Monday, September 6, 2010

Architecture of Izmailovo

Note: I'm trying to learn a new version of Blogger's uploader and have succeeded in making a major mess. I've reverted back to the old method but the sizing from the new loader does not fit properly into my layout. As I have put hours into this post already (and have better things to do at the moment) I'm just going to publish it. Future posts should fit better (I hope). Please bear with me. I apologize for my shortcomings.

The colorful rooftops and the fanciful architecture of the Izmailovo Kremlin (fortress) in Moscow reminds me a bit of Disney World's Epcot Center. This collection of new buildings in old Russian styles is a famous market and cultural area with several museums. Unfortunately, nearly everything was closed the weekday that I visited.

I saw a sign that said photography was permitted only if you buy a permit so I went into two of the doors at the entry to pay. Both deserted. I wandered around looking for a sign saying "Pay for your photography permit here." Nothing. So, addicted as I am to picture-taking yet a bit worried that I could get sent straight to some Siberian prison camp, I started snapping photos. Out of nowhere a guard appeared and started speaking to me in Russian. He then pointed to the sign saying a permit was required. In my best sign language and questioning tone of voice I asked him where I should pay but evidently he couldn't imagine what I was asking. He shrugged and walked away. I walked over to two guys with huge camera lenses and they told me that they are professional wedding photographers and do not have to pay and did not know where I needed to go. I asked three other people and finally one woman chased down the guard and asked him in Russian then she kindly led me to the small, unmarked office. She told me that this was ridiculous. As much as I try to be sensitive to and respectful of other cultures I had to agree.

I would later learn that the mayor of Moscow has a reputation for being quite tourist unfriendly, not allowing signs in English in the subway or on the street. Sad. I believe we'd have world peace if everyone could experience the near-universal kindness of people in other countries. Certainly, the heart-warming, proactive willingness of the Russian people to help us with maps, menus and directions makes up for the hardness of some politicians.

At any rate, I hold a great appreciation for the massive yet intricate designs of the Russian Dining Palace:

The exterior of the Dining Palace was one of my favorite sights. What fabulous architecture! Don't these balconies beckon you to explore all these different levels?

I found an unlocked door and walked into one of the dining halls as it was being decorated for a dinner. Wow.

I'm guessing this represents some Russian folk tale:

These pretty rooftops reminded me a bit of Beaune, France. See this earlier post for your own comparison.

I would love to live in a small log cabin with these fairy tale window shutters. Funny, they appear to be too small to cover the window. I can't imagine that they would be purely decorative in old times. I wish I had a guide to answer my questions!

I love the unusual shape of the wooden Church of St. Nicholas; what fantastic architecture!

I like this view even better. What a great, curvaceous roof line. What a beautiful use of wood.

This front door looked inviting and and the style seems comfortable yet festive. I'm so inspired by these log structures I find I'm designing a small log cabin for us in my head. This entry with the carved pillars, stones and vines will do nicely.

It's not beneath me to take photos of trash cans. Especially one this unusual.

I do love this balcony and can't help but wonder how long it took to carve it. Imagine standing here looking into a forest of evergreens...ahhh.


  1. Impressive buildings and decorations, Martha! Definitely a place where I could wander (and take pictures) for hours.

    Re. the design and image integration: Parts of the text unfortunately seem to get rendered in a wider, yet hidden space. I hope you can repair this when you are back home.

  2. You have an amazing amount of good pictures on this site. Keep up the good work! You have given me many great ideas for vacations.

  3. Thanks Markus and Matt,
    I've had visitors and have been too busy to attend to fixing this post (which I think means starting all over with the original posting mechanism). Thanks also for your encouragement. Sometimes it seems like this blog takes a lot of time and I wonder if anyone is enjoying it. I appreciate your feedback!