Thursday, April 3, 2008

Along Alexandrovsky Sad (Garden next to Kremlin)

This area is called Alexandrovsky Garden... but I didn't take any pictures of the actual greenery. It's not quite green yet, you see, and there's only dirt where next month beautiful flowers will bloom. I'll wait until then to show you larger scenes of the area. Pictures that I took of this area from high up in the library next to the Kremlin are in my first post from today.

The paths and benches in this park are always filled with both locals and tourists. On weekends there are newlyweds all over the place getting their pictures taken.

This first picture is of Kutafya Tower (built in the 16th century), through which all tourists enter the bridge that leads to the Kremlin. A bridge connects it to the Troitskya Tower (built from 1495-1499), seen tall behind it. The Troitskaya Tower is the highest of the Kremlin, measuring 80 meters including the star at the top. The bridge between the two towers was necessary because the Neglinnaya River used to openly flow alongside the Kremlin (it's now deep underground in tunnels).

The Soviets added the red star to the top of the Troitskaya Tower in 1935.

A plaque honoring the military guard outside of the Kremlin.

This soldier is keeping watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, commemorating all those who died during World War II.

Here the war is called The Great Patriotic War and Russians believe that they won it for the Allies. Victory Day (May 9) is one of the most important holidays here and your average Russian is both surprised and offended to find out that Americans think they equally shared the victory.

I can understand why they feel that way... Russians really suffered during the war. 23,100,000 citizens of the Soviet Union died! ( That's 10,700,000 military personnel/11,400,000 civilians). In comparison, the United States lost a total of 418,500 citizens (416,800 military personnel/1,700 civilians), and the United Kingdom lost a total of 450,400 citizens (382,600 military personnel/67,800 civilians). Put another way, 13.71% of the Soviet population died, while .32% and .94% of the American and British did. 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust.

I've never met a Russian who didn't lose a relative during the war, and many suffered much more. I'll never forget one of my favorite professors in college talking about the Siege of Leningrad, which she survived as a small child... They even boiled books (with leather covers) to keep from starving.

Behind the memorial are these beautiful mustard-colored walls with ornate windows.

The gates at the entrance to the garden are immense and majestic; here is detail from the ironwork.


Anonymous said...

Girl you are killing have some great pictures...GREAT...we spent 5 days in Moscow and loved every bit of it...DH favorite was shopping for be a fly on the wall..


Annie said...

Debi - the "fly on the wall" thing is always my FAVORITE way to go....the stories....

We were in Moscow once for Victory Day - it was wonderful! I have really been very lucky in our timing. We have also been in Russia for the first day and the last day of school.

Christine said...

I feel like I just went on a fieldtrip! Amazing photos.

garnet said...

Again, so wonderful. I'm loving this tour of Moscow -- and the little background details.

Those orange walls and the gate detail are amazing.