Written by Annie Mesavage, a Junior at Penn State
Where can you find the past home of Russia’s most famed poet yet also stop for an iced mocha latte at Starbucks? Look at any travel guide for Moscow and one is bound to see Ulitsa Arbat or Arbat Street mentioned as a top attraction. This now pedestrianized street was once the home of many of Russia’s famous artists, musicians, and poets. It is reminiscent of the old Moscow with several historic cottages and back streets that have been preserved. Today it still has much of the same charm but one can also find hundreds of souvenir shops, kiosks, and cafes.
I and several of the other American students have strolled down the cobblestone Arbat as a weekend activity. It is easy to get to as both ends of this long street have metro stations. One of Moscow’s seven Gothic skyscrapers, the building of the foreign ministry, could be seen on the west end. The other side led to an open square that had dozens of small tents where you could buy anything from fresh fruit to cheap sunglasses.
The main street is lined with many souvenir shops. They sell the most popular souvenirs for tourists. Many of these include fur hats, former USSR paraphernalia, and Matryoshka dolls. However, this street still remains a large venue for artists to sell paintings. Many times we saw young children in sitting pose having a self portrait drawn by hand by an Arbat artist. Some of these artists had unbelievable skill as there drawings were incredibly accurate descriptions of their subjects. There were also unique watercolor and oil paintings done on pieces of birch wood, native trees of the Moscow region.
Arbat Street was once the home of the famed Russian poet Alexander Pushkin after he married his wife in 1831. Today it is a museum that has a historical exhibition of information from the earlier years of Moscow during the 19th century. Another attraction on a side street of Arbat is the yellow mansion called Spaso House which has been the home of our U.S. ambassadors since 1933.
Of course with Moscow becoming more modern, Arbat has also become the place for Moscow’s Hard Rock Café, Starbucks, Adidas, and other chains. Therefore, it is truly a mix of old and new. Nevertheless you can feel this uniqueness by doing nothing more than taking a stroll on a sunny day.
Also in this Issue...
- I Don't Think I am in Kansas but it Sure Feels Like It by Aaron Ladd
"With these more comfortable temperatures we have been able to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. This is a nice change from the sub freezing temperature we were experiencing the first couple of months in Moscow. Even with this nice change in the weather it often seems that it will be sunny one minute and the next it will be cloudy and the wind has picked up."
- An American Tour Guide in Moscow by Stephen Ratasky
"I couldn’t agree with my mother more as I smile and look at the beautiful and mighty tower-walls of the Kremlin, downtown. I know my family loves it here and I am so happy to have someone here from my home to share this time with me."
- Listening to Layfield by Becky Dunmyer
"During his class, we will split up into small groups for projects. Each group will create a project to promote agriculture in Russia. The student promotional projects include the mushroom production, dairy processing, dairy production, agricultural mechanization, and horticulture."
Written by Aaron Ladd, Junior at Fort Hayes State University
Being a kid in Kansas we often had the saying, “If you don’t like the weather wait 5 minutes and chances are it has changed.” This saying seemed often true in the Midwest with us often having to run the heater in the morning, the air conditioner in the car in the afternoon, and big thunderstorms rolling in out of no where during the spring and fall season. Now after living in Moscow for almost four months now, I could say the same, or something close to it. It may not be five minutes, but if you are patient enough to wait ten, the chances the weather could change is good.
The past couple of weeks the weather has become quite pleasant with the temperature being in the 40’s or 50’s, the sun shinning, and a little wind now and then. With these more comfortable temperatures we have been able to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. This is a nice change from the sub freezing temperature we were experiencing the first couple of months in Moscow. Even with this nice change in the weather it often seems that it will be sunny one minute and the next it will be cloudy and the wind has picked up. Time will tell if the weather continues to cooperate with us going out and seeing the different parks, or if it will make us just have to plan more before we head out for the day. I guess only time will tell what the weather will decide to do but I am really pulling for the sunny days and the rising temperatures.