The Spirit of Russia

The Spirit of Russia

Father Christmas - a Wood Carving from the North of Russia

Here's a compilation of 61 photos taken during our vacation in Russia during July/August of 2014.  Out of more than 700 photos...I carefully selected these ones...which best reflect the Spirit of Russia and its people.  In future I also hope to add a written essay on the spirit of Russia to accompany these photos...enjoy!

The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Band welcoming visitors to The Hermitage - Summer Palace - St. Petersburg
The Band played mostly The Beatles Tunes

Ceiling Detail - Hermitage Museum St. Petersburg

Paper Mache life-sized replica of Catherine the Great - Delft Furnaces in Background
The Hermitage Museum - Summer Palace.  Catherine the Great was a great art collector.  It was she who collected the largest collection of Faberge eggs in the world...the Russians are still angry that many of the eggs were stolen and sold during the Bolshevik Revolution.

Church of the Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg

 Church ceiling, St. Petersburg

Church Interior - St. Petersburg

Burial site of the Romanov Family - in the Church of the Spilled Blood
(built over the site in St. Petersburg where Tsar Alexander was assassinated)

Tsar Peter the Great's Summer Palace outside St. Petersburg

Preobrazhenskaia Church on the  remote island of Kizhi in Northern Russia.  It has 22 cupolas and was built in 1714.  It is a Unesco World Heritage site.

Detail of the Church at Kizhi (under repair)...built out of Ash wood without any nails...there were no blueprints...the master carpenters drew lines in the ground to show the layout and dimensions of the church.  The colour of this church changes dramatically according to the time of day and angle of reflection of the sun on the cupolas.

Inside a small chapel adjacent to the Kizhi Church, some brothers sang in Gregorian Chant was a mystical experience.

On the grounds was a hundreds year old peasant farm house...perfectly preserved...we went in...

...and saw how ordinary Russians lived hundreds of years's the bed where the women gave birth...and the hanging cradle nearby.

In the small city of Yaroslavl, (which means Russian Bear) we were taken to a high school...where students and their teachers practiced their English by answering our questions about Russian education...a mutually beneficial interchange!

Yaroslavl High School Student practices her English on foreign tourists--she spoke very well having only studied English for one year!

Yaroslavl high school students entertain singing and playing ethnic music
Everywhere we went...we were treated to Russian music! 

Farmer's market in Yaroslavl

Church ceiling paintings in Yaroslavl

Fresco painting on wall of 100's year old Church - Yaroslavl

Adam and Eve fresco painted on church wall - Yaroslavl

Detail of painting on paper mache boxes--iconic Russian souvenirs.  Each box takes three months to make and all are hand-painted, some with mother of pearl and gold detail.

Russian Nesting Dolls...another iconic souvenir...handmade of wood they should have at least 5 dolls.

We were guests for lunch in the home of an ordinary Russian Family.  No pictures of this private time - except for this one of the family cat.
This dog was seen wandering around the Yaroslavl farmer's market...people seemed to know him and he was friendly with everybody...kind of the town mascot!

Poster outside a museum of modern art in Yaroslavl

At the Yaroslavl governor's (painting of him in background) mansion (now a museum) we were guided by three young ladies and gentlemen, dressed in 18th century costume.  They danced 18th century dances to chamber music...then...

...the young ladies and gentlemen invited the tourists to join in the dance.

On to Moscow - one of the famous bronze statues in the Moscow Subway

Moscow Subway...woman in cat dress

Moscow Skyline - seemed like a giant Potemkin village...skyscrapers appeared out of place with all the other architecture...the guides said there was virtually no parking underneath these buildings

Moscow Soccer Stadium- where they hope to host the 2018 World Cup

Bikers gather nightly in a park on a hill overlooking Moscow...they admire each other's bikes...then, after dark, they race through the streets of Moscow.  The police are forbidden by law to chase motorcycles after dark.

View of the Kremlin - Moscow

View of government buildings within Kremlin Walls

Putin's office on the Kremlin Grounds

View of the Kremlin and Red Square from the Ritz Hotel - where we went for tea
Tourists  : ) taking iconic "selfie" in front of St. Basil's in Red Square

Bridge over river in Moscow with one of the countless "Lock Trees"....metal trees where lovers go after they get fasten locks...and then throw the key into the river as a sign of "foreverness"

Lenin's Tomb - Red Square

Helicopter on Kremlin Grounds where Putin leaves from after a day at work.
View of Lenin's Tomb from outdoor restaurant on Red Square
Inside iconic Russian Department Store facing Red Square - "GUM" (pronounced "goom")...lovely to look at but too expensive for ordinary tourists
Soldier guarding the tomb of Unknown Soldier - Kremlin
View of Kremlin from the river - foreground tower has one of at least 5 large stars on top from days of Soviet Union

The Stars at the top of the Soviet Union era Government Buildings are approx. 1 1/2 size of an average man.  They are made of stained glass mosaic made from ruby stone which gives them their unique red glow at night.

The above is the first of several shots of the Museum dedicated to the War of 1812 (Napoleonic War).  This war was a defining moment in Russian history.  I found the paintings in the museum so fascinating that I took one picture after another until finally, the little old lady who was the custodian...came over and asked me politely in Russian to leave...I knew I shouldn't be taking flash photos of the paintings...but wanted to show these precious memories and here they are!!!

Rifles used in War of 1812
Napoleon's hat
Carriage that Napoleon made his retreat from Moscow in

Napoleonic uniform
First of a series of huge oil paintings depecting Napoleon's Retreat

Napoleon's Retreat
Napoleon trying to figure something out
Napoleon in Despair as he realizes his reinforcements aren't going to come
Painting of a Tsar receiving his courtiers
St Basil's by Night

Red Square by Night -farewell to Russia

Thank you "Spasiba" to all the Russians we met for their great hospitality! I would love to return to Russia, hopefully during the Christmas season, and enjoy a snowy winter wonderland Moscow!  This is high up on my "bucket list".


Ann said...

Hi, I saw your comment on Saker's and came over to see the pictures...really amazing eh ? Story book architecture.

greencrow said...

Hi Ann:

Thanks for your comment. I thought the people who visit Saker's might enjoy the photos.


Dkblue said...

Thank you, really enjoyed these.
Dream of visiting there one day too :)

greencrow said...

Glad you enjoyed them, Dkblue. I highly recommend visiting Russia. There is a reason the West wants to isolate Russia....when you go there you fall in love...with the country.