Moscow - Russian Rivers and Waterways Port of Call

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    Moscow Northern River Cruise Terminal

    Moscow Northern River Cruise Terminal
    ••• Disembarkation Port for St. Petersburg to Moscow Cruise Tour Moscow Northern River Cruise Terminal. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    Things to Do and See with Four Days in Moscow

    Moscow is a wonderful city to visit, and travelers on river ship cruise tours to or from St. Petersburg spend a few days in Moscow. This capital city of Russia was our last port on a river cruise tour, and we had about four days to see most of the highlights. Our first day we did an overview driving tour and rode the subway under the Mockba (Moscow) River to Red Square. The next day we toured the State Armory and the Kremlin.

    These photos show some of the other highlights you can see with three or four days in Moscow.

    The Northern River Terminal is located on the Moscow Canal in the northwest section of Moscow at the Khimki Reservoir.

    Most river cruise ships sailing between Moscow and St. Petersburg use the ship as a hotel while in Moscow.  Because of traffic, it's often a long drive into the city, but the sights along the way are interesting, and you only have to unpack once for the river cruise.

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    View of Downtown Moscow from Sparrow Hills

    View of Downtown Moscow from Sparrow Hills
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour View of Downtown Moscow from Sparrow Hills. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    Sparrow Hills is the best place to get a great panoramic view of Moscow. The Sparrow Hills overlook the Mockba River and are near Moscow State University.

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    Novodevichy Convent in Moscow

    Novodevichy Convent in Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Novodevichy Convent in Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    Novodevichy Convent in Moscow was founded in 1524, and was once used as a sort of prison for the unwanted wives and sisters of the Tsars. Peter the Great sent both his first wife and his sister to Novodevichy. Since the convent had such famous nuns, it was very wealthy due to the many donations of the Tsars and their families. At one time in the 1700s, the cloister had over 36,000 serfs working in 36 villages. Novodevichy was ravaged by the French armies in 1812, but the brave nuns saved the buildings by disarming the fuses set to blow them up. The Soviets wanted to make the convent into a museum in the early 1920s, but it was again saved.

    Novodevichy also has a cemetery with the graves of many famous Russians, including Nikita Khrushchev, Anton Chekhov, Raisa Gorbachev, and Yuri Nikulin.

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    View of the Mockba River in Moscow, Russia

    View of the Mockba River in Moscow, Russia
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour View of the Mockba River in Moscow, Russia. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    The Mockba (Moscow) River runs into the Volga via the 79.5 mile long Moscow Canal.

    River ships sailing between Moscow and St. Petersburg on the Baltic Waterways embark and disembark at the Northern River Terminal about an hour's drive from the city. The drive time can vary significantly in length because of the heavy Moscow traffic. The river looks peaceful here, as it winds around the cosmopolitan area of Moscow.

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    Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer (Cathedral of Christ the Savior) in Moscow

    Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer (Cathedral of Christ the Savior) in Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer (Cathedral of Christ the Savior) in Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    The Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer, also known as the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, is the largest church in Russia, holding 10,000 worshipers.

    The original Cathedral of Christ the Savior was built over 44 years to celebrate the 1812 victory over Napoleon. It was completed in 1883. Stalin had the church destroyed in 1931, but it was rebuilt using mostly private funds in 1999. The new church is a replica of the original. Note that it took 44 years the first time and only 4 years the second to complete the church! Isn't modern technology impressive.

    One interesting tidbit is that it took three attempts to blow up the church in 1931. Stalin planned to build a huge Palace of the Soviets on the cleared land, but engineers determined that the land was too boggy. In the 60 years intervening, the space was used for a variety of things, including a year-round swimming pool!

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    Vendors' Market and Ski Jump at Sparrow Hills in Moscow

    Vendors' Market and Ski Jump at Sparrow Hills in Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Vendors' Market and Ski Jump at Sparrow Hills in Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    The panoramic view of Moscow from Sparrow Hills is a stopover for most tour groups, so we were not surprised to see a large number of vendors. The ski jump was a surprise, but Moscow gets very cold in winter, so winter sports are very popular. This ski jump is near Moscow State University and has a great view of the city. Seeing this ski jump reminded me of the famous Holmenkollen Ski Jump in Oslo, which also has a great view of that northern capital city.

