July 19, 2016

Day Fourteen — Epic Odyssey

The group fully took advantage of this unexpected freedom to enjoy a relaxed morning and unstructured day. Moscow is located on the Moskva River and is the cosmopolitan capital of Russia. Red Square is the country’s symbolic center and the site of Lenin’s Mausoleum, the State Historical Museum, the GUM department store, and famed St. Basil’s Cathedral, known for its colorful, patterned, onion-shaped domes. Bordering Red Square is the Kremlin, a fortified complex that is home to the President, and the Amory, where Tsarist treasures are maintained. Located nearby is the famed Bolshoi Theater, home to some of the finest ballet and opera performers in the world. Overlooking the Moskva River and Red Square is the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world, which was rebuilt in 2000 after being destroyed by Stalin in 1931. Not far is Gorky Park, the Central Park of Rest and Culture, and one of the most famous places in Moscow (thanks, in part, to the best-selling book by that name). Installed in 1928, it was the first park of its kind and the prototype for hundreds of others built across the Soviet Union. The Moscow Subway is worth a visit, not only as a form of easy transit around the traffic-congested city, but because of its remarkable, ornate marble walls, high ceilings, stained glass, mosaics, and chandeliers. The Moscow metro is one of the most extensive and heavily-traveled subway systems in the world, transporting about 9 million people around the city each day. After a day of exploring Moscow, it is time for a quick bite and early sleep in preparation for the long journey tomorrow.