Favorite Views from Red Square.

You guys, I'm getting braver and braver all the time.

I went to Red Square all by myself! (I will never stop being amazed at my courage in braving the Moscow streets and public transportation system.)

Red Square is quite possibly one of my all-time favorite places in Russia.  Since you can't be here with me, I'm going to give you a virtual tour of the sights I saw in a blatant attempt to bribe you into coming over here.  You never know, it may work.

This is one of my favorite buildings on Red Square.  It's the first building you see when you get out of the Metro, as well as the entrance to the plaza in front of St. Isaac's cathedral.

Can we talk about how beautiful that architecture is? And the brick color?? And the wooden windows??? 

Probably the thing I love most about this place is the implied symbolism.  It is just so...Russian.  It's beautiful.  The Russian people, as a whole, have been through so much, but they are still so strong.  This building has been here for centuries, and it has stood through decades of troubled times, of Imperial dictatorship, of revolutions, of communism, and of government failure, but it still emerges as beautiful and powerful as ever.  There is a noble mysticism baked into this brick.  These buildings have seen so much.

Here's a close-up shot of the building.  I love the brickwork--it's so beautiful and vibrant.

Also: I kiiiiiiind of have a love affair with wood.  Which, in Russia, is seemingly everywhere.

If the doors to my house looked like this, I would 1) probably be rich and 2) die a happy woman.  Remind me to tell Tim to build me a house like this. I'm sure he'll jump right on it.

Another beautiful church. I want to draw it, but I'm a little scared of all the lines and proportions. 

Okay...that was a lie.  I'm A LOT scared.

The famous and beautiful St. Basil's! Tim calls it the Legoland Church because of the bright colors.  I absolutely love it. They light it up at night and it looks so beautiful.

I apologize to you photographers who may be reading this--this picture was really backlit so it was hard to capture. 

Each angle of the church is different.  It reminds me of candy.

In between the red brick entry building and St. Basil's is a huge open plaza area.  It's bordered by those two buildings north and south, and by a shopping mall and the Kremlin walls on the east and west. 

They had set up a huge sports camp thing in the plaza when I went.

 Can you imagine playing your soccer tournament in front of St. Basil's?

Remember how one of the sides of the plaza is bordered by a shopping mall? Go ahead.  Picture an American shopping mall.  You're picturing an ugly, square brick building with huge department store signs and a big parking lot, aren't you? 

Let me show you a Russian shopping mall, a la Red Square:

This beautiful building is a shopping mall.

That's right, a mall. Isn't that crazy? 

 It's one of two ultra-high end malls in Moscow.  This one is Гум (Goom) and the other one is Цум (Tsum).  It's as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, but I didn't walk through it today.

From this picture, you can see St. Basil's on the left, Lenin's Mausoleum in the middle, and the Kremlin wall and clock tower on the right.  Last time we came, Lenin's Mausoleum was closed but they have since reopened it.  That is definitely on our Russian Bucket List.  Creepy embalmed body of a famous Russian revolutionary? Heck yes.

Don't mess around with the Russian guards.  They look serious.  What is it about policemen that always makes you feel so guilty, like they might arrest you at any second? Whatever it is, Russian policemen make me feel that way...times like A BILLION.

Aaaaand probably my favorite moment of the day...

They also had a stage set up for dancers and performers.  It was very cool; I got to watch a lot of traditional Russian folk dancing.  I sat and watched for about 45 minutes. 

Then this happened:

You know, just, like, in between being mean and angry-looking all the time, shooting guns, training in the Army, and looking like they belong in a video game, these guys also like to rock out and play electronic keyboards.  

They actually weren't half bad.

Some folk dancers waiting to perform.  I love the embroidery on their costumes.  I did get some video, so maybe I'll put it up later if I feel like editing it. 

This is one of the towers on the Kremlin wall.  The stars at the top light up at night.

Could you get a more gorgeous sky?

 Maybe next week I'll be even more brave and try to actually draw some of it.  


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