I had a morning free, and while it was very cold, it wasn’t snowing so I thought it would be a good time to walk along the Moskva River and see those sites.
I started out near Red Square and walked south along the front of the Kremlin and saw the very pretty and ornate fountains (that in November were turned off) that edged the park. The fountains wove in and out along the front of the Kremlin and were decorated in a colorful tiles and statues of various animals. They must be really spectacular in the summer when they are running.
Statue of Saint Vladimir
I wanted to head further south along the river to see some of the big landmarks (Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and Peter the Great statue), but there is really no way to cross Mokhovaya Street to the other side at the intersection of Borovitskaya Ploshchad (this intersection has a couple of other roads into it as well and and is incredibly busy). Since I also wanted to see the recently added 52 ft Saint Vladimir statue that is overlooking Moscow at the edge of the Kremlin so I continued going south for a bit before I found a way to cross the street.
St. Vladimir, also known as Vladimir the Great, was put into place in 2016. He is thought as the father of the Russian Orthodox Church, and this statue has generated some controversy since both Russia and the Ukraine claim him as their own. When this was erected it caused some disagreement with Ukrainians about the placement of the statue in Moscow.
Russian State Library
Once I saw the statue, I needed to backtrack a bit north so I could cross under the street in one of the many under-street walkways. These under-street walkways are very convenient and nice for pedestrians. Some are just simple tunnels that go under the road, and others are more like small marketplaces and have vendors selling all sorts of items inside. As I popped out onto the other side, I was able to see the Russian State Library, the largest library in Russia, and its monument to Dostoevsky, a Russian author and philosopher. I am sure on a summer’s day, a lot of people would sit outside on the steps, but on the cold day I was there, the square was empty.
As I continued south on the west side of the street, I saw a few murals. I couldn’t tell if they were advertisements or memorializing an event, but I found them fascinating with the bold color and imagery.
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
One of my goals was to see the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and the bridge behind it so I continued my walk near the Moskva river along the little shops. It was a quaint part of the city, and I saw my first school for elementary-aged children in my travels around the city. That was one thing I noticed walking around Moscow. The schools are not easily recognized from the outside. This one was only noticed since the kids were lined up ready to go inside.
The cathedral was inspiring. This site has had a troubled past. It originally housed a church in the 19th century until Stalin demolished in in 1931. A new church was planned six years later, but war halted construction for a long time. After the Soviet Union fell, the current church was built and now stands as a Russian landmark.
The cathedral was beautiful even in the cloudy skies, and the coppery-gold domes were defiantly colorful among the gray hues around it. I walked around the cathedral (would have loved to go inside, but it was closed that day) to the pedestrian bridge across the Moskva river on the back side to see the river views.
Statue of Peter the Great in the Moskva River
Another goal of mine was to see the controversial Peter the Great statue further south on the Moskva river, and the pedestrian bridge presented a nice view of it. It is definitely big and dramatic. It is 322 feet tall and towers over the river. It was built as a tribute to the Russian Navy, but a lot of the residents of Moscow do not like it. It has been listed on many ugliest statue lists and since Peter the Great wasn’t a big fan of the city of Moscow, many people wonder why he was used in this tribute.
The pedestrian bridge also gave some great views of the Kremlin looking more north along the river.
Here is the path I took starting north next to the Kremlin and walked south to the pedestrian bridge.
This was a beautiful walk, and I did not fight any crowds since most people outside were in a hurry to get where they were going and inside. I definitely had to warm up for bit after this walk, but it was worth venturing out in the cold.