Patriarchal Moscow vs. Soviet Moscow

Chodov Convent (1883)

If you had visited our city just about a century ago and come to see its panorama from the Vorobyovy Gory at dusk, you'd have been impressed by the number of churches with golden domes rushing to the sky with its crosses shining, and the wonderful bells swaying over the city.

It was the time of traditions, either religious, connected with church services or fast, or pagan, like Maslenitsa accomponieed by playing, eating pancakes, sleighing or swimming in an ice-hole.
It was the time of brilliant balls, given by Moscow aristocratic families, where all high society would be present.
It was the time of Russian tsars. Romanov dynasty would rule Russia autocratically for centuries. A tsar was known as God' anointed sovereign.

In 1917 everything was gone.

The Soviet government definately knew what the Communism should look like, and was determined to build it. First the place for it was needed. And later it was found - but the churches were the obstacle, which was definitely to be removed. An enormous part of old Moscow's treasury was destroyed at that time by means of explosions, less bloody than those of Al Caeda's, but no less destructive. The wonderful Saint Saviour was gone in order to give place to a fantastic Palace of Soviets, which has never been built though. For a long time there was a steaming hole, called "Moskva" Swimming Pool on the place of a cathedral.

The Soviet Moscow

The time for enthusiasts, for fanatics came. They believed blindly in the idea and served it headlong. They widened Moscow streets. They built the "Seven Sisters". They dug the Moscow Metro and built a fantastic station Leninskye Gory, that hung over the Moskva River. They were sure they went to the brightest future through repressions, through the War, through concentration camps - the gloomy grey apartment house on the Moskva Embankment remembers it all, but it can keep secrets.

The time for reconciliation came at last - and the whirl of changes turned Moscow into a peculiar mixture of what is old and what is more or less new. Now Stalin's buildings stand close to small newly-built churches. There's no more Dzerzhinsky monument on Lubyanka, but no one dares to remove the Mausoleum for it's a part of history, they say. We, Russians, now try to make amends, which make our city look quite dissimilar, but we don't care. We love it as it is and find it the best in the world.

Stalin's Grey Building on the quay vs. Cathedral of Christ the Savior