The egg “Memory of Azov” is the only one in the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums, commissioned by Emperor Alexander III. It was presented to his wife, Maria Fyodorovna, on Easter in 1891 and dedicated to the journey of Tsarevich Nicholas and his brother George to the East aboard the cruiser “Memory of Azov” (Pamiat Azova). The itinerary included Greece, Egypt, India, China, and Japan. The Easter egg is made of heliotrope (a kind of jasper) and decorated with gold and diamonds in the rococo style. The surprise within is a miniature gold and platinum replica of the Imperial cruiser, fixed on a piece of aquamarine representing the water.
In my opinion, one of the most beautiful metro stations in Moscow is Arbatskaya (dark blue line). Completed in 1953, the year of Stalin’s death, it was intended to be used as a bomb shelter, if necessary. Look at that bomb shelter! The long 250 meter platform is also very deep - 41 meters underground. The station represents an example of Stalinist baroque style, its opera clothes include white arched ceilings, bronze chandeliers, ceramic bouquets of flowers, red marble decorations, and glazed tiles. Arbatskaya station can boast a unique design. It was not yet time for austerity and criticism of luxury in Soviet architecture. Up to 1955 metro stations were built on the individual projects. They looked like palaces. Later, between 1955 and 1970 mostly functional aspects prevailed.
Before 1955 in one of the escalator vestibules one could see a mosaic portrait of Stalin (sculptor G. Opryshko).
The same place today:
The church of the Intercession of the Virgin at Fili, a lithograph of the early 19th century.
The Church of the Intercession of the Virgin at Fili is located at Novozavodskaya Street. Fili metro station is a short walk, not more than 200m. The church was built between 1689 and 1693 by a boyar Naryshkin, the uncle of Peter the Great. Actually it consists of two churches, a winter one in the basement and a summer church above it, which was never heated. The new architectural style was formed at the end of the XVII century in Moscow. It is known as the Naryshkin Baroque and is also called Moscow Baroque style.
The exhibition of Konstantin Korovin (1861-1939), Russian Impressionist painter, dedicated to his 150th birth anniversary is open till August, 12 at the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val, 10. The last exhibition like this took place in Moscow in 1922.
Konstantin Korovin. Gurzuf, 1914
The Tsar Nicholas II presented this Easter egg to his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna in 1908. It was made of Sayan jade and decorated with miniature watercolor portraits of the tsar’s daughters and Tsarevich Alexei. Portraits frames and the first letters of the names over them were lined with diamonds. The surprise inside was the exact gold model of the Alexander Palace with rock crystal windows and a roof of green enamel. Originally this country residence was built by order of Catherine II as a wedding gift to her beloved grandson, Alexander. In the reign of Nicholas II the royal family mostly lived in Tsarskoye Selo at this palace. Jade was considered a symbol of love, hope, and happiness.
The Armoury Chamber collection, Moscow
Independent travelers sometimes complain that it is difficult to find the entrance to the Kremlin museums. It’s quite easy.
The main entrance is through the Kutafya tower.
1. First of all, please, do not try to enter the Kremlin from Red square. It is useless and even unsafe if you insist.
2. Look at the map. There are two entrances for us (shown by red arrows), both are located on the side of Alexandrovsky gardens (Alexandrovsky Sad in Russian). The main one is through the Kutafya tower (1). To visit the Armoury chamber and the Diamond Fund go to the end of the Gardens along the Kremlin wall to the Borovitskaya Tower (2).
View of the Bolshoi Theatre before the fire of 1853, a lithograph of L.J.Arnu.
The original building designed by Joseph Bové was opened in 1825.
After the fire the new building of the Bolshoi was constructed by Alberto Cavos in 1856.
The Bolshoi Theatre in 2012:
I was asked, when Maslenitsa starts this year in Russia.
This year, Maslenitsa week starts tomorrow on February, 20, and will last till Sunday, February 26. It always takes place during the week before Lent. Maslenitsa is a celebration of the end of winter and welcoming the approaching spring, and hence of warmth, hope, and joy. I believe nobody painted Maslenitsa better than Boris Kustodiyev.
The Caravaggio exhibition at the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum runs until February 19, 2012.
If you want to escape long queueing and freezing come at 10am.
“Snowshow” by Slava Polunin is in Moscow again.
I recommend you don’t miss it!
He is a magician. He will turn you into children.