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Nevsky Prospect is the biggest and the most visited street of St. Petersburg. Beautiful sophisticated buildings date back to the 18 – early 20th centuries. The Prospect is a link between the Admiralty and the Alexander Nevsky Square that begins from the bank of the Neva River then goes to the city center and stops near the Neva River. The street personifies the history of the entire city. Prospect has a distance of 4,5 km and the breadth of 25-60 m. The part between Admirality and the Moika River is the narrowest, and shows the initial width of the street. Moika, Fontanka and Griboyedov Canal – are three rivers that intersect the avenue. First, in 1704 and then in 1710 the Admirality and the Alexander Nevsky Monastery were created, so it was necessary to create a path that would connect this two buildings together and with the Novgorod Path, situated close to Ligovsky Prospect, Russian merchants used it in the 15th century. The building was started simultaneously on both sides; the path was going through the midwood. In 1760’s the road was finally finished, but not as straight as it was intended, it has a small curve in the region of the Vosstaniya Square. The avenue received its name in 1783. Starting from the middle of the 18th century, the Nevsky Prospect was then little by little filled with stone constructions; cobblestones were set up alongside the avenue and the lines of trees finished the landscape. The gas lightning first appeared right at the Nevsky Prospect. In the early 20th century, the street earned the reputation of economical center of St. Petersburg due to the great amount of Russian, Europe and American bank offices that were located in buildings, created specially for them. These days Nevsky Prospect has become the cultural heart of St. Petersburg. Alongside the avenue, various stores, bars, coffee shops, galleries and museums can be found.
Tsar-pushka – world’s biggest cannon, is an enormous cannon that was created to defend Kremlin and then was located on Krasnaya Ploshad (Red Square). The cannon’s name means a King of Cannons due to its tremendous size. These days Tsar-pushka can be found in the middle of Ivan the Great Belltower and the Church of the Twelve Apostles on the Ivanovskaya square, not far from Kremlin Armory and the Kremlin Senate.
In 1586 Tsar Fedor Ivanovich asked the best bronze caster Andrey Chokhov to construct Tsar-pushka. The weight of the cannon is about 40 tonns and the length is around 6 meters. Various ornaments, letterings and even a stature of Tsar Fedor on the horse with symbols of royal power garnish the bronze barrel of the cannon with a 120 cm diameter.
Today Tsar-pushka stands on the decorative cast iron gun carriage. Around the cannon lie fancy projectiles with a weight of 1 tonn each, made in 1834 in St. Petersburg.
Tsar-pushka is indeed a paragon of Russian gunsmithing.
Saint Basil Cathedral
Saint Basil Cathedral, one of the most famous cathedral in Moscow, has also a few different names: The Cathedral of Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat or the Pokrovsky Cathedral. This Russian Orthodox Church can be found on Red Square. It was constructed in the 1555-1561 due to the command of tsar Ivan IV Grozny (the Terrible).
Saint Basil Cathedral is more than representation of just Moscow, it represent the entire Russian religion life in general.
This astounding structure is made up of nine churches on one base, united by the gallery inside. For every church the dome is different with unique decorations. Before 1600, when Ivan the Great Bell Tower was created, the Cathedral, having the height of 65 meters, was the highest building in Moscow.
It can be hard to get the understanding of the interior design principles from the first sight, so it is better to walk around several times.
Today, Cathedral is mostly serving as a part of Historical museum, but sometimes worships can also be conducted here.
Another famous Russian city St. Petersburg is a host of the twin of the Cathedral – the Church of the Savior on Blood.
25 kilometers south from Saint Petersburg, in the town of Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo), home to the Catherine Palace, which stands out as one of the largest palaces of the area. As used to be imperial palace, it is a reflection of architectural waves of the time, which the building lived through, and personal taste of Royal Family of the period. The palace was built as a summer abode for Empress Catherine I by Johann Friedrich Braunstein, German architect, in 1717. However, the building was “beautified” by the Russian architects Mikhail Zemtsov and Andrey Kvasov according to a personal wish of Empress Elizabeth in 1743.
In fact, the regnant period of Empress Elizabeth was the time when the palace gained its present beauty and style. In May 1752, after the Empress determined the building as too old-fashioned and small, Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli was asked to remodel it. Four years of complete reconstruction passed by and the Catherine palace became an amazing example of Russian-baroque style building.
The humongous Grand Palace can be seen instantly. Furthermore, the overhead porticoes of the palace facade were set in order to the basic dimensional coordinates of the park plan in strict geometrical arrangement. July 30, 1756 the debut of the 325-meter Palace stunned the Russian grandees and guests from other countries. The final touch of the Catherine Palace was the Main Staircase in the Rococo style, which was built in 1863 by I. Monighetti, the architect of Russian origin. The Catherine Palace became a museum, after the government was overthrown in October of 1917. It went through German occupation period, when many pieces of art and family treasures were burned, stolen and lost. Nowadays, there are 32 rooms of the exhibition opened in the Catherine Palace. It was completely refurbished by N. Baranov, A. Kedrinskiy, N. Tumanov, etc. One of the most exciting exhibits for tourists is the Amber Room, that was restored in 2003. In 1716 it was a present from King Friedrich Wilhelm I to Peter I, in 30 years it was completed and put in the Winter Palace, although moved to Tsarskoe Selo by 1755. During World War 2, the decoration of the Amber Room was moved out by the German army to Koenigsberg, which was the last known path of it before it was lost.
By 2003, the 300th anniversary of Saint Petersburg, the Room was completely refurbished by local restorers, who were funded by Germany as well. Nevertheless, many legends and stories can be heard about the original pieces of exhibition – they are still covered with myths.
Christmas in Moscow
Beginning on December 18, the whole Moscow becomes a part of a great festival for the following 27 days until January 14 – beautiful art exhibitions, amazing street shows and performances, master classes on many interesting things, like cooking and decoration, delicious food and tons of souvenirs – all of this will be waiting for you on 38 venues. All and sundry can participate in various quests and contests.
“Journey into Christmas” is known as the world’s biggest New Year Festival and one of the most charming festivals in Moscow year-long. Combining traditions of Russian christmas and new contemporary ideas is what makes it fascinating for everyone.
Manezh Square is a start-off place for the festival, where one of the most popular sights of Moscow – huge glowing ball – becomes the largest Christmas bauble in Russia, as a part of the festival. Furthermore, the ball`s dimensions will be much increased and recorded at 17 meters. By the way, LED lights lines make a Guinness Record as their length is 9.5 kilometers long.
Russian map shaped labyrinth with a 17-meter high shining Christmas tree is what will amaze the festival participants after they see the ball. Moreover, there will be exhibitions dedicated to Russian history of various time frames hosted inside the maze – beginning with fashion waves of every century to Soviet placards will be shown to visitors.
Another great way of showing oldest Russian traditions is building a 100-meter high ice slide, which is going to be the biggest one in Russia. People of all ages are able to go through such an experience to remember.
Fun for children
The youngest guests of “Journey into Christmas” will have a ton of interesting things to do during the festival – Tverskaya Square is considered to be the main place of interest for kids. For example, Tverskoy boulevard will become a “Small town of Storytellers” where children are able to ride a carousel, decorate a Christmas tree, or learn to cook candies and sew pretty dolls. Also, they can learn how to skate, snowboard or even play hockey from skilled instructors for free, and the equipment will be provided with no charge too.
Nevertheless, different workshops and animations for the youngest are not limited by the “Town” – multiple other ones will be held in other areas of the “Journey into Christmas”.
Do not forget to dress according to Russian winter and start off your own Christmas adventure!