Another Day in Moscow

26 Feb

Yesterday, we took a field trip to the Russian State Library (Российская государственная библиотека).  Our attempts to see the Library without dealing with administrative hassles were thwarted, but we managed to register for five year memberships with surprisingly little trouble.  What we saw of the Library was amazing – aisles and aisles of card catalogs mixed with electronic catalog stations, scholarly reading rooms, collections of art, and, of course, lots of marble. 

The Russian State Library's Main Building

Here, books are requested and sent to designated reading rooms for users to access, not browsed/self-collected and checked out.  With over 43 million items in the collection, including some in English, I hope that Ben and I both have the opportunity to use the resources available during our stay here.  If nothing else, it will be an amazing place to go if we need to get away from our usual workspaces.

Since we were near the center of the city, we decided to walk to a park that was about 2 km away.  This walk included a “Wow, we live in Russia” moment when we quickly popped into the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour simply because we were walking past and, well, why not?

"War" Vice Statue

Our destination was Bolotnaya Square to see the sculpture garden entitled Children are the Victims of Adults’ Vices.  It is pretty much as crazy as it sounds with sculptures depicting the following vices: advocating violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, exploitation of child labor, for those without memory, ignorance, indifference, poverty, prostitution, pseudoscience, sadism, theft, and war.

Also in the park, there was a very small Maslenitsa festival happening with blini carts, pony and horse rides, and folks dressed in traditional outfits singing and dancing.  This is a week long celebration that will conclude today with the burning of Lady Maslenitsa, a straw effigy that looks like a babuska.

Newlyweds' Locks on Luzhkov Bridge

Next to the park is Luzhkov Bridge, which contains metal “trees” on which newlyweds affix padlocks before throwing the keys into the river below.  Once filled, the trees are moved to the path next to the river where they remain while the locks rust with age.  It seems like an amazing tradition and we were able to see at least four couples celebrating with family and friends.  Shouts of “горькa!” (pronounced gorka, meaning bitter) could be heard to encourage the couples to kiss to make it sweeter – a tradition that we learned at our friends’ wedding last October.

It was an amazing day of appreciating and enjoying the city.  The gallery below has some more photos from the day.

до свидания!

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