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The colossal building with black granite columns and sculptures on the roof is the Russian State Library, often still referred to by its Soviet-era name – The State Lenin Library, nicknamed “The Lenin” (“Leninka” in Russian). The same name is attached to the adjacent “Biblioteka Imeni Lenina” metro station, or “State Lenin Library” Station, whose entrance is just steps away. But the large statue now standing in front of the library is that of author Fyodor Dostoevsky.
The building of the Russian State Library contains a vast collection of Russian and foreign books and documents in 367 languages. Contrary to popular rumour, they're not all about Lenin. The catalogue lists more than 43 million items. The collection includes many rare books, maps, items of sheet music, sound recordings, dissertations, newspapers and other publications. It's the largest library in Russia, and the second-largest library in the world after the US Library of Congress. The reading rooms can be used by anyone, not only Russians – provided they are over 18. A computer network enables Virtual Reading Rooms in a further 80 cities throughout Russia and abroad.
Construction of the Russian State Library began in the 1930s, but the library only opened in 1941. The architects strove to work-in features of neoclassicism into the design, which is decorated by sculptures, plaster cornices, and the gigantic colonnade of the library's central flank. The walls of the building are ornamented with bronze busts of famous writers, scientists and thinkers – a large number of sculptors were recruited to create them. The central colonnade is executed in black polished granite. The building's design incorporates the “Biblioteka Imeni Lenina” metro station, or “State Lenin Library” station into its lowest floors. Evidence suggests there is an access-point to the Secret Metro system, or Metro-2, within the building too.
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.