When I teach art history, the top Russian artists in my syllabus are Ilya Repin and Isaac Levitan, whose countryside landscapes underscore the vastness of the world’s largest country. It’s a shame that I haven’t visited it since age seven and a return is long overdue. The last place where my family visited in Russia was its capital Moscow, city of more than 12 million residents.
Once a tiny village, the city began to develop in 1156, when Yury Vladimirovich Dolgorukiy built a fortress (Kremlin) on the Moscow River and has since expanded in concentric circles to nearly a thousand square miles. Within the city’s borders are numerous hidden streams such as the polluted Yauza and the underground Neglinka.
In total, the number of hidden waterways within the city exceeds a hundred. For now, here’s the story of Chistye Prudy (Чистые пруды) or Clean Ponds, a park in the city’s center, a mile to the northeast of the Kremlin. Continue reading