Author Topic: My Trip To Russia  (Read 7566 times)

Solon

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My Trip To Russia
« on: October 05, 2016, 03:21:41 AM »
I am going to put up several posts about my August trip to Russia.

First, a few general comments. In view of our fraught diplomatic relationship, it might seem a risky move. Nothing could be further from the truth. My experience was positive in every way (except the consequences for using tap water to brush my teeth. More about that later.)

There were quite a few Chinese groups visiting and our Russian guides were very hostile toward them. They bring their own guides in violation of the tour regulations and are notably pushy and loud. (Americans have had the loud and pushy rap in other settings--but not in Russia.)

Moscow and St.Petersburg appear to be very affluent. After reading about the economic downturn, I was expecting to see people shabbily dressed. In Moscow especially, the average man or woman on the street was far and away more elegantly dressed than you will find anywhere locally. I was impressed.

There is a fashion among young people to wear shirts with English words on them. It is not about brands, it is probably just a fad.

Traffic jams are common when workers are going and coming from work. Eight lane highways are common in both major cities. Moscow has a serious pollution problem that interfered with my photography as much as the cloudy weather.

No, I didn't see Putin.

More later.
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Bill Wyatt

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2016, 08:15:58 AM »
Looking forward to more "Stories from Russia!" Be sure to post up pictures too! I'd love to have the experience.
It's a happy enchilada... (John Prine)

Solon

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The Kremlin as seen from the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2016, 11:46:50 AM »
The attached photo is a view of the Kremlin from a platform on the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. The church was rebuilt in the 1990's after Stalin had destroyed the old one. He had planned a massive state structure but the ground was too soft to support it. For many years there was a huge public swimming pool on the site. The Orthodox Church, with state support, has rebuilt and restored many churches across Russia and the process continues. If you look carefully at the photo you will notice the heavy traffic along the Kremlin embankment. In addition to the massive office building (Putin's office is here) there are three major churches inside the Kremlin on Cathedral Square. One was where royal babies from the Tsarist era were baptized, one was where they were married and one was where they were buried (or, as our guide put it: "hatched, matched, and dispatched"). Looking into the distance beyond the Kremlin in the middle of the photo you will see the monumental Foreign Ministry building, one of the skyscrapers built during the Stalin era.
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Bill Wyatt

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2016, 12:28:28 PM »
Beautiful! I can't help but notice the building front and center (just to the left of the bridge) with the two older C-Band satellite dishes mounted on the roof.

What camera do you use? Very sharp image!
It's a happy enchilada... (John Prine)

Riggins

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2016, 05:27:39 PM »
Thanks for posting,very interesting.

Solon

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2016, 07:19:49 PM »
You see those satellite dishes everywhere--in the countryside on the most dilapidated houses as well as on the most elegant buildings in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

My camera is a Canon Rebel EOS T5i, but the picture has been heavily manipulated. The smog plus the cloudy conditions in Moscow did not make for attractive photos. In the Golden Ring towns and St. Petersburg the sunshine presented a much better photographic environment. In fact, during our stay in Moscow we enjoyed the heaviest rain recorded in 50 years. We happened to be attending a lecture at Moscow State University on foreign policy no less and walked a mile in the downpour to get to the lecture room.
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Bill Wyatt

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2016, 10:16:29 AM »
How long were you there Solon? Anyone of significance presenting the lecture?

I got my wife a T1 a number of years ago. Got one for myself when the T3i's came out. Sister-in-law needed to get our niece (her daughter) a camera for a college class and I recommended the old Rebel. She has a T5i also. They are great dependable cameras.
It's a happy enchilada... (John Prine)

Solon

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2016, 08:27:49 PM »
Quote from: Bill Wyatt;98
How long were you there Solon? Anyone of significance presenting the lecture?

I got my wife a T1 a number of years ago. Got one for myself when the T3i's came out. Sister-in-law needed to get our niece (her daughter) a camera for a college class and I recommended the old Rebel. She has a T5i also. They are great dependable cameras.

It was a 17 day trip http://www.roadscholar.org/find-an-adventure/22350/beyond-red-square-an-in-depth-exploration-of-western-russia. Our speaker was Dmitry Savkin who is relatively young but has an international resume http://www.ion.ranepa.ru/en/about/staff/930/?ELEMENT_ID=930.

