SARA and MACK in


July 11-26, 2006



The capital of the Russian Federation, Moscow is one of the world’s largest cities with its 8.3 million inhabitants. It is a major political, cultural, scientific, and industrial center. Strategically located in the center of European Russia, Moscow stretches along the banks of the Moscow River. This river, together with the Yauza, is navigable by sizable ships. Moscow was founded in 1147 by Yuri Dolgorukii — Yuri of the Long Arm. In the 14th century, the city united with several surrounding territories, and Ivan I moved his capital from Vladimir to Moscow, which became the seat of the Grand-Dukes of Muscovy and later of the Tsars of All Russia. The Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church also moved from Vladimir to Moscow. Artisans and merchants settled outside the fortified inner city (the Kremlin). The main driving force behind this was the need to unify for defense against the Tatar invaders. The Kremlin was first surrounded by wooden walls. Later these were replaced by limestone construction; finally, in the late 15th century, the current brick walls were constructed. A third ring of brick walls and towers surrounded Kitaigorod, and later a fourth ring of earthworks and towers made a huge circle around the town, which by then had spread to the other side of the river.


The ship was docked.

The former KGB Headquarters

One of the Peter the Great monuments

View of Moscow

Cheryl Shevlin (left), Mack and Sara are the original members of Class of 1970 at Gallaudet.

Behind is Moscow State University.



The famous St. Basil's Cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible and built on the edge of Red Square between 1555 and 1561. Legend has it that on completion of the church the Tsar ordered the architect, Postnik Yakovlev, to be blinded to prevent him from ever creating anything to rival its beauty again. (He did in fact go on to build another cathedral in Vladimir despite his ocular impediment!) The cathedral was built to commemorate Ivan the Terrible's successful military campaign against the Tartar Mongols in 1552 in the besieged city of Kazan. Victory came on the feast day of the Intercession of the Virgin, so the Tsar chose to name his new church the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat, after the moat that ran beside the Kremlin. The church was given the nickname "St. Basil's" after the "holy fool" Basil the Blessed (1468-1552), who was hugely popular at that time with the Muscovites masses and even with Ivan the Terrible himself. St. Basil's was built on the site of the earlier Trinity Cathedral, which at one point gave its name to the neighboring square.

St. Basil's is a delightful array of swirling colors and redbrick towers. Its design comprises nine individual chapels, each topped with a unique onion dome and each commemorating a victorious assault on the city of Kazan. In 1588 the ninth chapel was erected to house the tomb of the church's namesake, Basil the Blessed. The church's design is based on deep religious symbolism and was meant to be an architectural representation of the New Jerusalem - the Heavenly Kingdom described in the Book of Revelation of St. John the Divine. The eight onion dome-topped towers are positioned around a central, ninth spire, forming an eight-point star. The number eight carries great religious significance; it denotes the day of Christ's Resurrection (the eighth day by the ancient Jewish calendar) and the promised Heavenly Kingdom - the kingdom of the eighth century, which will begin after the second coming of Christ. The eight-point star itself symbolizes the Christian Church as a guiding light to mankind, showing us the way to the Heavenly Jerusalem and it represents the Virgin Mary, depicted in Orthodox iconography with a veil decorated with three eight-pointed stars. The cathedral's star-like plan carries yet more meaning - the star consisting of two superimposed squares, which represent the stability of faith, the four corners of the earth, the four Evangelists and the four equal-sided walls of the Heavenly City.

The extravagant and brightly colored domes of the cathedral's exterior mask a much more modestly decorated and somewhat less spectacular interior. Small dimly lit chapels and maze-like corridors fill the inside of the church and the walls are covered with delicate floral designs in subdued pastel colors dating from the 17th century. Visitors can climb up a narrow, wooden spiral staircase, set in one of the walls and discovered only in the 1970s during restoration work, and marvel at the Chapel of the Intercession's priceless iconostasis, dating back to the 16th century. There was so little room inside the church to accommodate worshippers, that on special feast days services were held outside on Red Square where the clergy communicated their sermons to the milling masses from Lobnoye Mesto, using St. Basil's as an outdoor altar.

The church has narrowly escaped destruction a number of times during the city's tumultuous history. Legend has it that Napoleon was so impressed with St. Basil's that he wanted to take it back to Paris with him, but lacking to the technology to do so, ordered instead that it be destroyed with the French retreat from the city. The French set up kegs of gunpowder and lit their fuses, but a sudden, miraculous shower helped to extinguish the fuses and prevent the explosion.

Early in this century the cathedral almost fell prey to the atheist principles of the Bolshevik regime. In 1918 the communist authorities shot the church's senior priest, Ioann Vostorgov, confiscated its property, melted down its bells and closed the cathedral down. In the 1930s Lazar Kaganovich, a close colleague of Stalin and director of the Red Square reconstruction plan, suggested that St. Basil's be knocked down to create space and ease the movement of public parades and vehicle movement on the square. Thankfully Stalin rejected his proposal as he did a second plan to destroy the cathedral. This time the courage of the architect and devotee of Russian culture, P. Baranovsky, saved the church. When ordered to prepare the cathedral for destruction he refused and threatened to cut his own throat on the steps of the church, then sent a bluntly worded telegram to the leader of the party himself relating the above. For some reason Stalin cancelled the decision to knock the church down and for his efforts Baranovsky was rewarded with five years in jail.

