Tag Archives: Moscow

The pedestrian street "Strøget" glimpsed from a cafe window in Copenhagen is the world largest and oldest. (©Julia Pelish Photography)

Cityscapes

I live in the city, have for a long time. I find there are times when I speculate on when or will I move on; get fed up with the density and activity that is constantly beckoning for my attention. But then another year passes by and here I stay.

It is easy to forget yourself and your own troubles by being a city dweller. I escape from myself as I observe all the varieties of lifestyles just walking around me. You can easily put your life into perspective; there is often someone better or worse off than you on just about any block. It is an education in human nature. And after awhile even the noise and commotion find balance with the quiet places and time you surprise yourself discovering.

I love exploring a new city and find myself fascinated by the dynamics of urban life: watching people congregate, socialize and live and work crowded together yet somehow autonomous. Looking at these photos, I am able to recall the sights, sounds and smells of these vibrant places.

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Cathedral of Christ The Savior in Moscow, Russia

Visiting Russia – Part Two – Moscow

Cathedral of Christ The Savior in Moscow, Russia

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, Russia. Photo by ©Julia Pelish Photography

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior is emblematic of the Russia’s sweeping sagas. Tsar Alexander I commissioned the cathedral to be built in gratification to God for Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. In 1860 after 30 years of construction the first cathedral was mostly completed (not counting another 20 years spent adorning the interior) and there it stood right by the Kremlin until Soviet times. Under Stalin’s orders in 1931 the cathedral was demolished making way for The Palace of the Soviets. One problem after another left the site a gaping mud hole for years with the Soviet Palace never being realized. Eventually the open air Moskva Pool (1958) filled the site thanks to Krushchev. When Yeltsin became leader, plans to scrap the pool and reconstruct the cathedral in its original glory were implemented. In 2000 cathedral number two was consecrated – it being an almost exact replica of the original cathedral and standing in the same location as if the Soviet era had never happened.

Wedding locks on the Luzhkov Bridge in Moscow, Russia

A mom and her daughter look at the wedding locks on the Luzhkov Bridge in Moscow, Russia. ©Julia Pelish Photography

The Luzhkov bridge (the official name – Tretjakovskiy) in Moscow is a pedestrian walkway that spans the Vodootvodny Canal. Dotting the bridge are iron trees cloaked in padlocks bestowed by newlyweds. It has become a Moscovite wedding tradition to clasp a padlock inscribed with ones wedding date and initials onto these trees thereby symbolically locking their union with the toss of the key into the canal below.

Flower shop on Kamergersky Street.

Kamergersky Street, Moscow, Russia. ©Julia Pelish Photography

When touring Moscow the grandeur of art, the impact of religion, the passion for history and the pride of tradition are on display everywhere along with depressing memories of Soviet austerity. I often just stopped to people watch and soak up the sounds of city life. Stylish young people energized and plugged in confidently strode ahead of slow paced grandmothers and the ever present policeman. My trip to Russia was too short. I know I only experienced a sliver of this amazing country.

Kiosk on Malaya Dmitrovka Street in Moscow, Russia. ©Julia Pelish Photography

Kiosk on Malaya Dmitrovka Street in Moscow, Russia. ©Julia Pelish Photography

To read more about our Russian trip for the Toronto Star check out my husband, Adrian Brijbassi’s article here.

Our guide in Moscow was Natalie D. who I mentioned in the St. Petersburg post. She is affiliated with Tours by Locals. Natalie is the knowledgable guide in my travel video for the Toronto Star. Her English is wonderful and we learned so much from her on the tours. When you visit Moscow make sure to look her up and say hello for me.

Walking down Tverskaya Street, the main street in Moscow.

Walking down Tverskaya Street, the main street in Moscow. ©Julia Pelish Photography

Want to know more about Russia? Go to Way to Russia. Very entertaining and informative!

St. Petersburg, Russia and one of its many canals.

Visit to Russia – Part One – St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, Russia and one of its many canals.

St. Petersburg, Russia is connected by canals. ©Julia Pelish Photography

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit Russia. First we went to Moscow and then to St. Petersburg. Adrian Brijbassi’s article about St. Petersburg is in today’s Toronto Star newspaper. You can go to the online travel section and read it here (plus you can view my video and photos too). He is certainly the gifted one with words in our family so I highly recommend checking it out.

Russian bride poses with her parent's in St. Petersburg.

Russian bride poses with her parent's in St. Petersburg. ©Julia Pelish Photography

For me it was all about the images and I couldn’t wait to start photographing this exotic land. As our plane made its descent into Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport my mental image of Russia still consisted of the stereotypical Soviet era propaganda version: gray, stark, official, and intimidating. Well that was about to change!

The Hay Market in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The Hay Market in St. Petersburg, Russia. ©Julia Pelish Photography

The Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s and it is a different country today. For one thing – it is now open to tourists. We hired guides (see links below) who were amazing; they knew their history and culture and their English was superb. The past sprung to life through their stories as we visited a treasure trove of historical sites. The art and architecture everywhere reflected the Russian people’s proud heritage and love of all things beautiful.

The ever stylish woman of St. Petersburg, Russia are everywhere. ©Julia Pelish Photography

Stylish women are everywhere in St. Petersburg, Russia. ©Julia Pelish Photography

St. Petersburg was humming with activity and was a visual delight. If you enjoy history, art, music, food, vodka, caviar and people watching this is the place to be. I could have walked the streets and canals for weeks just soaking it all in. The city is like a living museum and 3 days was merely an appetizer. I did manage to visit The Hermitage, Church of Spilled Blood, the Catherine Palace and Peterhof Palace and Park.

Cafe in St. Petersburg, Russia. ©Julia Pelish Photography

A cafe in St. Petersburg, Russia. ©Julia Pelish Photography

The most interesting part of my visit, though, was hearing the personal stories of people who lived during the not too distant Soviet past and the struggles they face today due to the fallout. The opportunity to be able to connect with others is the true gift of travel.

Note on the photos: I reworked a couple of my shots to reflect the feeling of history and nostalgia that permeates this city. I hope you enjoy them.

Look for our Moscow story and photos in the Toronto Star and here on my blog – coming next month!

    Our Guides:

Alexander S brought us to Peterhof in St. Petersburg; he is such a gentleman and showed us a wonderful day. He works through Tours by Locals

Peter from Peter’s Walking Tours took us on a Dostoyevsky Walk and Olga brought us to Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin. They were both terrific tour guides. Peter’s love of literature and knowledge of the city made for a great afternoon!

Natalie D. was our oh-so-smart and personable guide in Moscow, you will just love hearing her many stories that bring history to life. She is affiliated with Tours by Locals. You will get to meet Natalie in our Moscow video coming soon!