I took over 3,700 photos most of which are not memorable for anyone but me. A few are worth viewing and I will post some of the better ones as I discuss the trip. Without a great camera like the Canon it would have been impossible to take so many photos--several of my favorites were taken from a moving bus. I also carried a small pocket camera and those photos are atrocious. The Canon has deceived me into thinking I am a good photographer. The pocket camera keeps me humble.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]38[/ATTACH]

The photo above (also heavily edited) shows the Kremlin and its churches from across the river on the opposite embankment. The tall dome is the bell tower. Russians love(d) their bells and often there is a separate bell tower beside the church(es) especially in the monasteries. This photo was taken from a moving bus with the Canon T5i. I select the sports mode and it stabilizes the movement. That may slightly diminish the quality of the photo, but I was pleased with this one.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2016, 08:56:49 PM by Solon »
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Solon

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2016, 01:00:40 AM »
The Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow is a repository for Russian art. While Russian novelists of the 19th and 20th centuries are widely known, painters are not. The Tretyakov has a particularly fine collection of works by the "Wanderers" who traveled across Russia in the mid to late 19th century painting landscapes, portraits, and historical works. One of the more famous artists is Ilya Repin (1844-1930) whose dacha we visited on the Baltic coast outside St. Petersburg. Below is one of Repin's works.

 Ivan IV (The Terrible) killed his son and heir in a fit of rage. This picture, depicting that event is entitled Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16, 1581. Repin completed it in 1885.
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Because I admire the landscapes of the "Wanderers" I took some photos that mimic their realism. This one is a country scene (always with a church) somewhere between Suzdal and Yaroslavl, two cities that played an important role in the development of medieval Rus.
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This is Ilya Repin's dacha.
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« Last Edit: October 10, 2016, 01:48:21 AM by Solon »
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Bill Wyatt

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2016, 09:16:06 AM »
What an incredible trip! Just awesome! Keep the pictures coming.:D
It's a happy enchilada... (John Prine)

Solon

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2016, 02:17:41 AM »
Red Square in Moscow lies adjacent to the Kremlin and is famous among old timers like me for the monster military parades of the Soviet era. This photo shows the entrance to the area. Today the GUM Department Store, always a main feature, contains a lot of high end clothing stores. We took a walk through it, but shopping is not my thing. Another main feature is St. Basil's Cathedral. It's something of a symbol for Moscow and nearly everyone has seen its multicolored domes.

The entrance to Red Square
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St. Basil's Cathedral. The onion domes were supposedly designed to prevent snow accumulations that might collapse the structure. Another common feature of Russian Orthodox Churches are the kokoshniki--semi-circular structures/arches often appearing in "stacks" or superimposed on each other that are found on many churches as an exterior decorative item reflecting interior corbels of arches around the dome.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]46[/ATTACH]
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Bill Wyatt

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2016, 09:24:17 AM »
Beautiful. Is there any place in the world that has similar architecture? You don't see anything like this in America, anywhere.
It's a happy enchilada... (John Prine)

Solon

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2016, 10:46:06 AM »
I think you are right. There was supposedly some Armenian influence on early Russian church architecture, but it has certainly followed a unique path, although it has been based on Orthodox forms inherited from the Byzantine Empire. The Greek cross is the simplest plan for early Orthodox churches with a dome over the crossing. As the form grew more elaborate, side aisles were added and a narthex which tended to distort the original structure. Still, the multiple domes usually cover crossings so that you can view an elaborate Orthodox church as being built up from multiple Greek crosses.

In Russia most early churches were constructed of wood (beginning in the late tenth century--Russia was converted to the Orthodox faith by decree of Grand Prince Vladimir of Kiev in 988). The picture below is from an architectural museum of wooden structures near Suzdal.

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The tent roof is the dominant element in this primitive wooden church with a small onion-shaped "dome" more as a decorative rather than a structural feature. If you look carefully at St. Basil's, the tallest roof element is a very similar structure--a tent roof with a small onion "dome" more decorative than structural.

Traditional Russian homes also display some unique decorative features. The photo below is typical of older homes I saw in the countryside.
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This simple floor plan of a Russian Orthodox church is taken from Theology of the Icon by Leonid Ouspensky. It is not entirely satisfactory because it distorts the Greek cross layout, but it identifies the basic elements.
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« Last Edit: October 12, 2016, 11:30:34 AM by Solon »
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Bill Wyatt

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2016, 09:56:00 AM »
Fascinating. The wooden Church and even the home reminds me of some of the structures in Mongolia.


It's a happy enchilada... (John Prine)

cubsfanbudman

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My Trip To Russia
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2016, 08:49:04 PM »
ghenghis khan was so proficient in reproducing,1 out of every 200 people alive there today are directly related to him.
"the difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has it\'s limits"
albert einstein