A dreary day made a dramatic backdrop to a afternoon of sight seeing in Moscow. Moscow has a knack the dramatic. The massive churches with gleaming cupolas, the imposing concrete towers called the seven sisters, and the immaculate subway stations are just of a few of the dramatic, larger than life things to see in Moscow. Above is the the cathedral of Christ the Savior. I usually don't go too in depth with the history of places on our posts, but this place has a story too good to pass up. It looks like a relatively old building, but this version was completed in 2000. The original building that was completed in 1883 was targeted by the soviet government to be demolished, which they followed through with by blowing it to pieces in 1931. Stalin had a grandiose plan to replace the cathedral with the Palace of the Soviets, a hulking 400+ meter high building. They only got as far as laying the foundation when World War 1 put an end to the construction. The construction never resumed, but the blue prints lived on by being the inspiration for the seven (Seven Sisters) intimidating skyscrapers that are sprinkled throughout Moscow.
Back to the story. So, what to do with a discontinued mega-construction project? Make it into the world's largest swimming pool, of course. This pool was open year round and the water was maintained at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The cold winter air hitting the unnaturally warm body of water created a bellowing cloud of steam. The blanketed area of fog ended up being a prime location for gruesome murders. Crazy, it's like a plot out of a thriller novel! The pool was finally replaced by an interpretation of the original cathedral in 2000, where it sits now and hopefully forever.
We caught a great view of the Novodevichy Convent from the bank of the Moskva River. This place has few juicy stories in history as well from fortress battles to nuns saving the day by putting out bomb fuses to an exiled half-sister of a Zaar… I'll spare you the details. The vantage point we had from across the river was a great little walking path through a green area. This a good place to take a stroll, watch oil painters recreate the view and fight off souvenir salesmen pushing Matryoshka dolls.
We really enjoyed seeing the famous sights of Moscow, but one of our favorite things we did was simply walk around. Moscow is one of those places that is unmistakable; the signs on the buildings, the heavy soviet architecture and the storybook cathedrals makes this city none other than Moscow.