Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Living in a city that's older than the legend of El Dorado

Ok, so I realize it's been a while since I posted. I had a wonderful weekend last weekend, but I didn't take any pictures of the city. (The picture below is the only one I took, and I was just showing Victor how to use the stitch tool on my camera.) So, for now, until I take more pictures, a written description will have to do.

If I ignore some odd smells and the litter, Moscow is a beautiful city. Anywhere in Moscow, I am not more than a 10 minute walk from at least two parks (or so it seems). And if I can ignore the modern signage and huge advertisements for the likes of Audi, Pepsi, and Nokia, the historic buildings, ponds, and occasional cobblestone sidewalks are awe inspiring. It's hard not to think of the billions of people who were here before and the changes that have occurred over the last ten years or over the last century, let alone the last millennia!

In addition to my imagination, the architecture and plethora of parks inspire an interest history. In the metro and around town, Russia displays its abundant natural resources and cultural heritage. Granite and marble tiles cover most metro platforms, and each park showcases the pride and respect that Moscow has for her historical and literary tradition as many parks and metro stations are named after noted poets and contain large scale statues of / monuments to their namesakes. I am fascinated and enthralled by history and art, and Moscow encourages me to indulge in both.

I realize that so far I have barely scratched the surface of what the city has to offer. Over the weekend, my new friend Victor gave me a tour of various places in Moscow. He's has been here for eight years, so his knowledge of where to go and how to get places was invaluable. We went to Tretyakov Gallery and walked around downtown Moscow, avoiding the metro for as long as possible. Tretyakov Gallery is huge! It is definitely not something you can do in a day, and I don't think we saw more than a tenth of the artwork. We worked through eighteenth century portraits, moved our way to nineteenth century genre painting, and finally made it to late nineteenth century Russian impressionism. Next time I think I will get a map! The gallery is a large collection of all Russian artwork and like the parks, streets, and metro stations, it displays an almost overwhelming sense of respect for history.

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