As Russia prepared for winter, Team Auto Bild India took a closer look at this wondrous continent driving through in a Mercedes Benz GLA.
Russia is a beautiful country with the magnificent Volga flowing through, clean roads and beautiful architecture. Our team made two observations; It is high time people visited Russia, especially since after the World cup every body is likely to talk only about Kazan as a destination. The second – Russia is even more beautiful in the infamous winter.
Our GLA team, riding on Mercedes Benz SUV reached Red Square in Moscow on the sixth day. This Red Square is where the famous St. Basil’s Church is located. Most of us have known Russia through the image of this church only. Beautiful domes on minarets. Red square is not from the Red of communism, as some of us might think. In Russian RED is symbolic of beauty. The GLA team parked their SUV and decided to explore the Red Square and the surrounding area. They caught a good view across the Moskva river of the Kremlin palace, residence of the Russian president and the epicenter of power in Russia. They also saw Lenin’s mausoleum, Kazan cathedral and finally headed out towards Nizhny-Novgorov, birthplace of Maxim Gorky – a Russian writer and a political activist from early 1900’s.
Nizhny-Novgorov is the 5th largest and one of the most beautiful cities in Russia. The GLAdventour team discovered, the town has eight theaters, five concert halls, eight museums and ninety-seven libraries. The main street is upbeat with was a long string of shops and restaurants, good lights for an evening stroll and clean even surface to walk on. For dinner the Team gorged on the Russian Speciality called Pelmeni – which is some kind form dumplings with meat in it. Other attractions In Nizhny-Novgorov included the Chkalov stairs going down to Volga (named after the pilot who flew over North Pole non-stop). Built at a staggering eight million euros (and six years) in a war ravaged Russia these fifteen hundred steps saw the downfall of the communist leader of the region Aleksander Shulpin. The team also visited the GAZ car factory that once made the very popular Volga brand cars.
On the eighth day the GLA team reached Kazan and were floored by the charm of the city. Kazan is rich in natural resources and it shows in the prosperity of the town. Kazan Kremlin (military headquarter of the city) painted white, reaching the sky but not gigantic, this establishment houses quite a few monuments. Kul-Sharif mosque with beautiful blue towers, the Annunciation Cathedral in pale sandstone with gold crosses on blue domes, Soyembika tower leaning from the time of Czar Peter the great, the Governor’s palace and the palace church, all these with their architecture marvels can enthrall a viewer by themselves, but when viewed together in the same compound of this military establishment their magnificence is beyond words.
The Farmer’s palace is another architecture marvel our team visited in Kazan. With a gigantic mural of a tree at the entrance, the palace seems straight out of a fairy tale. Kazan, the city in itself dates back a millennium. It has seen an influx of people from varied religions over different periods of time. The mosques and the churches co-exist peacefully even today.
The first leg of this Great Overland Adventure ended in Kazan. Stay tuned for Part 2 of their journey coming up next on our blog.
(A Team at Auto Bild India set out on an adventurous trip driving cross continent in a Mercedes Benz GLA. Their aim – to travel from Germany to India by road. At Krimson Kraft, we are proud to have been associated with this journey as their official travel partners. This is first in a series of blogs that will capture highlights of this Great Overland Adventure, as it was called. You could read a detailed account of this adventurous journey on the links below.)