Having in mind today’s political situation in Europe and in the world, a flight to the heart of Russia seemed to be even more interesting than even before. Moreover, for me, as a Pole, seeing the city, which have decided, to put it mildly, about so unfavorable solutions for Poland at the turn of history, was even more intriguing.
Moscow – the largest city in Europe, inhabited not only by the largest number of people on the old continent, but also the richest. There are more than 131 billionaires, more than in New York, London or Dubai (the world in total 2325). Millionaires in turn, here are so common as pigeons. Most of them are the oil barons sleeping on petrodollars. I must admit that they fit in the city that almost every year ranks among the top most expensive cities in the world when it comes to the cost of living.
In the beginning I will take you to… the subway. Yes! This part of public transport is one of the main tourist attractions of the city, which I personally liked the most. It’s the busiest metro system in the world. Every day travels 9 million passengers (on weekdays)!
But it’s not because of the numbers I liked it so much. Of the 12 lines that Moscow metro system includes, one draws attention the most – Koltsevaya Line. Its stations are considered to be a perfect example of the socialist realism architectonic style. Some of them looks almost like palaces.
Together with a polish team – Asia and Piotrek (from business class), we got in this line and we were getting out at each station to have a look, admire and take a photo.
The richest of them is definitely Kiev station, presenting the history of “friendship” between the Ukrainian and Russian nations. The central part of the station is decorated with ornaments typical of the Ukranian architecture. 18 pylons are decorated with mosaics showing historical scenes between Russia and Ukraine, of which five of them bears Stalin. The whole station brightens gold chandeliers.
Getting around Moscow is also a great opportunity to observe the Russians themselves, and… their variations, such as: badger man:
In Moscow, I was already twice. As usual, during the first visit, I wanted to see all the places that interested me while gathering information about destination, to which I was going. However, the crew turned out to be so cool that this time I didn’t bother to much about sightseeing and we went to have some fun :)
After the observations made in the Moscow metro, with a lovely Slovakian, hilarious Lebanese, naughty Italian pilot and nice Moroccan, reveling in the taste of the Russian beer, we invented game called “Russian Face”, which was about staying as long as possible with a straight\ sepulchral face expression . Beer one after another, and it was harder and harder to persevere a straight face, but how much fun we had that night is ours!
On the idea of the game we came up in the subway by watching the faces of the travelers, no smile at all, sadness. I don’t want to generalize, of course, maybe we experienced those particular times, perhaps by the weather, is not known. But even though, I don’t blame them. I’d also have depression, if I would leave in this country ;)
During my second visit, the crew, especially the Polish, mentioned above, was great as well, but this time I was determined to explore, and even Asia with Piotrek were also positive about such a solution.
In the first place, of course, we went to the Red Square. Catching vitamin D rays of the winter sun, we were waiting for the opening of the Council of Basil’s Cathedral. The temple was built by the Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible in the second half of the sixteenth century. It had to commemorate the victory of the Russians in the war with Tatars from Kazań.
Strolling between medieval frescoes, illuminated by sun shafts, that lead through a small window in the thick walls of the hollow, looking for a main praying nave, which, as I hoped, will have a huge impression on me. I walked and walked between successive rooms and nothing of any great hall with rows of benches and massive pillars appeared. It turned out that the Council consists of 8 separate churches, symbolizing the eight days of fighting near Kazan, around ninth, a bit bigger then the rest. All completed mushroom-shaped domes and in almost all colors of the rainbow… a little kitsch, you must admit.
Legend has it that Ivan the Terrible after the completion of the work ordered to make the architects blind that they will not be able to create such a “miracle” ever again. Having in mind that he killed his son, several wives, and on his command was killed thousands of people, it comes out that he was a total savage wasn’t he?! But I think he might become a bit submissive after complete defeat in the War of Livonia a few years later (today Latvia and Estonia in Europe) with the Polish king Stefan Batory :D
The next point on the list was the Kremlin – the very heart of Russia from the beginning, fort on a hill with several Orthodox churches and administrative buildings, which 20 years after the War of Livonia, was also captured by the Polish army and occupied for two years. Later in history only Napoleon and his army conquered again Moscow. Even Hitler didn’t reach there!
Unfortunately, these open-air museum was closed that day and instead of passing through the walls of the Kremlin, we went next to them…
If the Red Square, of course, we also had to see the mausoleum of Lenin. Unfortunately, we didn’t have luck this time either. The dead man just was having changed pants and lotions.
In a central location in Warsaw is a symbol of the, fortunately past symbol, of the Polish sovereignty of the USSR in the days of the Cold War – Palace of Culture and Science (formerly known as Palace of Stalin). An example of the architecture of socialist realism. Thank God, it’s only one palace of this type in Warsaw, while in Moscow alone those inspired by American skyscrapers towers in Art Deco style is seven. One of them we decided to visit:
In the same part of the city we also went to the largest Roman Catholic cathedral and one of the two churches of this denomination in Moscow. Inside awaited for us a pleasant surprise in the form of prayers and brochures in Polish language and pictures of John Paul II. I could say almost a Polish church! And actually there is plenty of Polish accents in its history. The cathedral was built in the early XX century and financed from the donations of the Polish community living there, and Catholics from all over Russia. Also construction was oversaw by the two Poles – the prelate and a lawyer. The architect was… also a Pole! :) Tomasz Bohdanowicz-Drzewiecki – professor on a university in Moscow.
I’m so into art as President Putin in peace in Ukraine, but at the end we decided to go to the Tretyakova Art Gallery, bringing one of the largest and most significant in the world collection of works of Russian fine arts. We saw there mainly propaganda paintings from the Stalinist period, when many artists for painting not what they should could say goodbye to their lifes.
Finally, a few words about the flight itself. Within the community of cabin crew, when someone gets Moscow flight, falls on him fear because the flight is supposed to be so hard and difficult – heavy drinkers, bars are becoming empty very quickly etc. However, the above is totally an exaggeration. There’s more then one nations from Western Europe that drinks as much if not more, and the bars are not emptied every single time, as Russian passengers often carries their own alcohol :D