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The Kitai-Gorod Walls run from the round brick tower and make a turn behind the Metropole Hotel. The hotel is the building with turrets on the roof and large arched windows at ground level. The Metropole is one of the best-known examples of style-moderne in Moscow. It stands at the junction of Teatralny Road and Revolution Square.
The location now occupied by the Hotel Metropole previously housed a small private hotel and Russian Baths, built in 1838. Both were bought-up in 1898 the legendary businessman Savva Mamontov. His plan was to build a substantial leisure complex with hotel, theatre, art-gallery and sports facilities. But the best-laid plans of mice and men oft do go awry. In the same year Mamontov was falsely accused of larceny, and although a Court subsequently proved him innocent, he was ruined in the process. Most of his property and business interests were sold off to pay the debts he'd incurred – including the site of the yet-unbuilt Metropole Hotel.
Guests had to wait until 1905 before the Metropole Hotel finally opened its doors – locals had already nicknamed it The Tower of Babylon. The turrets, bas-reliefs, glass dome, latticework, and majolica panels had all captured the imagination of local citizens. The Metropole was fitted-out with the best its age could offer – lifts, telephone, refrigerators, and ventilators. There were three restaurants, which soon became the favoured dining-spots of Moscow's well-heeled businessmen and visitors alike.
The Western facade of the Metrpole Hotel has decorative panels illustrating stories from ancient mythology, and below it a sculptural frieze showing The Seasons. The Western facade looks out onto Revolution Square. In 1919 an inscription of Lenin's was added – ‘The dictatorship of the proletariat can free humankind from the servitude of capital’. It remains well-preserved.
Also on the Metropole's West Facade is a plaque commemorating a meeting Lenin held in the hotel with Mongolian revolutionary leader Sukhebaatar – promising the Red Army would aid Mongolia in driving out the Chinese. But the plaque is a lie – Lenin was dying in a sanatorium when Sukhebaatar made his epic ride to Moscow. Instead the Mongolian leader was met by Stalin's henchmen, who promised they would send troops to Mongolia. The first thing the troops did on arrival was to assassinate Sukhebaatar – and replace him with a puppet of Stalin's own choosing.
On the opposite side of the broad main road of Teatralny road we get a good view of the Metropole Hotel, festooned in latticework balconies and with majolica decorative panels. To the left of the hotel we can see the white ceremonial gates of Tretyakovsky road.
Look up to enjoy the outstanding decoration of the Metropole Hotel's main facade. Pride of place is given to a majolica panel called “The Princess Of Dreams” – the work of famous artist Mikhail Vrubel. The subject is one of the episodes in the play “La Princesse Lointain” by French playwright Edmond Rostand – the story of the love of medieval troubadour Rudel for the princess Melisande. The play was first seen in Russia in 1896 in St.Petersburg. The romantic tale of perfect love and beauty pursued at the cost of death itself quickly found success with the Russian public. You can see Vrubel's paintings and sketches for the panel in the collections of the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow if you care to find out more.
The hotel's main facade is decorated by a further majolica panel at third-floor level, illustrating a quotation from the philosopher Nietzsche – ‘Ancient wisdom once again – you build a house, and find you have discovered something’. Actually only the tail-end of the quotation is here – it begins instead on the Eastern facade. However, it makes the quotation hard to read. In addition to the wisdom of German philosophy, both sides of this facade are adorned with memorial plaques. One mentions that Lenin gave a speech at the hotel. Another mentions that the Red Guard gathered here for an assault on the Kremlin against the White Cadets.
Moscow is the capital of the ancient and modern Russian state. It has been playing crucial role for centuries. Here you can face all episodes of rich and gorgeous Russian history.
The city is full of historical buildings, monuments, cathedrals, museums and parks. It started many centuries ago from the Kremlin – medieval city-fortress overlooking the Moskva River. Now it is not only the government seat but open air museum. Behind the tall red brick walls palaces, cathedrals and museums are hidden. You can get there through one of the gates and walk along the streets that saw Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov, Peter the Great and all other Romanovs, and the Soviet leaders.
You can visit all the cathedrals on Sobornaya (Cathedral) Square, climb Ivan the Great Bell Tower, take photos of the Tzar Bell and Tzar Cannon, see state regalia, ceremonial vestments and gold and silver relics in the world-known treasury-house – the Armoury Chamber. To say more, the Kremlin and its vicinities are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
We would like to advise you not to concentrate on the Kremlin only. Now you can get out of the Kremlin through the Spasskiye Gate and find yourself on Red Square – the main square of the country where Victory Day parades take place. In winter there is a skating rink with some kind of souvenir bazar. Red Square is famous for being the part of so called Kitai-Gorod – the second ring of fortified walls. Here you will see the beautiful fairy-tale St. Basil’s Cathedral. It is open for tourists and it’s worth visiting. Other places that pay tourists’ attention are GUM (the main center for shopaholics), Lenin’s Mausoleum, the State History Museum and the small Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of Our Lady. If you go along Nikolskaya Street, you will get to Lubyanka Square with the imposing buildings of former KGB and the biggest in Russia Children's World Department Store.
If you decide to go through the Resurrection Gate you will find yourself on Manezhnaya (Manege) Square at the entrance to the Alexander Garden. It’s a large pedestrian open space and a nice place to walk and relax near the fountains. Underground Trade Centre ”Okhotny Ryad” or “the Hunter’s Row” is a paradise for shopping. You can continue your walk towards Arbat or Tverskaya Street. There are also fine buildings to visit and to take pictures of: The Shilov Art Gallery, hotels “Moskva”, “Nationale”, Pashkov's House, The Former House of the Moscow State Duma etc.
If you decide to turn round Georgy Zhukov’s horse monument you’ll occur on Revolution Square where you can visit the Museum of Patriotic War of 1812. From there it’s very easy to get to Teatralnaya or “Theatre” Square limited by the Metropol Hotel, The Bolshoi and the Maly Theatres. In the center you will find a beautiful fountain by Vitali.
All these sites and even more you will be able to visit and explore with knowledgeable audio excursion with offline map from Your Audio Guide “Attractions around the Kremlin”. You will find Moscow very pleasant for spending holidays.