Jan. 8 – Kremlin Tour

Day five of our journey (Day four in Moscow) may have been the most difficult day physically. It was our tourist day. Touring is a difficult task, especially after so many busy days of mission work.

We left the hotel at 9 a.m. and returned about 10 p.m. A good portion of the day was outside. And guess what … it was cold and snowy.

We rode the Metro to the stop near Red Square and made our way to the Kremlin. Our guide’s name was Julia. She was very knowledge, witty and had a great smile. Julia’s English was excellent. She studied linguistics at Moscow State University. According to Julia, Moscow State trains all of Russia’s diplomatic translators, however those jobs are reserved for men.

Just before we reached the Kremlin Julia stopped us near a military statue of a man riding a horse. The man was a leader in the Soviet Army during World War II. She said that 27 million Russians died in World War II. Half of those deaths were civilians. Many died at the directly at the hands of the Nazis. Others died during sieges and due to food shortages. The man on the horse helped stop the Nazi army.

Julia said her grandmother served as a surgeon’s assistant and was wounded during the war. I could tell she was proud of her grandmother’s service to her country.

It was probably 10:15 by the time we cleared Kremlin security. We saw the presidential office building, and numerous old churches located on the Kremlin grounds. We learned a little about Russia Orthodoxy during the tour … however I need to study more when I get home.

The Kremlin and its churches are very old. Much of the Kremlin dates to the late 1400 and early 1500s. Certain towers and palaces on the grounds were built in the 1600 and 1700s. The Soviets built a few buildings during their reign.

We visited the Kremlin Armory which houses the riches of the former Russian monarchy. We saw crowns, thrones, coronation dress, clothing and items given to the royal family as gifts from other nations. The collection has items from Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and others. One room contained many royal carriages and one royal sleigh – those were incredible.

The Armory also holds a collection of nine Frabregé eggs. Each egg has an ornate design and surprise inside. One egg contains a tiny, working model of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, another is a music box (but it did not play music by Trans-Siberian Orchestra in case you are wondering). Two other eggs caught my egg. One is called the Kremlin Egg. The top of the eggs is shaped like the onion dome of an Orthodox church, it rest on a base that is shaped like the Kremlin. The detail is amazing. Another egg had a tiny scale model of a Romanov palace.

After the Kremlin tour we had an early lunch (by Russian standards) … it was about 2 p.m. I ate a traditional Russian dish – Blimi (pancakes) with salted salmon. It was excellent.

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