Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4




A second trip to Russia

Part 3: Cannons and cathedrals

Then off to the rest of the beautifully kept Kremlin where military men shouted with their whistles, "get on the right side of the street!" One doesn't mess around breaking the rules; I wanted to salute and say "Yes SIR!" but dawdled over to the right side of the street instead, pretending to mind my own business. There was not a language barrier even when walking down the street.

I would probably be a bit flippant in my own country, except here I had horrible imaginations of being put into a cold dark jail by a young 18-year-old military man.

The Arsenal building, on the grounds of the Kremlin, was built in the late 1700s; today there are 875 trophy cannons surrounding it, which were captured by Napoleons army in 1812. Walking throughout the Kremlin there were other cannons, gunners, and military type medallions on buildings everywhere, besides a physical military presence giving me an eerie feeling.

We witnessed two army platoons at separate times marching in formation. Upon reflection from childhood, I realized maybe what we were told was true that Russia was always prepared to attack us when watching the platoons coupled with viewing the "parade" artillery. We don't see this kind of military presence in my country even after September 11, 2001, except at the airports, which is now more low-key.

We weren't able to enter the Kremlin proper, but seeing it from the outside was amazing in itself. Around the corner are three cathedrals called Cathedral Square the oldest part of the Kremlin.

The Assumption Cathedral is where the Tsars where crowned and foreign heads of state were greeted in ceremony.
"What?" I thought to myself, "is this?"

I had never ever heard of cathedrals being on the grounds of the Kremlin, even during my limited research beforehand, I didn't realize this. Perhaps it was fate for this big surprise.

Watching numerous bald priests in brown robes meekly walk through Cathedral Square amazed me. Scanning the square I spotted some nuns, another surprise. After snapping a shot of the nuns we ducked into a cathedral and saw the most gorgeous fresco of Christ. "Christ!" I thought these people were atheists, which is what, I was told as a child, Communism is all about.

Another strike against propaganda learned in my country. I wondered, why would the Russian government preserve Christian cathedrals and art, if they were truly atheists? There is value in traveling.

We wandered around the grounds that followed by a fascinating tour of the now defunct KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti / Committee for State Security, USSR). The old KGB headquarters is now turned into a museum. We were only allowed to take pictures in two places.

The first was at the entrance of the regalia of the KGB and the Russian flag; the second was after the door closed after the end of the tour. While inside it was interesting to see pictures and read stories about the Cold War and the spy instruments used during WWII and beyond.

A Picture Poem: Fresco of Christ

Part 4: Standing in Red Square

this travelogue is part of the subside travelzine
about bookshelf links contact submit