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    Russian Soldiers' Memorial in Victory Park in Moscow

    Russian Soldiers' Memorial in Victory Park in Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Russian Soldiers' Memorial in Victory Park in Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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    Matryoshka Dolls for Sale in Moscow

    Matryoshka Dolls for Sale in Moscow
    ••• Sparrow Hills Souvenir Market Matryoshka Dolls for Sale in Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    I thought this display of dolls was beautiful! The Matryoshka nesting dolls range in price from just a few dollars to thousands of dollars.

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    Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow, Russia

    Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow, Russia
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow, Russia. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    This small band greeted us at the Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow. They played a variety of band music and made us all feel very welcome.

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    Grand Triumphal Arch Celebrates the Victory Over Napoleon in the War of 1812

    Moscow's Grand Triumphal Arch Celebrates the End of the War of 1812 with France
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Moscow's Grand Triumphal Arch Celebrates the End of the War of 1812 with France. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    This arch looks a little like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and it is located near the Victory Park Metro Station in Moscow.

    This Grand Triumphal Arch is decorated with the coats of arms from the 48 Russian provinces. To celebrate the victory over France in the war of 1812, it also includes bas-reliefs of the "Expulsion of the French." The arch was originally built in 1834, but has only been on this site since 1968.

    It is a little ironic that this arch resembles the Paris Arc de Triomphe, which Napoleon built between 1806 and 1836 to celebrate his French victories.

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    Moscow Metro Station at the Ploshchad Revolyutsii (Revolution Square)

    Moscow Metro Station at the Ploshchad Revolyutsii (Revolution Square)
    ••• Riding the Historic Metro in Moscow Moscow Metro Station at the Ploshchad Revolyutsii (Revolution Square). Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    This station near Red Square has many statues honoring the workers of Russia.

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    Moscow Metro Station near Victory Park

    Moscow Metro Station near Victory Park
    ••• Riding the Historic Metro in Moscow Moscow Metro Station near Victory Park. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    The Metro in Moscow is one of its shining industrial achievements. Construction on the Metro was begun in 1931 and continues today. The system has over 165 stations and 155 miles of track. Over 9300 trains, traveling sometimes as fast as 56 mph, navigate the huge system each day. Almost 10 million people ride the Moscow Metro every day, which is more than the New York and London systems combined. We found the Metro to be very efficient, with trains arriving every few minutes.

    Navigating the Metro system can be somewhat of a problem for non-Russian speaking riders. Most of the signage is in Cyrillic only, and the stations are quite large. Trying to find the correct exit while walking long distances underground can be challenging.

    On our cruise tour, we rode the Metro as a group with our program director from near Victory Park under the Mockba River to Red Square. Several of the group ventured out on their own during our time in Moscow, and many rode the Metro. They all returned with...MORE stories of getting lost underground, but none seemed the worse for the experience, and they all loved telling the tales.

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    Red Square in Moscow

    Red Square in Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Red Square in Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    Red Square in Moscow is a must-see for visitors to the capital city of Russia.

     

     

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    The Kremlin in Moscow, Russia

    The Kremlin in Moscow, Russia
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour The Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    The Kremlin is a favorite of Moscow tourists. Inside these walls are buildings for the government of Russia, cathedrals, and the wonderful State Armory museum.

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    Taras Bulba Restaurant in Moscow

    Taras Bulba Restaurant in Moscow
    ••• Shore Lunch in Moscow Taras Bulba Restaurant in Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    We enjoyed a traditional Ukrainian lunch at this cute restaurant in Moscow before checking in at our hotel.

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    Buses Wait for Passengers Outside Museum

    Tour Buses Wait for Passengers Outside the Central Museum of Armed Forces
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Tour Buses Wait for Passengers Outside the Central Museum of Armed Forces. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    River cruise tour groups are usually divided into groups for the duration of the tour. Each group had their own bus when touring.

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    Military Airplanes at the Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow, Russia

    Military Airplanes at the Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow, Russia
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Military Airplanes at the Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow, Russia. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    Although much of the military museum was indoors, there was quite a collection of planes, helicopters, missile launchers, and tanks outside.

