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Outside the main entrance of St.Basil's Cathedral, within the railing, we see a bronze cast of Minin & Pozharsky. On the granite pedastal there's the inscription “erected to Citizen Minin and Count Pozharsky by a grateful Russia, in 1818”.
In the first decade of the C17th Russia was struck by the so-called Time Of Troubles – a sequence of illegitimate attempts to grab the throne. In 1610 would-be Tsar Vassily Shuisky was deposed, and the barons sat to determine a successor. Somehow it was decided to invite the Polish Prince Ladislas, and thus a Polish retinue entered Moscow in Autumn 1610. Disaster followed, and Russia found itself ruled by an army of occupation. Sweden took advantage of the situation to seize the Russian North, and took Novgorod. It seemed Russia could not recover from the situation.
The Nizhny-Novgorodian Mayor, and cattle and fish-merchant Kuzma Minin famously said “if the Motherland is endangered, then no possessions, family or life should be spared!”. But Minin and his friends had no military experience, so they enlisted professional help. And thus the Commanding Officer of these patriotic militiamen became Count Dmitry Pozharsky.
The sculptor has captured the moment in which a standing Minin is appealing to Pozharsky to come to the Kremlin, “and liberate the Kremlin from invaders!”. But Pozharsky remains seated – he is nursing wounds received in earlier battles against the Poles. Kuzma Minin offers him a sword, as the new military leader – while he himself will take care of finding the men and supplies for the task ahead.
Bas-reliefs adorn either side of the statues pedestal. On one side we see the organisation of the militia, while on the other we see the Poles being driven from Moscow.
Funds to erect the monument were collected from all over Russia, and it was decided to erect it in Red Square to mark the 200th anniversary of the events. It was originally put up by the main entrance to the Upper Trading Rows (today's GUM), opposite the Senate Tower, and where the mausoleum now stands. Thousands of delighted spectators watched the inauguration ceremony by the Parade of Guards.
By the 1930s the momument had already been moved to its present location outside St.Basil's – it was preventing Stalin's military parades where it had originally stood. But popular rumour suggested that the Top Party in the Kremlin didn't like the way Minin's gesture looked. In fact someone had already graffitied the pedastal earlier with “Oy, Count! Look at the kind of scum we've got sitting in the Kremlin, eh?”
In 2005 modern-day Russia resumed the 4th November holiday which had been suspended during the Soviet period – the Day Of National Unity (October 22th under the Old Calendar). The 4th of October went down in history as the day when the militia led by Minin and Pozharsky retook the city of Moscow. November 4th is thus also the Day of the Ikon of the Kazan Virgin – an ikon which helped Minin and Pozharsky in their great struggle. Prince Pozharsky knelt before the ikon, in Kitai-Gorod, and vowed to build a church for the ikon if he was victorious. And it was so.
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.