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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Out of Curiosity

What do we know about Moscow? It is the capital of the biggest country in the world - the Kremlin and Red Square are in the center, there are traffic jams in the streets and Muscovites eat borscht and blini.

Some Russian souvenirs.

I want to share with you some rare facts about my city. When you visit Moscow your knowledge might even surprise a tour guide who might not know that...

if you ride the Moscow metro towards the center of the city you will hear a masculine voice announcing the stations; but if you go towards the suburbs you will hear a woman! This is how the Moscow metro shows its care for the blind passengers. A man announces during my trip to work in the morning, and a lady guides me home in the evening.

...if you visit the park Kolomenskoye you may find 4 massive oaks which are peers of Moscow — they are more than 850 years old!

the annual average temperature in Moscow is 4 degrees C, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy sunbathing and swimming in summer when the temperatures reach 30 degrees C.

...the Tsar Bell inside the Kremlin weighs more than 12000 pood (200 tonne). The biggest Chinese bells do not exceed 3000 pood, the biggest European bells are no more than 1000 pood. If you rang The Tsar Bell, it would be well-heard for 60 km!

...if you look up you will see the soviet red stars on the tops of the Kremlin towers. These symbols are made of rubin and they are actually 3 to 4 metres wide, but from the ground they look like small souvenirs which would be great as Christmas tree toppings.

...the famous Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible wanted to marry the English Queen Elizabeth I and make her a tsarina of Moscow, but she rejected his proposal. 1930s the soviet government decided to destroy Holy Danilov Monastery (Svyato Danilov Monastery) in Moscow and to melt the bells. The American industrialist Charles R. Crane purchased them and donated them to Harvard University. The bells were returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in the fall of 2008 in exchange for 18 replacements cast in Russia for Harvard.

….when you arrive to Moscow you would probably enter through Sheremetyevo - one of the Moscow airports. You might see some rare animals working for the airport security as sniffer dogs -- the Sulimov Dog is a Russian Jackal-Dog Hybrid originating from an initial hybrid between a Lapponian Herder and a Turkmen golden jackal. Quoting Sulimov, the chief breeder, "My dogs combine the qualities of Arctic reindeer herding dogs, which can work in temperatures as low as -70C, and jackals, which enjoy heat up to +40C. They're perfect for our country."

 Me on Red Square, infront of the State Historical Museum.

Feeling more confident in Russian realities? Don't miss a chance to check everything out by yourself! You'll find much more interesting and exciting stuff when you arrive!

Michael TheMonkey


  1. Wow!! You leave me astonished with all the curiosities Moscow has!!!
    They are super-interesting, particularly that of the voice in the metro :))
    I would like to visit your city some time in my life, I hope I will do it :))

  2. I'm enjoying my travels with Michael the Monkey! Have you been to the States? Your English is excellent!

  3. Hi, Raquel! You definitely should visit it one day! I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

    Sandy, hello! Thank you so much! I have been to the States and I'm going to blog about it at some point because I really loved it there!

  4. Hello Michael!

    Thank you for visiting my blog! I'll see you here again soon!


    Hammie Hamster

  5. My mom has read a lot of books by Russian authors! One of her favorite books of all time is Crime and Punishment. That's as close as we've gotten to Moscow!

  6. Hello, Marlowe! Please say Hi to your mom, she has a good taste! I love Crime and Punishment and the other books by Dostoyevsky. He mostly writes about Saint-Petersburg which is aprox. 800 km to the north from Moscow. I have a post about it!

  7. G. has 7 baboushka's/matroushka's. She always wanted to have them and one day they saw a set in a shop. They are hand painted with beautiful details. And all the illustrations on the dolls are related to G.! Harr saw the glittery/shiny eyes she had when she discovered that the paintings were all things that G. loves. One by one the lady of the shop opened them and there they were: A boy and a girl, (Harr and G.)(the biggest doll). Then a girl in a red dress (G. loves red clothes), then a girl sitting at the table drinking tea (G. loves sitting at the table drinking tea or coffee!), then one with a very nice home (G. loeves our home)., then one with a cat, a rooster (her Chinese year astrology sign) and to finsh with the littlest one: A LADYBIRD! (she collects those!) Then Harr knew that they couldn't let this one at the store but they had to go home with us. If I think of it I'll make a post about them!

  8. That's wonderful! I love Matryoshka's, too! They are pretty funny! Also, i discovered they are extremelly popular in South Korea and Japan!