Everbrite's Russia, Belarus and Ukraine Pages
Central Moscow Tour- in four parts with map:
Travel in Russia planes, trains and automobiles
Tapochki, Terms and other Tidbits
Interesting and Useful Information from K to Z
Khram - A temple or church.
Kokoshniki - These are carved semicircular, ogival or triangular decorative gables. These none structural ornamentations may be located around doors, windows and archways and are named after large headdresses worn by young married women. Often they are multicolored and alternating in several rows.
Kremlin - Fortress or citadel.
Lukovitsa - Onion dome, the bulbous shape of cupola dating from the end of the 16th century whose origins are unclear.
McDonalds - These universal fast food restaurants are a safe place to get a cold drink complete with ice cubes and to find a clean bathroom. Note that Russians believe that icy cold drinks are unhealthy.
Magazin - Store.
Monomakh Cap - The fur cap symbolic of the Russian Empire. It is the oldest of the Russian crowns and currently resides in the Armory Museum in the Moscow Kremlin. It is a gold skullcap composed of eight sectors elaborately ornamented with a scrolled overlay of gold filigree and bordered with fur. The cap appears to be Oriental work of the late 13th or early 14th century, but in the 15th century a legend sprang up to the effect that the cap had been given by the Byzantine emperor Constantin IX to Vladimir II Monomakh (1053-1125).
Names - Russian names can often be confusing. People have a first name, a patronymic and a family name. The first name is simple. The patronymic is the father's first name with an ending that depends on the sex of the person. And the last name is reasonably straightforward, although the ending again will depend upon the sex of the individual. It's the combination that is confusing. Only sometimes is the first name used by itself, and mostly when there is no nickname. Usually one's given name is used in association with one's patronymic. This is what casual acquaintances might use to address one another. If people are close friends, then a nickname may be used and that nickname might have a variety of forms for the same name. Also Russian names and words in general can have various suffixes used as endearments. Thus Tania, a common nickname for Tatiana, might be called Tanyosha, or Anna might be Anya, or Anuchka.
Novy - also written noviy, both mean new.
Ogee (ogival) - A pointed arch, a double curve in the shape of an elongated S.
Old Believers - These are members of a group of Russian religious separatists who refused to accept the liturgical reforms imposed upon the Russian Orthodox Church by the patriarch of Moscow, Nikon. Russian Orthodox rituals in the 16th century were based on liturgical books that had been poorly translated from Greek. Patriarch Nikon believed that correction of these errors was 'necessary for salvation.' He concluded that the best way to do this was to use the most recent Greek manuscripts in the Russian Church. In February of 1654, Patriarch Nikon began to issue his reforms.
Some Russian Orthodox followers thought the Church should be able to create its own traditions and that Patriarch Nikon ideas were inappropriate. But Tsar Aleksei I supported the reform of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Old Believers who resisted the Reform were condemned and declared dissidents. In 1667 they were separated from the Russian Orthodox Church, and many were exiled to far off places in different communities that developed their own practices and customs. Interestingly, Nikon was later removed as Patriarch, but his reforms were not retracted.
Two main groups have survived to modern times: Popovsty, who retained the priesthood and sacraments, and Bezpopovtsy who rejected priests and all sacraments except baptism. The spiritual and cultural center of the Popovsty became Moscow Rogozho; the center of Bezpopovtsy is the cemetery of Prieobrazhensk.
In 1905 Tsar Nicholas II issued the Edict of Toleration, which promised religious toleration in Russia. The Old Believers were released from persecution and exile. Then the Russian Revolution restricted all religious practices. Despite attempts at reconciliation, the schism between the Old Believers and non-believers still exists.
The Old Believers keep the tradition of crossing themselves with two fingers; they sing alleluia twice instead of three times; they bow low to the ground; their cross has an oblique bar below the longer arm. They only use the old liturgical books. Since the times of Peter I, the Old Believers established themselves as famous icon collectors. Their churches have accumulated impressive collections of the ancient icons. Besides reading and writing, monastic schools also taught children the basics of icon painting, most importantly, copying ancient icons.
Patriarch Nikon - The son of a peasant, who happened to occupy the throne of the Russian Patriarch from 1652 until the Church council was summoned to try him in 1666. He was brought to Moscow from his Voskresenskii Monastery, found guilty, deprived of his patriarchal see and exiled to the Ferapont Monastery. Interestingly though, many of his reforms were permitted to remain in place. He died in 1881 on the way to his Voskresenskii Monastery, after being allowed to return to it.
Pendantive - A sculptured ornament hanging from an arch, a roof or a ceiling.
Perekhod - This is the name for the pedestrian underpasses that are represented by the blue squares with a white stick figure walking down stairs.
Pereulok - A lane or road.
