capital Of Art And Hedonism

Moscow is capital as expensive as it is hedonistic, where the best restaurants of Central Asian cuisine are also found. History and the future go hand in hand in this fast-paced city. Which at night dresses up to dance in its spectacular nightclubs or to enjoy exotic cocktails in its designer bars. It has extraordinary museums such as the Pushkin, the Tretyakov Gallery, and the new Tretyakov Gallery. Which between them house masterpieces of Russian art from the famous icon of the Trinity by Andrei Rublev to the paintings of Chagall, Kandinsky, and Malevich, including the great works of socialist realism.

The People’s Palace

The subway is the largest and most splendid example of Soviet art. In its stations are huge sculptures of workers in the Plóshchad Revolutsii (Square of the Revolution). Beautiful mosaics commemorating the union between Russia and Ukraine in the Kievkaya, and between Russia and Belarus in the Belaruskaya; paintings celebrating the victories over Napoleon (1812) and over the Great Patriotic War, as the Russians call World War II, in Park Pobedy (Victory Park), the deepest station in Moscow and the third deepest in the world, 84m below ground. There are also palatial ones, like the Komsomólskaya, and avant-garde, like the Mayakóvskaya. In all of them, in addition to the decoration of walls and ceilings, the lamps stand out.

City ​​College

Between Red Square and the steel and glass towers of the brand-new financial district is Soviet Moscow. Defended by the Seven Sisters, seven skyscrapers that Stalin ordered to be built as bulwarks of proletarian power. At the end of the 1930s, although the construction is finished in the 1950s. The buildings are in a kind of Baroque and Gothic style. Between 133 and 240 m high, house among others the University of Moscow, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ukraine and Leningradskaya hotels. The Kotelnichestaya Naberezhnaya is located on the river wharf of the same name. Dedicated the entire mass of its lateral wing to multi-family dwellings, the popular kommunalka, one of the symbols of communism.

The Pride Of Billionaires

There is no greater representation of the vicissitudes of Russia than Red Square. Where the symbols of power – the Kremlin –, glory – Saint Basil’s Cathedral – and money – the GUM stores – compete. In one of the cities with the most millionaires in the world. The beautiful vaulted gallery in Soviet times was the store for tourists. Despite this, it was surprising due to the monotony and scarcity of what was sold today houses famous jewelry firms, fashion, or decoration. Just in front of the mausoleum that keeps the mummy of Lenin. And until 1961, also that of Stalin, now buried in the Kremlin wall.

Kremlin Universe

The Kremlin contains four palaces and four cathedrals built around a square. Which makes it stand out as a religious nucleus and culture of the country. It also includes one of the most important museums in Russia. The Armory, where, among other jewels, you can see 10 of the 52 eggs that the imperial family commissioned between 1885 and 1917 from the goldsmith Fabergé. In addition, the diamond bottom is the only place in the world where you can see buckets full of these precious stones.

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