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    Foreign Ministry Building, One of Moscow's Seven Stalinist-Gothic Skyscrapers

    Foreign Ministry Building, One of Moscow's Seven Stalinist-Gothic Skyscrapers
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Foreign Ministry Building, One of Moscow's Seven Stalinist-Gothic Skyscrapers. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    Seven skyscrapers with layers giving them a "wedding cake" appearance dot the Moscow skyline. The style is considered Stalinist-Gothic.

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    Russian and American War Veterans at the Central Museum of Armed Forces

    Russian and American War Veterans at the Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Russian and American War Veterans at the Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    Meeting with some World War II Russian War veterans was a highlight of our day at the Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow.

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    Rocket Launchers and Missiles at the Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow

    Rocket Launchers and Missiles at the Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Rocket Launchers and Missiles at the Central Museum of Armed Forces in Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    The inside of this museum is particularly impressive, but you will need a guide since all of the signage is only in Russian.

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    Old Arbat Pedestrian Shopping Area in Moscow

    Old Arbat Pedestrian Shopping Area in Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Old Arbat Pedestrian Shopping Area in Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    We all enjoyed exploring the shops on this mile-long pedestrian shopping area.

    Food prices were high in the tourist attraction, with two small pizzas, two small beers, and a bottle of water at an outdoor cafe costing $40. Many of our group ate at the large McDonalds, where prices were more reasonable.

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    Female Cosmonaut Model at Star City Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow

    Female Cosmonaut Model at Star City Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Female Cosmonaut Model at Star City Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    Female cosmonauts play an important role in the Russian space program. In 1963, Valentina Tereshkova from Yaroslavl was the first woman in space.

     

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    Souvenir Shop in Old Arbat Shopping Area in Moscow

    Souvenir Shop in Old Arbat Shopping Area in Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Souvenir Shop in Old Arbat Shopping Area in Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    The area of Old Arbat had many English signs to attract the tourist trade.

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    Centrifuge at Star City Outside Moscow, Russia

    Centrifuge at Star City Outside Moscow, Russia
    ••• Day Trip from Moscow to Star City from a Russian Waterways Cruise Human Centrifuge at Star City Outside Moscow, Russia. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    This 18 meter centrifuge is the world's largest. The centrifuge weighs over 30000 tons, and the maximum load is 30 G, but most tests are run at 3 or 4 G.

    A centrifuge ride is the first test for a cosmonaut, whose entire training school takes from five to eight years. The centrifuge can simulate the extreme force of gravity that cosmonauts (and astronauts) face when going into space. A centrifuge training session lasts about 30 minutes, and the trainee experiences both the centrifugal force as well as the spin of the pod he/she is riding in. Just typing this makes me a little queasy!

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    Cosmonaut's Bathroom Facilities on First Space Flights at Star City

    Cosmonaut's Bathroom Facilities on First Space Flights at Star City
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Cosmonaut's Bathroom Facilities on First Space Flights at Star City. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    Just like in the USA, everyone who visits the Star City cosmonaut training center near Moscow wants to know how cosmonauts "go to the bathroom". They have more sophisticated equipment today, but this contraption from the early space flights is fairly self explanatory.

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    Star City Tank Used for Cosmonaut Weightlessness Training near Moscow

    Star City Tank Used for Cosmonaut Weightlessness Training near Moscow
    ••• Day Trip from Moscow to Star City from a Russian Waterways Cruise Star City Tank Used for Cosmonaut Weightlessness Training near Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    This 12-meter deep pool is used to simulate weightlessness training. The pool is flooded and the cosmonauts perform repair tasks on the model of the International Space Station. SCUBA diving underwater is very similar to the weightless experience the cosmonauts experience when working in outer space.

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    Mir Space Station Replica at Star City near Moscow

    Mir Space Station Replica at Star City near Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Mir Space Station Replica at Star City near Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    The original Mir disintegrated when it fell to earth in 2001. Mir, which means peace in Russian, was launched in 1986.

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    Marvel Paull with Statue of Yuri Gagarin at Star City near Moscow

    Marvel Paull with Statue of Yuri Gagarin at Star City near Moscow
    ••• Day Trip from Moscow to Star City from a Russian Waterways Cruise Marvel Paull with Statue of Yuri Gagarin at Star City near Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space, and the Star City Cosmonaut training center was named after him in 1968.

