Saturday 15 July 2006
Highlights: Borodino Panorama Exhibition, The Kremlin
We started off by visiting the Borodino Panorama Exhibition. This exhibition highlights the 1812 war with France and in particular a key battle about 100 kms outside of Moscow.
The panorama makes you free inside the battle field as it surrounds you and the background is a painting which turns into actual objects and it is hard to say where the painting ends and the objects start it is that good. We then moved on Victory Park which celebrates the victory in WWII. The communist ran out of money and left this site unfinished for 40 years. The current government found it was cheaper to finish it then clear the area. The famous St George statue slaying a dragon is here as it was the symbol of the Russian Tsars (as well as the British Monarchy).
We then moved onto a nunnery (for the Virgin Mary). This is were Tsars wives who did not produce a male heir used to be sent to as divorce was impossible and they didn’t want to kill then (unlike Henry VIII). Once the Tsar’s wife was married to God the Tsar was free to marry again. Later Peter the Great changed the law so women could be rulers (and Russia has had 4 women rulers after this). After a stop off at the Russian White House famous for Yeltsin jumping on the tanks in 1991 we then moved onto a tour of the Kremlin, centre of power of Russia.
This place is stunning however the highlight was the visit to the Kremlin’s Armoury Chamber to see all the jewels and weapons used in the past. There was one horse on display that had diamonds embedded into it worth a fortune. This was in Nicholas II’s time so it’s no wonder the starving locals decided they need a revolution with all of this display of wealth while they could barely eat.
Tomorrow I will visit the last dictator in Europe in the apparently backward country of Belarus, which is apparently more communist than Russia has been for 20 years.