After six years of living in Moscow I finally found a time to visit the Kremlin ad see what's behind the Kremlin Wall. I had a nice stroll from the Kutafiya Tower (through which Lenin entered the Kremlin in 1918) all the way to the Spasskaya Tower, passing by the Cathedral Square. I attempted to approach the Senate Building as well, but the Federal Security Service people signalled that I can't come closer. It also turned out that you can only walk on the pedestrian walks and sidewalks, otherwise you are wistled and even shouted at, which I bet is quite a shock for international tourists walking around.
I was curious about the Senate Building because it is now the office of the President and I have always wanted to know which windows he looks out of. The building was built in the 1770s, when Moscow was not the capital of the Russian Empire, the capital instead was Saint Petersburg. However, Catherine the Great decided to split the Senate into several departments and moved two of them from Saint Petersburg to Moscow, where this building was constructed specifically to cater for these administrative needs. In the XXth century Lenin and his government occupied the Senate Building. Unfortunately, this time, I could not find out in which windows I should watch out for the President. Maybe next time.
This time though I spotted several gorgeous views of the cathedrals and the nature, that, combined, seem very Russian to me. I will just leave the pictures here as a reminder for the next time I become nostalgic when abroad.
Kirovsk was initially named after the mountain chain of Khibiny: it was Khibinogorsk when it was founded in 1929. But only five years later, after the assassination of one of the communist ideologists, Sergei kirov, it was renamed into Kirovsk.
The beauty of this town is Nordic and very reserved. The mighty powers of the mountains reign around. On sunny days from October through April you get blinded with endless snow all over the visible area. On windy days you can’t see mountains at all as if they were not there: snow storms leave only 10 meters visible ahead of you.
Northern lights are common guests in the town, we were lucky enough to observe one of them.
Kirovsk is heaven for skiers of all kinds: Central park offers several ski routes together with amazing views on the mountains surrounding the town. It is easy to get skis for mountain and cross-country skiing right on the spot - rental opportunities are abundant on all ski resorts as well as in the town where you can also get ice skates. There are fine places to eat, from a pancakes place in a local cafe to a posh restaurant with spectacular views.
You can get to this wonderful place, rather remote from all popular travel routes, by several means: via the Murmansk airport (3-hour ride on public transport), via the Apatity airport (30-minute ride from there), and by train via Apatity as well. You’ll never regret this trip even if the ski resorts are closed due to weather conditions: it’s a unique way to fully experience all wonders of Northern Russian winter.
We’re planning to come back to Kirovsk once we have a chance: connoisseurs say that in summer hiking in the surrounding mountains is terrific.
Well, Kirovsk, looking forward to seeing you in summer!