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Exploring Rusland

By Anke van Aardenne
Wednesday December 30, 2009 - 09:19:00 AM

This spring I went with my Dutch friend Irene to Russia. Russia had 

always intrigued me since my husband’s grandparents had lived in 

St Petersburg before they fled to Leiden because of the Bolshevik Revolution. 

In Moscow we visited the Kremlin Assumption Cathedral with its many hanging candelabras and wall of paintings of saints. We walked along the Red Square and 

were impressed by the distinctive colorful onion domes of St Basil’s Cathedral. 


Beside the Church of the Twelve Apostles we were in awe of the enormous 

Emperor Cannon weighing 40 tons. The cannon was never fired because the 

iron cannon balls weighing one ton each were too heavy to load. Children 

had climbed on top of the cannon posing for their parents to take 

their pictures. We rode the underground trains and saw in the stations 

works of art with elaborate mosaics depicting Russian heroes among them. 


Along the Golden Triangle we saw the old town of Zvenigorod situated 

atop a hill overlooking the Moscow River. From a distance we could see 

the golden domes of the white Cathedral of the Nativity built ca 1405. 

The afternoon sun created a reddish light glowing through its oblong 

windows. The Monastery of Savva-Storozhevsky is a treasure which includes 

the 15th century Cathedral of the Nativity decorated with stone carvings. 


St Petersburg is called the Venice of the North with the Neva River and 

its islands, canals and bridges. The light painted the front façade of the 

Pavlosk Palace with a fairy like color illuminating its white Doric columns 

and circular green dome supported by another multitude of columns. In 

Pavlovski Park we walked past ponds, spouting fountains and along Twelve 

Paths adorned with its twelve statues representing mythological figures.