Day 2: Moscow (B)
Moscow, one of the largest cities in the world, is the symbolic heart and soul of the country. Your sightseeing tour begins at Red Square, dominated
by colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral and by the massive red walls of the Kremlin.
Visit the Armory Museum (Kremlin Armoury) is one of the oldest museums of Moscow, established in 1851, with its impressive collection of Tsarist, Russian, and foreign jewelry, armor, and other artifacts. The Kremlin Armoury originated as the royal arsenal in 1508. Until the transfer of the court to St Petersburg, the Armoury was in charge of producing, purchasing and storing weapons, jewelry and various household articles of the tsars. The finest Muscovite gunsmiths (the Vyatkin brothers), jewelers (Gavrila Ovdokimov), and painters (Simon Ushakov) used to work there. In 1640 and 1683, they opened the iconography and pictorial studios, where the lessons on painting and handicrafts could be given. In 1700, the Armoury was enriched with the treasures of the Golden and Silver chambers of the Russian tsars.
Then walk by Moscow University. Continue with a drive along the wide boulevards and a stroll through GUM, Russia’s largest department store and the main department store in many cities of the former Soviet Union, known as State Department Store during the Soviet era. Similarly-named stores were found in some Soviet republics and post-Soviet states. It is currently a shopping mall. Prior to the 1920s, the location was known as the Upper Trading Rows. The glass-roofed design made the building unique at the time of construction. The roof, the diameter of which is 46 ft (14 m), looks light, but it is a firm construction made of more than 50,000 metal pods (about 819 short tons (743 t), capable of supporting snowfall accumulation. Illumination is provided by huge arched skylights of iron and glass, each weighing some 820 short tons (740 t) and containing in excess of 20,000 panes of glass. The facade is divided into several horizontal tiers, lined with red Finnish granite, Tarusa marble, and limestone. Each arcade is on three levels, linked by walkways of reinforced concrete.
Continue, on the north bank of the River Moskva, passing by baroque Novodevichy convent; ending the tour at the popular Arbat shopping district, time to shop or enjoy lunch on your own. The rest of the day is at leisure.