Pier - A vertical supporting structure such as a pillar; the portion of wall between two windows; a buttress.
Platband - A flat molding, or group of moldings, the width of which significantly exceeds its projection; a window frame, a common style of molding or framing around a door or window; the piece which rests atop a classical column.
Plinth - A block or slab on which a pedestal, column or statue is placed.
Ploshchad - square.
Proyezd - passage.
Prospekt - prospect or avenue.
Pyotr - Peter.
Russkoye Bistro - These Russian fast food places are Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's answer to McDonalds. They are franchises, which are not completely consistent, but do offer some decent Russian fast food. Most have someplace to sit down and the one at Kitai Gorod has a bathroom for a fee.
Rustication - Cut or shaped (masonry blocks) so as to create a bold textured look, often by beveling the edges to form deep-set joints while leaving the central face rough-hewn or carved with various pointed or channeled patterns.
Shatior - Or tent roof. The most elaborate examples are the church at Kolomenskoye built in 1532 and the central chapel of St. Basil's Cathedral built from 1555-1561. Metropolitan Nikon banned the use of the tent, except for bell towers, because he felt the tall tents looked too much like Western European Protestant churches with their steeples. The ban was ordered in 1652. One of the last churches to be built in before the ban is the asymmetrical, lace-like, white Church of the Nativity of Our Lady of Putniki at number 4 Malaya Dmitrovka Ulitsa near Pushkinskaya Square.
Socle - A plain square block higher than a plinth, serving as a pedestal for sculpture, a vase, a column or a wall.
Soviet Times - Today it is common to hear things described as having occurred "in Soviet Times" meaning during the period from 1917-1991. Many things in Moscow have changed significantly in the past ten years, since the end of the Soviet government.
Spelling - Because Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet and there are some Russian letters that do not have Roman or Latin equivalents, transliterations from Russian to English are not always consistent. The Russian word for big is sometimes written bol'shoi, bol'shoy, bolshoi or bolshoy. There are several different conventions and for a variety of reasons, there are often inconsistencies. The name of the famous composer, Tchaikovsky, should actually be written, Chaikovskiy, but it almost never is.
Stary - also written stariy, both mean old.
Streltsi - The word means marksmen. These were the palace guards in special military corps instituted by Ivan the Terrible and granted special privileges. In 1550 there were 3000 Streltsi, but since the service was for life and hereditary, by the end of the 17th century there were over 30,000. Streltsi were responsible for guarding the Kremlin, manning the guard houses in the city, doing police work in the city and participating in marches. They earned their allowances and wages from executions. Usually they lived in "sloboda" villages of 500-1000 men serving in one regiment. By 1698 when they were ordered away from the city, there were more than 20 "sloboda" settled in Bely Gorod and Zemlyanoy Gorod, many in Zamoskvorech'e and some in Arbat. Their former presence is evident today in street names in those areas.
Tapochki - These are the little felt overslippers, which one is sometimes forced to wear in museums. Recently the Hermitage eliminated their use as the dust they produce was found to be worse for the paintings and art works than the wear and tear on the carpets and floors.
Tea - The Russian word for tea is Chai. In homes, it is often served brewed from leaves. Commonly a small amount of tea 'concentrate' is placed in a teacup and then hot water is added. On trains, the conductor almost always puts sugar in the tea. Sometimes on the train, a tea set is included with the price of the linens. If so, there will be a tea bag and sugar packet present with the expectation that one will request a glass of hot water with a holder. The usual tea is black tea, although green or fruit tea sometimes can be obtained in restaurants or markets.
Tent-shaped domes - These include those pyramid or Shatior domes such as the center dome of St. Basil's Cathedral (1561) or the Church of the Ascension on the bluff at Kolomenskoye (1532.) This style was banned for use in churches in the mid 17th century. Patriarch Nikon considered them to be too similar to Western Protestant church spires and steeples. Thought at one time to have developed from Russian wooden architecture, they are now considered to be an independent design.
Terem - a pavilion-like structure. The most famous in Moscow is the Terem Palace in the Kremlin. It has red and white checked roof on top of the main building that served as the residence for women and young children. There is a chain of blini stands called 'Teremok' that operate from large pushcart like structures with red and white checked roofs.
Tserkov - Church.
Ulitsa - Street.
Union of Prosperity - see Decembrists.
Varvarka - Barbara.
Vasily - Basil.
Vorota - Gate.
Zakomari - Similar to a parapet, these semicircular arches line the tops of outer walls or facades where they join the roof. Initially designed to match the interior vaults, they later became a purely decorative motif in Russian churches.
last revised 23 November 2009 © 2003-2011 Ruth E. Imershein
The information contained on these pages is intended to assist in making travel plans but things change, mistakes can be made.
Please do not depend entirely on this information when making your decisions.
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