If you would like to visit the Memorial Synagogue and Holocaust Museum while you Tour Moscow, it is located just a few hundred yards behind the Museum of the Great Patriotic War.
On our Day Tour of Moscow including the World War II Museum, you may substitute the Memorial Synagogue and Holocaust Museum for the New Maiden Convent if you wish.
For those of Jewish faith or anyone whose intellectual curiosity pushes them to learn, the Memorial Synagogue is a very interesting visit. I was there in Feb. 2012 with one of our Moscow tour guides, Oleg.
We braved -30 C temperatures to go from the metro to the Synagogue where I was completely taken by surprise.
The modern structure of the Memorial Synagogue in Moscow is in a wooded section of the expanse around the Museum of the Great Patriotic War.
When we entered, a historian who works for the Synagogue, Katya, gave us a memorable, personal tour.
In addition to being creatively designed on the interior with Jewish religious symbols in metal-art, the basement houses a high technology Holocaust Museum. Katya’s commentary on the evolution of the Jews in Russian society and their participation as combatants and victims in World War II was riveting.
I highly recommend taking this tour regardless of your faith.
Adjacent to the Moskva river and near the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was commissioned by Tsar Alexander I to honor those killed in the Napoleonic war of 1812.
The Cathedral took many years to build and did not emerge from its scaffolding until 1860. Some of the best Russian painters of the time (Kramskoi, Surikov, Vereshchagin) continued to work on the interior for another 20 years. The Cathedral was finally consecrated in 1883. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture debuted there the year before. At the time it was the largest Orthodox church in the world.
The Cathedral was destroyed in 1931 during Stalin’s regime, to make way for what would have been the world’s tallest building, the Palace of the Soviets. It took more than a year to clear the debris from the site. The original marble high reliefs were preserved and are now on display at the Donskoy Monastery. For many years they were the only reminder of the largest Orthodox church ever built.
The building to replace the Cathedral was never constructed. In 1960, on orders from Nikita Krushchev, an open-air swimming pool called Basin Moskva was built instead.
With the end of Soviet rule, the Russian Orthodox Church received permission to rebuild the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in 1990. Over a million Muscovites donated money to the project, and in 1994 the pool was demolished and the Cathedral reconstruction began. The lower church was consecrated in 1996, and the completed Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was consecrated in 2000. The cathedral square is graced by several chapels, designed in the same style as the Cathedral itself.
The first Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who died in 2007, lay in state in the Cathedral prior to his burial in Novodevichy Cemetery.
The Cathedral ‘s location provides a wonderful bird’s eye view of Moscow.
We can include a tour of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior before or after a tour of the Pushkin Museum of Art. They are across the street from each other.
Also while visiting the Cathedral of Christ the Savior ask your Private Moscow Tour Guide to show you the Love Locks on the Moscow River bridge.
St. Basil’s Cathedral is a magnificent piece of architecture that appeals to everyone.
The Cathedral is a uniquely Russian structure. The towers and domes lack symmetry and consistency, yet the effect of each structure taken together is a wonderful sight.
There are nine separate chapels, one under each of the domes. The central tower unifies the structure into a whole.
The Cathedral was built 1555-1561 to commemorate Ivan’s the Terrible’s defeat of the Tatar City of Kazan. The statue in front of St. Basil’s dates from 1818, and portrays Minim and Pozharsky who drove Polish invaders out of Moscow in the early 1600′s.
It was moved from the middle of Red Square in 1936 because it impeded the many parades that marched through the Square.
The Cathedral was named after Basil, one of Russia’s barefoot “holy fools” (the most famous one being Rasputin). Basil died while Kazan was still under siege.
The word “kremlin” means fortification, and there are many across Russia. However, “The Kremlin” always refers to the Kremlin in Moscow.
The history of The Kremlin goes back to the reign of the Great Prince Yuri of Kiev, considered to be the founder of Moscow. There is an equestrian statue, erected in 1954, on Tverskaya St. honoring the Great Prince. The white stone walls and towers of the Kremlin were erected in 1367 by Dmitry Donskoy. Totally rebuilt between 1485 and 1495, the Kremlin acquired its present appearance and dimensions.
At the beginning of the 18th century, Peter I moved the capital of Russia to St. Petersburg, but the coronation of Russian tsars continued to be held in within the Kremlin walls in the Cathedral of the Dormition. There you will see the actual chair in which Ivan IV (terrible) sat during the ceremony.
The Soviet government moved the capital back to Moscow in 1917, and the Kremlin became the seat of the highest state bodies, known as the “preserve,” where only those who lived or worked there were admitted.
Only since 1955 have the unique museums of the Kremlin become accessible to the public. The old cathedrals resumed religious services and the Kremlin bells, which had been silent for over 70 years, ring joyously throughout the area.
Also inside the Kremlin walls is the Kremlin Armoury Museum. The Kremlin Armoury requires a seperate admission ticket. It is well worth the price ! Inside the Kremlin Armoury you will find the Crown Jewels, various other gifts given to the Russian state, some Faberge eggs and even the gown worn by Catherine the Great at her coronation.
The Moscow Kremlin has been the residence of Russian tsars and hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church. Since 1992 it has been the residence of the President of the Russian Federation and his administration.
The Kremlin remains a unique monument of Russian culture and will always be a symbol of Russian statehood.