Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Moscow river cruise

As is the case in many cities, Moscow is at its best when viewed from its river.  This is what we discovered when we made our second trip into the city a couple of weeks ago.  Unlike on our previous visit when the weather was cloudy and cold, the day was gloriously sunny.  We hadn't intended to take a river cruise, but it seemed like the best way to see the sights and enjoy the autumn sunshine.

Arbat Street
We began the day in the Arbatskaya district.  This was on a colleague's recommendation.  He had told us that it is a lively Bohemian area with lots of street performers and vendors.  I guess we were there too early because when we wandered down the main thoroughfare at just before midday, the place was practically deserted!  We'll have to go back later in the day.  Because the weather was so good, we decided to save the museums the district is famous for for another day and, instead, head across the river to Gorky Park.

Audi on a ski slope!
This famous Moscow spot is popular with Muscovites all year round.  We're looking forward to seeing it in the winter when all the paths are used by skaters.  On this occasion, though, we were happy to enjoy the autumn colours in the trees and stop for a light lunch at Mercato, an Italian style pizza and pasta restaurant.  We were also diverted for a while by a promotional activity for the winter Olympics which will be held in Soshi in February 2014.  Audi cars were being driven down ski slopes and over slalom-like obstacles.  It was while we were watching this display that the boat-trip sign caught our eye and we decided to get on board.

Peter the Great's statue
For 450 roubles each (about £9), we had a 90-minute cruise down the Moskva river and back, giving us the perfect view of all of the city's major sites.  The first of these is the massive sculpture erected in the middle of the river and dedicated to Peter the Great.  It is fashioned to look like a ship's mast with the figure of Peter standing proudly in front of it.  We have since discovered the rather interesting and amusing history of this landmark.  The story goes (although some deny it!) that the statue was originally built as a gift for America in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's first voyage and that the figure was him.  When the Americans declined the gift, Christopher's head was removed and replaced with that of Peter the Great.  The statue was then wheeled out in 1997 to mark 300 years of the Russian navy.  When the authorities in St. Petersburg, the intended destination for the statue, refused to take it, it was erected in Moscow.  Since its appearance on the city's skyline, it has not proved to be very popular, not least because it depicts Peter the Great who loathed Moscow and moved the Russian capital to St. Petersburg.  It's not only Muscovites who don't like it, though.  In 2008, tourists voted it the 10th ugliest building in the world!  I thought it was rather striking!

Moscow State University

Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer


Further along the river, we passed the magnificent Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer before sailing by the Kremlin.  We then had a wonderful view of St. Basil's Cathedral before being blown away by the gargantuan building which is Moscow State University.  There are many different architectural styles to be seen along the river, making a trip well worth the fare.  I would recommend it to any visitor to Moscow.

You can see more of my photos of the river cruise

St. Basil's Cathedral

The Kremlin


1 comment:

  1. The Radisson Moskva River Cruise is an enjoyable and relaxing way to catch scenic highlights of Moscow. Five specially built boats serve to ferry passengers up and down the Moscow River with clear glass protecting passengers from the wind and outside temperature. Space at the bow and back of the boat allow passengers to step outside for good photo opportunities, but the clear glass allows good photos from inside.