Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Tickets to the Kremlin

This summer I took an intermediate Political Russian course while working in Virginia. The Russian portion of the class seemed ideal...comprehensive grammar review, lots of speaking practice, etc. The Political portion? Not as much. It ended up being fascinating and informative, though several times the vocabulary seemed a bit impractical. As in, "when will I ever use this vocab outside of class?!"

Answer: my first week in Russia.

Wednesday the weather was stunning so, despite early signs of sickness, I decided to go out for a round of sightseeing. I was aiming for Red Square, but after people watching in Александровский Сад, Alexander Gardens, I ended up at the entrance to the Kremlin. Ticketless. After a brief conversation with one of the guards, he started me off in the direction of the ticket office. I walked that direction briefly, but decided it wasn't worth the entrance fee at the moment...I had plans to meet up with my 1 Russian friend shortly thereafter. I started to walk back the direction I had come and, lo and behold, there was the security guard. Walking towards me, with a ticket! This was wholly refreshing, given that the day before I'd been on a tirade about the unfriendly nature of several of the Russians I'd dealt with.

Despite having been in Moscow once before, I'd never made it inside the Kremlin. Stunning!
The Kremlin houses several churches in its walls, the oldest being the Cathedral of the Assumption (pictured immediately below), built in 1475-1479.

A fantastic ticket to have scored! Wednesday I loved Moscow. (I'm fickle at the moment. But so is Moscow.) Even more so when I walked outside and met up with Boris. Who offered me another ticket to the Kremlin! But this time, it was a bit fancier...enter heightened Political Russian course vocabulary. This invite was for a приём (priyom) at the PALACE! The Grand Kremlin Palace isn't open to visitors, so this American girl was seriously excited.

And so should you be. Because now you get an exclusive virtual tour!

Our evening was spent in the Aleksandrovsky Hall, Andreyevsky Hall, and Georgiyevskiy Hall, first attending a drink reception and then an orchestra concert featuring soloists from the Red Army Chorus. In the early 90's, with the fall of the Soviet Union, the Palace was given a little the tune of about 1 billion dollars. It seems the restoration of these halls definitely put some of those funds to work!

Totally flashed out, but proof that I was in attendance.

My favorite details of the evening?

1. The entrance up the Red Staircase into the halls. 58 steps lined with armed Russian guards in uniform. Over the years, these steps have seen a lot of history and it was an amazing feeling climbing them with guards on either side.

2. Juice! It's likely due to the fact that it was a 5 o'clock concert, but alongside the champagne they had a myriad of fresh juices to choose from. For someone who doesn't drink alcohol and seriously appreciates juice, this scored pretty high. Go Russia.

3. The concert itself. A great orchestra, talented singers, and a highly diverse program. In 2 hours we covered Russian opera, Russian pop, "The Prayer," some military music, an Ave Maria thrown in...we were not wanting for variety! Eclectic like the Moscow I'm getting to know.

4. People watching. Always.

Another serious score of a ticket. And a welcome opportunity to see the little vocabulary I do know put to use!

I now have an official week in Moscow on the books!

1 comment:

  1. These pictures are SO cool! Holy smokes what a beautiful place you got to visit! I myself would fancy a walk up some large stairs lined with armed russian guards. That would make me feel pretty neat. You look beautiful and this looks like it was just amazing!!


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