LEISURE Newsletter, May 2018

For those advanced travellers we would like to offer a visit to the palces located not far from Moscow to the West - the toewn of Smolensk and the famous Borodino field known as ther place of one of the biggest battle in Russia - in Patriotic War with Napoleon in 1812.

Sincerely,
Helen Isaeva


Borodino

Borodino We wanted with our colleagues to go to these places for a long time and finally our wishes came true. And in late April we started our trip in a quite a bit team – 18 participants in 6 cars.

Our first stop was the place that is known to everybody in Russia – Borodino field where the great battle with Napoleon took place in 1812.

The field seemed endless and we were impressed by the its vastness and variety of memorials in different parts of it. The battle in which 120 000 soldiers took place from each side played an important role in the Patriotic war in 1812.

BorodinoWe were lucky with the guide – Vladimir was so enthusiastic, emotional and passionate about the subject that we completely sank into the atmosphere of the early 19th century during this absolutely record in time tour – 5,5 hours!

We recommend to start a tour here with visit to the Borodino Museum, which provides a useful overview of the events on the battlefiels as well as historic costumes and documents of that time. Impressive is the panorama of the field.
Then one can spend the rest of the day exploring the 100-sq-km preserve. During of visit to Borodino you can see monuments marking the sites of the most ferocious fighting.

Smolensk

Smolensk We continued our trip further to the West and reached in the evening the old town of Smolensk. We were very much surprised to see very few people in the streets. As we learned the following morning from our guide the city has only 330,000 citizens. The city is pretty old – originated in 863. Located 378 km to the west of Moscow it is known to be a “city-shield” in all wars in the 17th-20th centuries protecting the way to Moscow.

Smolensk has been a special place for Russians by many reasons, not least for the fact that the local cathedral housed one of the most venerated Orthodox icons, attributed to St. Luke. Also, Smolensk was as a key fortress defending the route to Moscow.

Smolensk In August 1812, two of the largest armies ever assembled clashed in Smolensk. During the hard-fought battle, described by Leo Tolstoy in "War and Peace", Napoleon entered the city. Total losses were estimated at 30,000 men. Apart from other military monuments, central Smolensk features the Eagles monument, unveiled in 1912 to mark the centenary of Napoleon's Russian campaign.

On the way to Moscow the following day we visited a very interesting place – estate Talashkino – fairy tale estate! The history of the estate is connected with the name of duchess Tenisheva who made it a centre of the cultural and music life of the region in late 19th-early 20th century.

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