An extensive program of renovation is still being carries out on both the exterior and interior of the church, but will not spoil that essential visit to St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow's moat famous and arguably most beautiful ecclesiastical building.

In the small garden outside St. Basil's stands an impressive bronze Statue to Minin and Pozharsky, who rallied Russia's volunteer army during the Time of Troubles and drove out the invading Polish forces. They were an interesting duo - Dmitry Pozharsky was a prince, while Kuzma Minin was a butcher from Nizhny Novgorod. The statue was designed by the artist I. Martos and erected in 1818 as the city's first monumental sculpture. It originally stood in the center of Red Square in front of what is now the GUM Department Store, with Minin symbolically indicating to Pozharsky that the Poles were occupying the Kremlin and calling for its liberation. The Soviet authorities felt that the statue had become an obstacle during parades and after the construction of the Lenin Mausoleum Red Square, its position was considered rather ambiguous and was eventually moved to the garden in front of St. Basil's in 1936.

The Kremlin Wall

The Lenin Mausoleum (not open to the public)

One of the entrance gates with tower

Historical Museum

Vast Red Square

GUM -- Russia's largest and exclusive department store

Inside the GUM

View from the GUM

View from the GUM


Taking pictures of many live and excellent performances were prohibited.


The International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (The Gorbachev Foundation) was created by Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the USSR, in January 1992. Its inauguration took place in March 1992. The Foundation became one of the first independent think-tanks in the post-Soviet Russia.

The Foundation is governed by the Executive Board, with Mikhail Gorbachev as President and Irina Virganskaya, his daughter, as Vice-President.

The Foundation's main mission is to provide in-depth analysis of the evolving social, economic and political situation in Russia and in the world. The Foundation's aim is to help assert democratic values and moral, humanistic principles in the life of society. In a globalizing world, the search for guidelines in building a new, more equitable international order is increasingly important. The overall motto of the Gorbachev Foundation is Toward a New Civilization.


Waiting to enter the Kremlin

The State Armoury (left) and the Kremlin Palace (right) with the walkway in-between

Taking pictures inside the State Armoury is prohibited.

The State Armoury houses the stunning and vast imperial collections.


The most important feast of the Russian Orthodox church calendar is Easter. It is celebrated with the exchanging of eggs and three kisses. The Faberge eggs began in 1884 with an Easter egg made for the czar that became a gift for his wife, Czarina Maria. The egg reminded the empress of her homeland, and so from then on it was agreed that Faberge would make an Easter egg each year for Maria. Faberge designed Easter eggs for another eleven years until Alexander III died. Then Nicholas II, Alexander's son, continued the tradition. It was agreed that the Easter gift would always have an egg shape and would hold a surprise. These projects became top priority of the company and were planned and worked on far in advance--a year or longer. The surprise was always kept secret.

The designs for the Imperial eggs were inspired by historical art works that Faberge imitated or copied from his travels or from the Hermitage. However, there is a poignant representation of what is now Russian history in the design of a number of these eggs. There were eggs to commemorate the coronation of Czar Nicholas II, the completion of the Trans Siberian Railway, and anniversaries. There were eggs depicting the Imperial yacht-Standart, the Uspensky Cathedral, the Gatchina Palace, and during the time of war, the Red Cross and the military.

Faberge's primary source of inspiration came from works of previous centuries. Translucent enameling was a valued technique in the nineteenth century that required several coats of applied enamel and the "firing" of the object in an oven after each coat. However, only a small number of colors were used in the nineteenth century, and so Faberge took it upon himself to experiment and soon came up with over 140 shades. The most prized of these was oyster enamel which varied in color depending on the light.

Materials used by Faberge included metals - silver, gold, copper, nickel, palladium - that were combined in varying proportions to produce different colors. Another technique used by eighteenth century French goldsmiths and again Faberge involve a simple tinting of the completed work using stones and enamel.

Another technique used by Faberge included guilloche, a surface treatment that could make waves and striations in the design and could be done by machine or by hand. Faberge used natural stones often found in abundance in the area. These included jasper, bowenite, rhodonite, rock crystal, agate, aventurine quartz, lapis lazuli, and jade (nephrite mostly although he would sometimes use jadeite). Precious stones including sapphires, rubies and emeralds were used only for decoration, and when used they were en cabochon (round cut). Diamonds were typically rose-cut. Semi-precious stones including moonstones, garnets, olivines, and Mecca stones were used more often en cabochon.

Fifty six Imperial eggs were made, forty-four of which have been located today and another two that are known to have been photographed. Another twelve Easter eggs were commissioned by Alexander Ferdinandovich Kelch, a Siberean gold mine owner. However, the Imperial Easter egg collection commissioned by the last of the Russian Czars is the most celebrated.








Peter the Great's first wife was imprisoned as a nun there.  Peter then married Catherine I.





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