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    River Cruise Passengers with Yuri Onufrienko, Russian Cosmonaut at Star City

    Cruise tour passengers with Yuri Onufrienko, Russian Cosmonaut at Star City
    ••• Day Trip from Moscow to Star City from a Russian Waterways Cruise Cruise tour passengers with Yuri Onufrienko, Russian Cosmonaut at Star City. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    In case you can't tell, Yuri is the one in the middle. My famous traveling mother, Marvel Paull, is on the left and Dick, a cruise friend is on the right.

    A highlight of our day in Star City was a visit with Yuri Onufrienko, a Russian cosmonaut who spent extended time in space at the Mir space station in 1996 and the International Space Station in 2001-2002. Yuri patiently took many questions from our small inquisitive group.

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    Cosmonaut Space Suit at Star City near Moscow

    Cosmonaut Space Suit at Star City near Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Cosmonaut Space Suit at Star City near Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    Cosmonauts sit in this position on take off. Thanks to Jerry G. for the tip about the sign. It says, "Don't touch!"

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    Stained Glass Window at Star City near Moscow

    Stained Glass Window at Star City near Moscow
    ••• Day Trip from Moscow to Star City from a Russian Waterways Cruise Stained Glass Window at Star City near Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison
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    Program Directors at Farewell Dinner in Moscow

    Program Directors at Farewell Dinner in Moscow
    ••• Things to See in Moscow, Russia from a Russian Waterways Cruise Tour Program Directors at Farewell Dinner in Moscow. Moscow Picture (c) Linda Garrison

    After 16 days of discovery, learning, and fun, we had a farewell dinner with the six Program Directors - Evgeny, Olga, Vladimir, Svetlana, Violetta, and Marina - in Moscow.

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    The Kremlin in Moscow, Russia

    Cathedral of the Annunciation in Moscow
    ••• Kremlin Complex Is One of Top Attractions in Moscow The Cathedral of the Annunciation was the family church of the Tsars of Russia. Moscow (c) Linda Garrison

    The Kremlin is a triangular, walled citadel in the center of Moscow. The Kremlin is considered by most to be the heart of the city. First conceived in the 12th century, the Kremlin (which means fortress) was expanded by Tsar Ivan III (Ivan the Great) during the 15th century. His architects designed the magnificent Cathedral of the Assumption and the Faceted Palace, and the Kremlin was an interesting mix of both Russian and Renaissance styles. During the Soviet time of the 1930s, many of the Kremlin buildings were destroyed or vandalized, and the complex remained closed to the public until 1955.

    Today the Kremlin is home to the Russian President and his administration. Many buildings are open to the public, but you may need to be with a guide (check in advance).

    I visited the Kremlin when in Moscow on a Russian Waterways cruise tour from St. Petersburg.

    The Kremlin was also one of the 21 finalists for the New Seven Wonders of the World.  

     

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    Red Square in Moscow, Russia

    GUM Shopping Mall in Moscow at Night
    ••• Red Square Is One of World's Largest (and Grandest) Public Squares The GUM Shopping Mall on Red Square at Mosow is brightly lit up at night. Moscow (c) Linda Garrison

    Red Square's name has nothing to do with Communism or Soviet Russia. The old Russian word for "beautiful" and "red" was the same; the square was supposed to be called "Beautiful Square". Red Square has been the center of Moscow activity since the 16th century when the Tsar cleared the area and allowed vendors, shoppers, and businesses to fill the square. Today this square is surrounded by the Moscow Kremlin, the State Historical Museum, GUM Shopping Mall, and St. Basil's Cathedral.

    Many of the important events of the last three hundred years in Russia have been marked by parades or demonstrations in Red Square. Anyone who enters Red Square will have memories from TV or movie reels of this magnificent public square. Those of us who grew up during the Cold War era can remember the parades of soldiers, tanks, and other armaments past Lenin's Tomb just outside the Kremlin Wall. The World War II generation remembers Red Square as the site of a huge victory celebration at the end of the war.